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Funding Our Library Future

Funding Our Library Future

Based on the community’s increased library use and request for expanded services in the 2018 Library Master Plan, it’s estimated that library funding will fall short by at least $3.2 million every year if sustainable funding is not provided. The City of Boulder is currently looking at library funding options for the future, including:

  • 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.

In mid-2019, City Council reviewed results from a community telephone poll and online survey conducted this spring. Given upcoming City Council elections and several possible funding options to weigh, City Council and the Library Champions campaign have tabled library funding discussions until after the 2019 election, with a commitment to make library funding a priority discussion item in 2020. The Library Champions will continue to gather signatures in support of dedicated and sustainable funding for Boulder Public Library; signatures already collected in 2019 will be applied to future funding efforts.

Meeting Demand & Expanding Services

Boulder Public Library has operated without a substantial increase in operating funding since 2002. When adjusted for inflation, the Library’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%

While:

  • 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

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. This page will continue to be updated throughout the year with news about securing sustainable funding for the community’s library aspirations.