Creating a Library District

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News & Updates

Please submit any comments and questions to staff about the library district.

Overview

The public discussion of shifting the Boulder Public Library to a district form of governance has been discussed off and on for at least three decades.  For the past six years, the Library Commission, City Council and City staff have examined numerous approaches for how to adequately fund the library. Identifying alternative revenue streams in addition to, or other than, sales taxes as the primary form of funding the library.  In the 2018 Master Plan, the Library Commission unanimously recommended that a library district was the most “fair and equitable” way to sustainably fund the public library and that it would lead to an improved ability to plan for the future and meet current community library needs.   

Creating a library district is considered as an option for stabilizing the library’s budget. On May 18, 2021, Boulder City Council voted unanimously in favor of beginning the work of forming a library district.  On April 5, 2022, City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the formation of a library district. 

Timeline

  • Currently, library staff, County Commissioners and City Council are deliberating future plans of forming a library district. All upcoming meetings will be noted here.
  • On April 5, 2022, in a joint session, City Council and the Boulder County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing to decide on whether to create a library district by resolution.
  • On April 7, 20222 Boulder County Commissioners voted to table the discussion of forming a Library District.
  • Additional memos to council

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a library district?

A library district is a political subdivision of the state, created by one or more governmental entities and funded by dedicated property tax revenues. It is the most common form of governance for public libraries within the State of Colorado, with 56 district libraries throughout the State.  Library districts are the predominant form of library governance on the Front Range and for communities equivalent in size to Boulder.  Communities from Pueblo to Colorado Springs to Arapahoe and Adams County to Greeley and Fort Collins have formed library districts. Voters within the district boundaries must approve any new or increased tax to fund the library district. The library district would be governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the establishing governmental entities. 

What areas would a library district cover?

Map of the proposed library district boundaries. The library district boundaries have been proposed by the Library District Advisory Committee and will need to be agreed upon at the April 5 joint session between Boulder City Council and the Boulder County Commissioners.

How much will my property taxes increase if the Library District is approved in the November election?

The property tax increase will depend on what the mill rate is set at. The rate will be discussed at the April 5 joint session between Boulder City Council and Boulder County Commissioners.

As an example: the mill rate proposed by the Library District Advisory Committee was 3.8 mills.  At 3.8 mills, the property tax increase for residential property is approximately $27 annually per $100,000 of taxable value. The property tax increase for a commercial property is approximately $110 annually per $100,000 of taxable value. The Boulder County Assessor website has information for you to calculate your own property tax estimate.

What services would the new library district offer?

The new library district would have the funding to be able to expand library services according to the 2018 Library Master Plan including:

  • Address facility maintenance backlog
  • Restore Library hours to pre-pandemic levels
  • Re-open Carnegie Library for Local History with adequate staff
  • Re-open Canyon Theater with adequate staff
  • Re-Hire staff for Boulder Reads program and expand program
  • Re-hire staff for Building61 Makerspace and resume services
  • Fully fund new north Boulder Library
  • Open Gunbarrel Branch
  • Open Niwot Branch
  • Create an early literacy outreach program for Latinx youth

Library District Advisory Committee

City Council is seeking input from a Library District Advisory Committee with members who reside within the proposed district boundaries. Members of the committee have been chosen and include:

  • Alicia Seidle  
  • Annette Dula 
  • Cara Schenkel 
  • Chip [no surname] 
  • Deborah Read Fowler 
  • Jane Sykes Wilson 
  • Joanna Rosenblum 
  • Joni Teter 
  • Kevin Miller 
  • Michelle Denae Garcia-Morrissey 
  • Miho Shida 
  • Peter Pollock 

Committee members were evaluated and selected based on the criteria of interests, experience, skills, and equity. Those selected are representative of business owners, renters, property owners, various age ranges, race and income.

Meetings started in October and are held twice a month for three hours online using Zoom. The meetings include time for public comment and for community input through the webpage comment form to be read aloud or summarized. With the help of a facilitator, the recommendations will be submitted to the City Manager and to City Council at the Feb. 8, 2022 study session.

Adult and children in Learning Garden