Denver Public Library Prepares for a Potential $2.5 Million Budget Cut

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Library budget cuts could mean closing 7-12 branches in 2012.

The Denver Public Library Commission met yesterday, April 20, 2011 to discuss potential cuts to the Library’s budget, as well as options for sustainable funding. They released this White Paper which explains more about the situation and their recommendations.

In a nutshell, DPL has been instructed by the city to prepare a 2012 budget proposal with a target reduction of $2.5 million. The three options for meeting this target are:

  1. The Library could further reduce hours of operation (however, many branches are only open 32 hours per week as it is).
  2. Reduce hours and cut the materials budget.
  3. Close some branches and use the savings to maintain adequate service at the remaining branches and Central.

The Library Commission recommends pursuing branch closures to maintain minimum service standards, and with a $2.5 million reduction in the budget, this would mean 7-12 branches would close indefinitely.

The White Paper also details the minimum Library service standards that the Commission has set forth, and further explores DPL’s need for sustainable funding, and what those options may look like.

We need EVERYONE in our community who is upset by the idea of closures to contact their elected officials and share how important the Library is to them, their families, their neighbors and our City.

Budget Documentation

White Paper

Press Release


Money to fund libraries doesn't come out of thin air, people. I hear what people spend on cable, internet, and movies every month and it disgusts me. Funding Netflix, the movie theatre, and Comcast doesn't do jack for our community. Yet, those same folks who spend hundreds of dollars per month don't realize they can get a lot of those same movies and entertainment from the library at a minimal cost that they pay in taxes anyway. When the community pays taxes and shares resources, everyone has equal and equitable access, and everyone wins. Plus, we support a community organization that benefits children, families, new immigrants, and anyone who wants to use books and other media. Love how Denver voters approved that their taxes be raised to build a new stadium (Invesco Field) but there's resistance to funding THE LIBRARY. Denver is in the top five most literate cities in the United States. That didn't happen by accident!

Can we do something? Surely there are people here who can help support the libraries to stay open for the duration? I'm not rich, but I'd pitch in. Let's raise a fuss, and raise some money! (Bakesale, anyone?) It is criminal to close libraries--they are one of the most important ways of proving that humanity is civilized...

Let us know how to help, please.

It is imperative that you contact City Council members to demand libraries are funded. They could find money or approve sustainable funding options. Whichever mayoral candidate you're considering/already cast a vote for, ask him/her what is their position on library closure and what they will do to ensure that libraries receive sustainable funding. It's not enough just to keep libraries open for 2012, but future years must be seriously considered also.

In addition, tell as many people as possible so that they also are contacting elected officials. This really has to be an each one, tell many effort.

Make the people paid the fines that they owe to DPL. I know this is not a place of business but it's not fair if fines continue to be waved. If we do that maybe we can keep a few branches open in 2012.

Denver Public Library levies fines to encourage the timely return of Library materials. Customer accounts are blocked at $5 with no additional checkouts allowed until the fines are paid below that amount. Denver Public Library also contracts with Unique National Collections to recover fines and materials owed when account balances exceed $50.

Why don't we just pile all the books in Civic Center park and burn them on July 4, 2012. We could save on fireworks and save money at the same time. Who needs books anyway?
Your pal,

A. Hitler

I live in Montbello, which seems to be the poor part of Denver at times due to the services that are lacking. I only use the Montbello library to pick up items on hold as the choice of books appear to only represent select portions of the population. Thanks to the budget cuts in the past and my work schedule, the only time I can go to this library is on Saturday or if I push pedal to the metal after work; sometimes I can squeeze in by 8pm on Mon or Tues.

The central library has amost pushed me completely out of the door with the cutting of their hours. Out of one week, the only time I am not at work and the library is open is at 1pm to 5pm on the weekends. I dont appreciate this at all as I pay my taxes like everyone else and because I work something besides the first shift, find myself represented less and less.

Then my biggest pet peeve is in how the library was built, as it doesnt allow for the opening of the 5th floor only, unless the rest of the library is open. Many, many genealogy libraries across the USA are staffed by volunteers just for the sole purpose of keeping it open to the public. Four hours on the weekend in a genealogy search flashes by in the blink of an eye and yet, thats all the time I have while the library is open.

I would love to see the library become self sufficient unto themselves and be separate from the city budget as it seems to me that the powers that be always eyeball the library system when the budget needs to be cut. For those that have money, the library doesnt seem to be a big issue; but for the rest of us it's like the coffee shop around the corner. The budget cuts are taking all the chairs in the shop, so that eventually people dont come around anymore.

I find it odd that several people have referred to "execs," or "top executives." There isn't any such thing in a's not a company. That's kind of the whole point.

Yes, it is in fact run like a business, balance scorecard anyone??

Yes, there are top level executives. There are a lot of them at DPL.

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