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Funding Our Library Future

Funding Our Library Future

In 2018, the Boulder City Council accepted the new Boulder Public Library Master Plan. The plan is designed to reflect the community’s wishes for our library’s future over the next 10 years, based on an in-depth series of conversations with community members across Boulder.

Our community has great aspirations for the library, including more programs and services, new and improved facilities, technology and maker resources, and building community and partnerships. The Boulder Public Library (BPL) needs sustainable funding to make it happen.

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Meeting Demand & Expanding Services

Boulder Public Library has operated without a substantial increase in operating funding since 2002. When adjusted for inflation, BPL’s operating budget has increased by only 3% in twelve years, despite a significant increase in library use and many expanded services and amenities.

Since 2006:

  • The number of Boulder Public Library cardholders grew by 55%
  • The number of hours the library locations are open to the public increased by 15.5%
  • The NoBo Corner Library and the BLDG 61 Makerspace opened
  • Patron check out of library materials increased by 32%
  • Streaming/downloadable content was added
  • Patron attendance of library programs increased by 33%


  • Full-time staffing decreased by 5%, and overall staffing decreased by 17% per 1000 patrons served
  • Many library programs and events have lengthy waiting lists
  • The library collection budget continues to be stretched to offer new materials and new formats

Based on the community’s increased library use and request for expanded services, it’s estimated that library funding will fall short by at least $3.2 million every year if sustainable funding is not provided. 

Funding Options

  • Dedicating more city funds to the library through a voter-approved sales or property tax increase.
  • Reallocating city General Fund resources and dedicating some or all of them to the library.
  • Forming an independent library district funded by property tax collected within district boundaries.

More information about library funding options

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