Last week, the Boulder Public Library District Board of Trustees approved a budget for 2024 that will begin to fulfill the promises of the ballot measure that created the Boulder Public Library District.
After the vote approving the budget, Library Director David Farnan said he was “walking on clouds. It’s every single thing that we have identified in master plans for the last two decades, and we’re starting them all.”
The 2022 ballot measure approved by voters that created a dedicated, sustainable funding source for the Boulder Public Library promised the additional funding would support six areas of expansion and improvement. Those promises, and how the 2024 budget begins to fulfill each are as follows:
Restore and improve literacy programs, including partnerships with schools to reach underserved students and students who fell behind during the pandemic.
- Funding to hire 7.5 employees to support literacy and outreach, youth services, and programs and events.
Offer additional free and safe public spaces for community meetings, workshops and programs.
- Resources launching a pilot program for the Main Library Canyon Theater, offering the theater for community group use.
- Funding to reopen the café in the Main Library.
Update and improve collections of books and materials, including bilingual materials and downloading of e-books, movies and music.
- The 2024 budget includes a 61% increase in the budget for materials acquisitions over the 2023 budget, increasing the materials budget to nearly $1.7 million.
Extend hours at all existing libraries and create a new branch library in Gunbarrel.
- In 2024, the library expects to hire 42 total staff positions, which, combined with current library employees, will allow for restored hours at existing libraries and opening of new facilities.
- Funding for a Gunbarrel branch, the personnel and operating costs necessary to open the North Boulder branch library and funding to resume public hours at Carnegie Library.
Expand access to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs, makerspaces and free internet for young people, underserved communities and seniors.
- Funding to hire two full time employees to support the library’s makerspace and for a new youth internship program.
Improve maintenance, cleanliness, safety and security at all library facilities.
- A primary goal in the 2018 Library Master Plan is to, “Take care of what we have,” in terms of Library facilities and assets. There are two components to address this goal: ongoing maintenance and capital maintenance.