The Denver Public Library faces a potential $2.4 million budget reduction for 2013

Last month, the Denver Public Library received a $2.4 million budget reduction target for 2013 from the City Budget Office.  As in past years, all City agencies, including DPL, are given an initial budget number and are required to submit their ideas on how to reach their target.

The Library’s 2012 budget from the City’s General Fund is $32,104,500, which funds 18 of the 23 branches at only four days (32 hours) a week; four branches at six days (48 hours) a week; and one branch at four days a week and four hours on Sunday (36 hours). The Central Library is open 52 hours a week, with weekend hours from 1- 5 p.m. The new branch opening in Stapleton this summer (which was built with voter-approved Better Denver Bond funds) will be at a service level of 32 hours – or open only four days per week.

While we were able to avoid additional budget cuts in 2012, DPL has faced reductions year-over-year for half a decade, resulting in reduced hours, materials and technology budgets.  A $2.4 million budget reduction in 2013 would mean even fewer service hours and/or the closing of some branches.  No one wants to see that happen.  We are committed to working together with the Mayor and City Council to find long-term sustainable funding solutions for the Denver Public Library and the entire City.

Written by Shirley Amore on May 17, 2012

Comments

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As I read the anonymous comments, I am struck by the narrow attitude displayed.

I understand the value of low taxation rates because I pay taxes as well. However, Denver, because of it's large business base, has comparatively low taxes for individual households. Yes...someone has to pay...but I always remember that those taxes pay for the privilege of living in a great city.

When I was a kid, the Denver libraries were open all of the time. But more importantly, they gave me the world and a great merry-go-round to read on (you will only understand this if you have lived here a long time). Someone paid for me to enjoy all of the books, the great programs, and a place to meet my friends...because the library was a great place to meet your friends and go explore the stacks and I want to pay for the next generation to have a great library system.

Why is it that so many people simply think about just themselves when it comes to paying for a great place to live(called taxes by some) when we should be thinking about our future. Yes, I know some people say that higher taxes will bankrupt our children's future...but that is an entirely different discussion.

I love the culture of the library, and I for one want to pay to keep it's future vital in our community.

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I've been alive two score and seven years and have seen libraries open fairly regular hours my whole life. In fact, even yesterday (a Sunday) I went into a library in Parker. Arapahoe and Douglas Counties seem to keep their libraries open fairly regular hours (In Parker: 9-9 Mon-Thur, 9-5 Fri-Sat and Noon-5 Sunday). In fact, compare the open hours between Arapahoe's Eloise May Library and Denver's Hampden Heights.

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Douglas and Arapahoe are independent library districts, which is why they can provide hours like that. That's what Denver is proposing. Many other library systems still have limited hours, though, due to funding problems (Jefferson, Longmont, Boulder, etc.).

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We've actually done a comparison of the Denver Public Library hours vs. the hours of Library Districts on the Front Range, and of other U.S. Library Districts.

http://denverlibrary.org/files/2012_service_hours.pdf

As you will see, DPL's service hours are significantly lower that all other libraries that have stable funding through the formation of a tax-funded library district.

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By the way the correct grammatical usage is, number of hours, and not amount of hours. It is obvious you are not a long time library user.

Anonymous on May 21, 2012

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When did the mission of the Library become to provide an alternative to Blockbuster video? I am fairly certain that the library could save millions of dollars if it concentrated on what it should be concentrating on, books and educational materials. Buy DVD's, fine. But buy documentaries, non fiction, etc. Do we really need the Library to carry the latest new releases when they cost $1.00 at the Redbox?

There are no other avenues for renting or borrowing books in the community. There are plenty of avenues for getting the latest movies. Seems like an awful waste of money and resources.

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Well said! I agree 100%! This is a great way to save money and let our libraries have longer hours - serving all.

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I agree as well. The library's role first and foremost, in my mind, is to provide access to educational material. I think it's great that it can provide access to DVD entertainment, but I still think that, overall, DVDs should be gravy after other more necessary items have been purchased.

jim on May 22, 2012

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Not sure who all the haters are that are responding to this blog but it is absolutely crucial that hours NOT be cut anymore to the libraries. It is getting very hard to figure out what library is open and when. Our DPL is truly a jewel in the crown and cannot go on year after year with the kind of cuts that are being projected. The only true remedy to this issue is establishing a Library District. Over half of the public libraries in Colorado are districts not sure why anyone would object. The cost per homeowner would be less than 2 hardback books! The community needs to support this issue the way the library has supported this community.

Anonymous on May 23, 2012

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There is overwhelming support for creating a library district in Denver. The 'haters' are, overall, few and far between. A poll done in late 2011 shows that Denver taxpayers would rather pay about $5 extra in taxes a month than see their libraries suffer future budget cuts.

It amazes me how many folks are willing to give their cable company, phone company, etc. hundreds of dollars per month for entertainmnent, yet asking for $5 per month to keep the library--a public service entity that adds value to the community-- is a huge inconvenience. What does the cable company do for your community? How does Netflix add value to YOUR COMMUNITY?

The library not only provides access to materials, but also equitable access to programs and services that otherwise would cost citizens extra money out of pocket if they were to seek out these programs/classes at private entities.

When we pay our fair share, we can save EVERYONE money. The library is an organization that EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN, regardless of economic status, can benefit from.

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