These letters to the editor were in response to the Denver Post story about the Denver Public Library and how it is considering becoming a library district as a result of funding pressures with the City of Denver. They appeared in the May 1 edition of the Denver Post.
Note the first letter is from James LaRue of the Douglas County Libraries. We received a letter from LaRue to Jefferson County library patrons supporting our effort to create a library district here. Read that letter under About Us/Endorsements.
All of these letters apply to Jefferson County just as well as Denver. Please consider writing your own letter to the editor about protecting our library’s future as an independent library district.
For much of its long history, the Denver Public Library has been a leader. Not too long ago, it was ranked the No. 1 public library in the country for its service population.
More recently, due mainly to the volatility of the Denver sales tax revenues upon which all city services depend, the library’s ability to meet the demonstrated demand of its citizens is falling. For the past several years, the library has ratcheted back the number of hours at its many branches.
Now, I commend City Librarian Shirley Amore and the library commission for their frank admission that to preserve service quality, there is little choice but to close branches.
By contrast, independent library districts, based on modest voter-approved property tax levies, provide a solid basis for services. Since 2007, the Douglas County Libraries, a library district, has itself been ranked the No. 1 library in the nation for populations of 250,000 to 500,000. We have risen as the Denver Public Library has fallen.
Is it worth $5 or $6 per month, per household, to advocate for both childhood and adult literacy, to provide world-class programming, to provide public access to technology, to assist thousands of people looking to find a job or grow a business?
A great city deserves a great library. Making the Denver Public Library a library district is a cost-effective, well-tested path to doing so.
James LaRue , Castle Rock. The writer is director of Douglas County Libraries.
Despite the outcry from citizens, city councils, county commissioners and our Colorado legislature, all seem determined to close and otherwise limit the libraries of our communities. Positive leadership is needed to encourage the people to vote their support for library service. This cannot be done by those who have held the purse strings asking to continue to control this vital service.
Libraries should be given their freedom by allowing separate library districts to be formed to serve the people. The Arapahoe Library District, formed 40 years ago, is a prime example of what can be accomplished. It has developed into the premiere library in Colorado through dedicated service to its citizens, who have voted the funding necessary for quality. It is not politically controlled.
Where is the silent majority of civic leadership to get quality library service for all people?
Bill Murray , Aurora
A year ago, my wife and I were deciding whether to move to Denver from Philadelphia. The fact that Denver contained so many world-class institutions, such as the Denver Public Library, was important to us. I have since joined the board of the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation so I can help support this terrific institution.
I cannot believe we will let this vital institution become a hollow shell of what it should be. The DPL’s role as a crucial resource for the city must be maintained. To cut services in the short run for Denver’s families and those seeking help in this difficult climate is a false economy. Also, the DPL should be given a dedicated revenue source as a independent library district.
Unless the DPL maintains its ability to serve the Denver community, that community will be far poorer than it is today.
Christopher W. Lane
I’m very much in favor of creating a separate tax district for the Denver Public Library. We support our schools, but education doesn’t end with the acquisition of a diploma. In a democracy, an informed public is the best bulwark against radicalism of any sort.
We use our roads and pay for them; libraries are as essential as roads and are as important in attracting corporate offices.
When we moved to Denver in 1968, the city had the best public library system in the nation. It’s time to return that jewel to the crown of the Queen City of the Plains by establishing an independent library district.