Joni Teter

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David Farnan, Library & Arts Director, a hidden gem

There are everyday heroes all around us. The individuals who make a difference in our communities. In these extraordinary times we see these everyday heroes going above and beyond. The health care workers on the front lines, delivery drivers, school principals and teachers who have had to adapt to a new normal and support our kids along the way, neighbors who are buying groceries for each other, friends sewing masks, the list goes on. Heroes like this don’t wear capes but make a big impact.

In Boulder, we are incredibly fortunate to have David Farnan as our Library & Arts Director. David is truly one of Boulder’s hidden gems. In the last 6 years, David has been able to overhaul the library on a shoestring budget; oversee growth to over one million annual visitors (or 9.56 visits per capita, the highest rate of any city or metro area library); and amass 126,000 loyal cardholders (118% of Boulder’s population!). Clearly, the library is a popular place and David’s work to overhaul the system shows. David’s work has not only avoided significant deterioration of service at Boulder Public Library, it has propelled BPL to one of the most innovative libraries around -- even leading to it being named the 2016 Library of the Year. 

The stories of those impacted by the innovations at the library are as heartwarming as they are numerous. From the TreeOpp program transforming an environmental challenge into art and social change to Reading Buddies helping children find the motivation to read, to the incredibly quick pivot for virtual programming and wifi hotspot roll out as COVID-19 shut Boulder down, you can’t get through the website without finding a unique offering chartered by David and his staff. We eagerly await this fall's One Book One Boulder, a timely event in which the library staff and the Boulder Library Foundation will bring the community together to read and discuss "So You Want To Talk About Race," and to listen to its author Ijeoma Oluo.

Often, the measure of a great leader are those who choose to come work for them. Looking around BPL, it’s clear David has assembled a world-class team and that the team is as invested in David’s vision as he is. David's singular superpower is his openness to listen to his capable staff's ideas and then to create the space for them to bring those plans to fruition. Under his leadership, many programs have been given life and been nurtured even against the current of dwindling resources.

He is the Library Evangelist. He is enthusiastic and cheerful about all things library and he will spend any amount of time sharing with people the small and great accomplishments of his staff and of libraries everywhere. His passion originates in the sincere belief in democracy, justice, and the place of public libraries in preserving those values. It’s clear Boulder is fortunate to enjoy one of the most dedicated library staffs around with a visionary leader that brings it all together.

Several groups of library lovers consider David Farnan to be a hero within our community: The Boulder Library Foundation, Boulder Library Commission and Boulder Library Champions would

all like to thank and commend David for the job he’s done. So the next time you’re browsing the website for a book or event, remember one of Boulder's hidden heroes, the guy who has strengthened Boulder Public Library into a cornerstone of our City. 



The Boulder Library Foundation

Boulder Public Library Commission

Boulder Library Champions

donated 2019-12-03 17:00:59 -0700

Shining a Light on Boulder's Budget: How Would a Library District Help Boulder's Budget?

Forming a library district would free up at least $9.7 million/year in the city budget.   The library district would be responsible to implement the community’s vision for our library, so funding for increased staffing, future capital projects and maintenance of facilities (including the facilities backlog) would no longer be a city responsibility. 

These revenues would be freed up to go to other programs and services, or be refunded to taxpayers. Savings over ten years would add up to over $100 million dollars

 Most library districts continue to rely on their city government to provide administrative overhead services.  “Contracting back” with the library district for these services would turn this paper revenue stream into a real revenue stream of up to $3.4M/year.

The chart below compares cost savings realized by the city if a library district is formed, compared against city "unfunded needs"  projected from 2025 forward.


Read on for details about how forming a library district can help relieve pressure on the Boulder city budget.

Read more
published Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go? in Blog 2019-10-01 23:33:43 -0600

Shining a Light on Boulder's Budget: Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go?

 Boulder's City government implements over 300 "community" and "governance" programs spread across 21 departments. Community programs provide direct service to residents and businesses, while governance programs provide support services to other city departments.


More than 50% of the operating budget goes to 5 departments: police, open space and mountain parks, parks & recreation, utilities and city governance/administration (city council, attorney’s office, clerk, communications, city manager, finance, HR, IT).  

Note that “governance” includes city debt payments and operating reserves. The city has been building towards a 20% operating reserve for the last ten years.

Read more
wants to volunteer 2019-03-17 17:08:06 -0600

Become a volunteer

Will you join our team of volunteers and help secure sustainable funding for our community library's future? Where you can help:

  • Yes, I will host a house party or neighborhood gathering

    Learn More: The campaign will work with you to schedule and host an event where friends and other potential supporters from your network can learn more about the Boulder Library Champions campaign. 
    When? Ongoing
  • Yes, I will help spread the word through social media

    Learn More: Help us spread the Boulder Library Champions’ messages via pre-approved messaging, graphics and images designed to be copied and pasted into your social media feeds.
    When? Ongoing
  • Yes, I will help with fundraising for this fall's election campaign.

    Learn More: Help to identify and engage people who might be willing to donate to the Boulder Library Champions campaign. 
    When? Ongoing
  • Yes, I will help distribute campaign literature
    Learn More: Getting the word out in a busy election year is more important than ever. “Lit drops” include going door-to-door to distribute campaign information to likely voters and other supporters in the proposed Library District boundary. 
    When? August through Election Day
  • Yes, I will write/submit a Letter to the Editor or Guest Column to a local newspaper
    Learn More: We’ll help you deliver informed and authoritative commentary about your support for the Boulder Library Champions on the opinion pages of your local newspaper. 
    When? Ongoing
  • Yes, I will help canvass or phone bank
    Learn More: Make phone calls and send text messages to help us identify supporters and provide voters with information on why they should vote yes to create a Library District. 
    When? June-Election Day
  • Yes, I will place a sign in my yard
    Learn More: Show your support for a Library District to passersby, customers, friends and neighbors. Most signs are suitable for neighborhoods, but we’re happy to design larger signs for supporters who have high-visibility or high-traffic locales.
    When? August through Election Day
  • Other -- let me know what you need!
    Learn More: Want to roll up your sleeves in some other way when demand warrants? Let us know that you’re available. 
    When? Ongoing

Sign up here to be added to our volunteer list to get a heads-up when we need a hand. You can also email us at [email protected] with questions or other ideas for how you might help.

Become a volunteer
endorsed 2019-03-17 20:03:19 -0600

Our Endorsers

Thank you to all of our endorsers and supporters, especially the Boulder Library Foundation for its generous contribution to this campaign and for its role as champion and supporter of our library for nearly 50 years.

Join us to show your support for our library!

signed up on Subscribe 2019-03-15 11:02:19 -0600

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Sign up here to stay informed about our efforts. We'll keep you up to date about how you can support sustainable funding for our libraries.

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