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


Actually the only people who could be called executives are the city government.

I'd be willing to pay for some library services. Some museums may still have a policy that asks for a specific fee but takes any amount: you must pay something.

The services I'd pay for are newly released movies and TV series. In 2010 I watched 19 series and 57 movies thanks to DPL. How many high demand series and movies does DPL loan per year?

I also take a grandchild to a story time nearly every week. I would make a voluntary contribution for that service if asked. I would not expect DPL to demand a payment for this investment in the future, however.

Is it part of Library theology that there are no fees for service?

The first response had the $2.5 million cuts right there. Cut the top staff pay. Denver Public Library has another budget problem. Will DPL explain to me why the huge expense of a new web site? I have asked and the answer was it was already in the planning and paid for. Sounds like very poor planning.

Bear Valley was recently closed to be redone and refurnished. At this time Virginia Village library has been closed for 6 months for the same thing. Bear Valley is no better. When I asked exactly what was being done at VVI, the answer was to make it better for library patrons, a children’s area, like a play area and more comfortable furniture. Those things are not needed for a good library. DPL is not a day care or a Starbucks, stop acting like you are.

Not long ago, DPL was consistently voted one of the best libraries of major cities in the US, now look at it. The blame goes to the top. If you need more money, find a way to get that $600,000 plus in library fines to go directly to DPL and not the general fund. I guess the city general fund is to fund more idiotic street sweeping.

The voters decided these improvements were needed and the bond requires that it be spent on the stipulated work and nothing else.

DPL is not an autocratic institution,
it responds to the will of the people, something we call democracy. I know there a lot of people are not comfortable with the idea of other people having input in the decision making process but that's the reality of the situation.

I'd also like to point out that the top 5 people in management probably make a total of approximately 500k, that is, 100k each, (wildly extravagant, eh?).
The top 5 hedge fund managers made about 100 billion each and what did they contribute to the general welfare. Just to put things in perspective

Correction on the hedge fund managers income- that should have read over 1 billion each. I shot it off without checking.

You are ignorant if you think these are the answers. Help us is this is how library users think. Read some more books.

So I walked into my local library today and asked them how much do the top executives make who work at the Denver public Library...Top five employees = roughly 500,000 dollars. Here is where you cut...
Cut these jobs...

What is it you think these people do? Twiddle their thumbs? For a $30 million business with 20+ buildings and hundreds of employees, the top five employees should make more than that and that is not a very big team. I'm dismayed with the level of thought in some of these comments. You are showing your ignorance.

You must be one of the five.

For too many years the Central Library has been treated as a sacred cow with only limited cuts in hours and staffing. Meanwhile the branch system has been the focus of cuts since the 1980's. Hate to break it to you but most library users want the service in their neighborhoods and really could care less about Central having longer hours. Many of the smaller branches are the only source of information for their area and are often "walk - in" facilities as families only have 1 car. In many areas the library is the only source of internet access and most job applications are now only taken online.
Non managerial staff at DPL is cut to the bone and has been for years. None of them are raking in the "big bucks"
(not that anyone at DPL is compared to other city departments). Their loyalty is the only thing keeping DPL's reputation afloat.
The sooner a steady source of funding is available the better. DPL needs to fight harder for library district status and funding.

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