Our library needs your help.
Boulder Library Champions are campaigning to secure sustainable, long-term funding to give Boulder the library we deserve.
Boulder Public Library is wildly popular - in 2018 BPL welcoming over 1 million visits - yet wildly underfunded. In 2018 BPL, when the Library Champions was formed, our library operated on 2002 funding levels, with 16% less staff than 16 years prior. While some gains were achieved in the 2019, the city's pandemic budget cuts have made our library's financial picture much worse:
- Sixty-six library employees have lost their jobs, with four additional positions held vacant.
- The Main library is operating on reduced hours, primarily for pickup of holds. The other four branches are closed, with curbside pickup of holds available at Meadows, by appointment. Physical collections are off limits and the materials budget is reduced.
- The Carnegie local history collection is closed and virtually inaccessible.
- The BLDG 61 Maker Space is closed with limited visual access to technology and resources.
- Public meeting rooms are not available for public use.
It didn’t have to be this way. Our peer libraries which are funded as library districts have opened all their branches. They are offering free access to physical collections and maker spaces. In-person programming has resumed and their meeting rooms are available for public use. Why the difference? With stable funding from property taxes, library districts retained sufficient staff to meet patron demand, enforce social distancing, and perform extra cleaning to ensure everyone’s safety. However, municipal libraries, funded like ours, are struggling to support even basic services.
The city’s over-reliance on regressive sales and use taxes creates a boom-and-bust cycle for city services. Our library has suffered disproportionately in the city’s downturns, with very few compensating budget increases over the last 20 years.
Boulder City Council will consider whether to form a library district at a study session on February 23rd, 2021, with a public hearing tentatively scheduled for April 20th.
Tell the Boulder City Council council: WE WANT TO VOTE on securing dedicated funding for our library! Emailing council is a great way to get involved! Or consider submitting a letter to the editor with the letter template and submission instructions you can find here. We also have a list of talking points you can use.