What's happening with the library district?
The Library District Advisory Committee (LDAC) has been appointed and will be meeting twice a month through April, 2022. The group represents a wide scope of community interests, with members drawn from inside and outside the city. The LDAC will review information and make recommendations on the sample Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) as well as make recommendations about community engagement. Meetings are open to the public, and accessible (for now) on Zoom.
The LDAC webpage has details and links for public participation.
The LDAC will make recommendations to City Council in January, initiating the process of library formation. A public hearing will be scheduled in February/March, with formal action to create the District planned for April. Community engagement will continue through May, parallel with finalizing the IGA. We anticipate a community vote on library funding on the November 2022 ballot.
Why are we working to form a library district?
A library district is the best way to secure sustainable, long-term funding for our library.
The City of Boulder's over-reliance on regressive sales and use taxes creates a boom-and-bust cycle. Our library has suffered disproportionately in the city’s downturns, with very few compensating budget increases over the last 20 years. In 2018, when the Library Champions was formed, our library operated on 2002 funding levels, with 16% less staff than 16 years prior. While some moderate gains were achieved in the 2019, the city's pandemic budget cuts have now made our library's financial picture much worse.
Our library is an essential resource for economic recovery and community rebuilding.
Public libraries funded through Library Districts are well positioned to help rebuild local economies and support individuals and families as they rebuild their lives. Our library’s programs and services are in even greater demand now as our community rebuilds from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic - but our library is hobbled by lack of staff and resources.
A library district will allow our library to thrive.
Library districts (now the norm all over Colorado) are governed by an appointed Board of Trustees and supported through a property tax, not municipal funds. Every other library in Colorado similar to Boulder in size and patron base is now a library district. A library district offers sustainable and predictable funding through a dedicated property tax, which is more stable and equitable than a sales tax. A library district will empower our library to meet demand and fulfill our community’s aspirations for 21st century library service in Boulder and neighboring communities.
Our library is wildly popular, welcoming over 1 million visits per year. While our city consistently ranks in the top tiers of creativity, entrepreneurship, educational attainment, and technological savvy, it is shameful that we continue to under-fund and under-appreciate our central institution of social infrastructure.
Council is finally on track to LET US VOTE to secure sustainable funding for our library!
What will it take to bring our Boulder Public Library back?