Library District YES!

You can support our grassroots initiative:


What's happening with the library district?

On April 5, the Boulder City Council passed a resolution to form the Boulder Public Library District, paving the way for our community to vote on funding this fall. Unfortunately, the Boulder County Commissioners rejected the resolution, preventing Council from moving the question forward to the ballot.  This is a familiar pattern: elected officials have been blocking the question of library funding from getting on the ballot for years.

We knew it was coming, and we’re already moving forward.  With strong support from you, our community, we’ll be filing a petition to bring a library district directly to the voters.  With your support, we’ll use this effort to build momentum for a fall campaign. The public deserves to vote!

Our recent poll shows that over 70% of likely voters support creating and funding a library district, and over 80% think a strong library is essential to the community. An amazing 88% of respondents have a favorable impression of the Boulder Public Library — a number that makes our hearts sing.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be hosting a series of petition-signing events in locations around Boulder. One is already set: Join us at the Rayback on Thursday May 12th, 4-6PM. We’ll share more opportunities just as soon as they’re confirmed - watch this space!

If you’re a registered voter in the City of Boulder, or within our proposed district boundaries, your signature can help us get there.

Map of proposed Boulder Public Library District Boundary May, 2022

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. While the library budget represents only 3% of the City's budget, the library budget took a 16% cut - the largest of any city department. Those cuts have still not been restored, with critical staff positions (like Boulder Reads) permanently eliminated and the Carnegie Library for Local History still unable to re-open.

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.

We’re ready to make our case in the general election, but we need your help to get there. Collecting signatures is hard work, but it’s also a great opportunity to educate and build community — two things that libraries do so well.

You can support our grass-roots initiative by donating, volunteering, subscribing for updates, or endorsing our efforts.

What will it take to bring our Boulder Public Library back?


Literacy  |  Equity  |  Community

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