This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, April 16, 1997

April 16, 1997 - Annual Report

This is National Library Week. It's as good a time as any to pass on to Douglas County taxpayers the sort of statistics we gathered for our 1996 annual report to Colorado's State library.

Library patrons. We currently have 83,781 registered borrowers living in Douglas County. That's almost 70% of our 123,000 residents. We have another 5,459 people who live outside the county.

Revenue. Our income for 1996 was $3,105,271 from our local tax base. We got various gifts and donations (primarily the Philip S. Miller bequest) of $124,553. Other income (interest on investments, fines, fees, payments for lost or damaged books, etc.) was $225,146.

Expenditures. As with most libraries, our largest expenditure was staff (about $1.3 million). Our second largest single expense -- just under half a million dollars -- went to the purchase of library materials. All other operating costs -- computers, telephone, postage, utilities, supplies, etc., came to $633,924.

We spent about $112,000 on various capital items (book shelves, furniture, etc.). The remainder was banked for long term capital needs.
Materials. At the end of the year, we had 227,862 books; 10,908 audiotapes, 251 compact discs, and 77 CD-ROMS (look for big jumps in these last two in 1997).

Hours. If you add up all the hours that all our locations are open, we provide 284 hours of library service each week.

Group presentations in 1996 (story hours and library-sponsored programs): 1,824. Program attendance: 30,076.

Books/materials borrowed from other libraries for our patrons: 3,730. Books/materials loaned to other libraries for their patrons: 1,423.
Total circulation (checkouts) for the year: 1,191,881.

Number of challenges to library materials (requests to remove materials from our collection, or to shelve in a less accessible area): 4. The titles were Daddy's Roommate, Men's Journal (a magazine with a suggestive cover one month), Favorite Scary Stories of American Children, and The Boy Who Drew Cats. By contrast, we added about 30,000 items that year.

The annual report also asked about any ballot issues. We reported that a mill levy increase did pass (by 51.5%). Campaign expenditures totaled $2,800 in cash, and $1,500 in in-kind donations.

How does all this compare with other Colorado libraries? Compared to the 18 Colorado public libraries with budgets greater than $675,000, we rank 8th in terms of overall circulation activity (after Denver, Colorado Springs, Jeffco, Aurora, Arapahoe, Boulder, and Fort Collins). On a per capita basis, however, we rank 5th (after Denver, Boulder, Arapahoe, and Longmont).

Other rankings: full-time equivalent staff per 1,000 people served, 11th; materials budget per capita, 6th; and volumes held per capita, 14th (our population is growing faster than our collection, which we're hoping to address by the year 2000).

And that's the year in review.

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