Libraries are for everyone

Children and families

Children and families make up the largest group that Boulder Public Library (BPL) serves, hence, a significant amount of its resources, programs and services are designed to serve this group of patrons. Demographic trends and the educational and social needs of this group are important factors to BPL’s long-range planning and service delivery design. 

The Harvard Family Research Project’s report Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement says that libraries are playing a greater role in early learning for young children. Engaging families in learning activities is critical for children’s academic and social development and is a matter of equity. Family engagement is a shared responsibility among families, educators, and communities. High-income families spend seven times more money on out-of-school enrichment activities than low-income families. Libraries are free, trusted, safe, and welcoming places that can help counterbalance these inequalities. 

Immigrant and minority groups

Supporting diversity and cultivating a social environment that is welcoming and inclusive are fundamental values of the Boulder community. BPL represents these values by promoting cultural competency. Through its own guiding principle, BPL promises to evolve and continually engage with the community and to develop programs and services that are relevant to the needs of immigrants and minorities. To effectively engage and evolve, BPL must remain apprised of the trends and needs of community members with diverse backgrounds. 

Older adults

The Boulder Community Foundation 2017 TRENDS Report states the older adults represent the fastest growing population group in Boulder County and by 2050, adults aged 65+ are projected to comprise 23 percent of Boulder County’s population. 

In 2014, 65 percent of adults aged 60+ who responded to the Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults, used a public library. While BPL provides a significant number of programs, services and resources that appeal to adults of all ages, BPL will have to tailor offerings to address the unique needs of members of this rapidly-growing group to be responsive. These needs are related to mobility and accessibility, supporting aging in place, and staying connected to other community members. 

Persons experiencing homelessness

The inability to pay rent or mortgage was the most frequent contributing factor leading to homeless status. Losing a job was the second. BPL is committed to assisting Boulder’s homeless community members and their families to become self-supporting and self-sufficient by improving their literacy and developing job skills. BPL is also a place for marginalized community members such as those experiencing homelessness to feel welcomed and part of the community. Further, BPL can facilitate connecting people to the information, resources and other agencies that they need to change or improve their individual situations. 


Excerpted from the 2018 Boulder Public Library Master Plan