Why support a Library District?

We are the Boulder Library Champions!

The Boulder Library Champions is a grassroots group of community volunteers who have come together in support of our Boulder Public Library and our community's vision for its future.

We are working to secure sustainable funding for our library.

Our Boulder Public Library is beloved for its excellent service, innovative offerings and commitment to the Boulder community. With over 1 million visitors in 2018, our Boulder Public Library's popularity continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

Unfortunately, funding and staff have not grown to meet the demand for existing and new library services. 

By creating a library district, our Boulder Public Library would be funded through a dedicated property tax rather than competing with other city departments every single year. This would provide reliable, predictable funding and the ability to confidently plan for the future to create even better library programs and services for our community. Library districts are now the most common form of governance and funding for Colorado libraries.

View a fact sheet developed by our library at  Funding Our Library Future 

Why we are advocating for creation of the Boulder Public Library District.

Analysis shows that while most households in Boulder have library cards, nearly 40,000 cardholders live outside the Boulder city limits. No other library system of Boulder’s size has a similar, disproportionate number of cardholders living outside the library’s boundaries. This map illustrates where patrons live relative to the proposed district boundaries.

With a library district, we can better match the patron base to the funding base, offering the most equitable, reliable and accountable approach to funding.  Every other library in Colorado similar to Boulder in size and patron base is now a library district.

A single purpose library district enhances taxpayer accountability because its leadership is focused solely on the library. The library’s community assets remain in service to the community, directly maintained and invested in by the district at the direction of the library Board of Trustees. The Trustees would be appointed by City Council and the County Commissioners, providing a degree of ongoing control over library decision making by our elected officials. This map shows the proposed library district boundaries, with precinct numbers and boundaries.

The Boulder Daily Camera's editorial board explains why a library district makes sense for Boulder in its endorsement: Create a district for Boulder Public Library

View a panel discussion about Fort Collins' experience with its library district, and the experience of other Colorado library districts at Funding Our Library Future: Panel Discussion

For Boulder Library Champions' detailed explanation of our library's funding needs and why a district is the best solution, see Our Library's Funding Needs

Forming a library district can help address looming shortfalls in the Boulder City budget.

The City budget is overstretched. Costs to deliver programs and services have been rising faster than revenue growth for more than 15 years. Every two years, a new Council is elected and new priorities are set, resulting in additional initiatives and new programs that add to the budget stress. The City now has a long list of unfunded needs, many in core programs - basic services and programs that citizens rely on and which are at the heart of Boulder’s quality of life.

Forming a library district would free up $10 million in annual operating + $14-17 million in one time capital expenses from General Fund revenues that can be used for other priority needs - like fire/emergency response, transportation, housing and arts. If the library district contracts with the city for administrative services, the city would receive up to $3.4M/year in additional revenue.

Get the Scoop on Boulder's Budget and the Scoop on Sustainable Funding for Our Library


Boulder Library Champions are campaigning now to add this issue to the 2021 election ballot.