Creating a Library District

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News & Updates

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

Overview

A library is more than a place to borrow a free book. It is a vital civic space for people to meet and have conversations, study, hang out with friends, and engage in fun, educational activities and cultural experiences. It is evident from increased usage and requests for expanded programming that the community values its public libraries.  

The Boulder Public Library’s 2018 Library Master Plan revealed that its estimated library funding would fall short by at least $3.2 million every year if sustainable funding was not provided moving forward. These shortfalls did not include further library budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In the plan, the Library Commission unanimously recommended creating a library district as the most “fair and equitable” way to sustainably fund the public library, leading to an improved ability to meet current community needs and plan for the future.  

Timeline

For the past six years, the Library Commission, City Council and City staff have built on a public discussion exploring numerous ways to adequately fund the library, including finding revenue streams beyond sales taxes as the primary source of library funding. 

  • Background memos to council 
  • May 18, 2021 Boulder City Council voted unanimously in favor of beginning the work of forming a library district. 
  • April 5, 2022 City Council and the Boulder Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a joint public hearing to create a library district by resolution. City Council adopted the resolution. 
  • April 21, 2022 BOCC voted not to adopt a resolution to form a Library District. 
  • May 31, 2022 Boulder County Clerk & Recorders Office certified a petition to form a library district serving the City of Boulder and the surrounding unincorporated Boulder County areas. 
  • July 14, 2022 City Council will consider a resolution indicating the City of Boulder’s position on participating in the library district.  
  • August 16, 2022 BOCC will finalize the November 2022 ballot language by deciding on using either one or two separate questions for the formation and funding of a library district.  

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 governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by these entities. Dedicated property tax revenues fund the library district and voters within the district boundaries must approve any new or increased taxes. 

It is the most common form of governance for public libraries within the State of Colorado and for communities similar in size to Boulder, with 56 district libraries throughout the state. Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Arapahoe and Adams County, Greeley and Fort Collins have formed library districts.  

What services would the new library district offer?

The Library District will have the funding to expand library services according to the 2018 Library Master Plan, which may include: 

  • Address facilities maintenance backlog 
  • Restore library hours to pre-pandemic levels 
  • Restore staff position for the Carnegie Library for Local History and resume open hours 
  • Increase staff for the Canyon Theater to resume programs and rentals 
  • Restore staff positions for Boulder Reads family literacy program and expand the program 
  • Restore staff positions for BLDG61 Makerspace and resume programs 
  • Fully fund construction and staff for the new North Boulder Branch Library 
  • Open a Gunbarrel Corner Library 
  • Expand early literacy and outreach programs to Latinx community members

How can a library district be formed?  

There are two ways that a library district can be formed. One way is the establishing entities adopt resolutions to form a library district. The establishing entities and the library district negotiate an intergovernmental agreement for the transition year, including details on funding and the transfer of property and employees. 

Another way to form a library district is through a petition signed by a minimum of 100 electors in the proposed library district service area boundary. The petition defines the mill levy and service area boundary to be written into the ballot item.  

In either option, final approval for the district formation must come from voter approval through an election. 

How much will my property taxes increase if voters approve the Library District in the November 2022 election? 

The property tax increase amount depends on the mill rate, also called the mill levy. The mill rate in the petition is 3.5 mills. Community members can calculate property tax estimates on the Boulder County Assessor website.  

What areas would the proposed Boulder Public Library District cover? 

Description of boundary: All property currently within the boundaries of parts of west Boulder County including Eldorado Springs, Sugarloaf, and Gold Hill and all property within the boundaries of the area bounded on the north by Altona and Oxford Rd., south on 63rd, east on Monarch Rd, south on 79th St., east on Highway 52 to 95th St.; on the east by 95th St. from Highway 52 south to South Boulder Rd. and McCaslin Blvd.; on the south by the boundary of Boulder County.

Library District Advisory Committee

City Council reviewed input from a Library District Advisory Committee (LDAC) with members who reside within the proposed district boundaries. Committee members 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 experience, interests, skills, and equity. Those selected represent business owners, renters, property owners, various age ranges, races and incomes. 

The LDAC met twice per month from October 2021 through January 2022. The LDAC submitted recommendations which City Council discussed during the Feb. 8, 2022 study session

Adult and children in Learning Garden