BUDGET UPDATE: Building for the Library's Future
I often find myself explaining how the Library has managed to renovate many of our locations, open a new branch at Green Valley Ranch, and plans to build two more branches in Stapleton and in West Denver as we are facing the possibility of closing branches to meet our 2012 budget reduction target.
The majority of the money for the renovations and new buildings comes from the Better Denver Bond program, passed by voters in 2007. The bond provided $56 million to fund necessary upgrades and improvements to existing Library locations and to build three new branches in areas currently under-served by DPL: Green Valley Ranch, Stapleton, and West Denver. The money allocated by the bond can only be used for the purpose the voters intended and cannot be used to fund operations. We received an additional $383,000 from a federal stimulus grant to expand technology access and training at the Central Library and six branch locations. The Broadband Technology Opportunity Fund (BTOP) grant is providing critical access to computers and technology for many who come to the Library to search for a job, update their resumes, apply for a job online or improve their computer skills to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.
In 2007, no one was anticipating the economic downturn we've had to face. The millions of dollars from the Bond have served as a "mini stimulus" to the Denver economy. Local architects, construction companies, interior designers and trade workers have been employed by Library and other City bond projects. The improvements to our buildings have increased our energy efficiency — saving money and environmental costs over the long run. We have also been able to upgrade our automated technology allowing for greater staff efficiencies and reducing repetitive motion injuries. We have realized some savings in our operations budgets over the past two years as branches were closed for renovations. The temporary closures enabled us to reassign staff to locations with vacant positions.
We are proud of our tradition of innovation and want to celebrate that. During this time of budget cuts and financial insecurity, we continue to look toward the future, to serve the growing needs of the public as best we can. We are very fortunate to have received both the Better Denver Bond funds, and BTOP grant to do so. So many people in our community count on our computers and internet connection for seeking employment, conducting business, expanding education, and connecting with friends and family. This funding has ultimately allowed us to better serve you during this critical time. In fact, in a recent survey we conducted, almost 40% of computer users cited that they were using the computer for job search related business. Now that's amazing!
Together, we are building a knowledgeable, productive workforce and fostering economic development.