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, June 12, 2002

June 12, 2002 - Colorado Libraries Respond to State Funding Cuts

Donna Jones Morris, President of the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL), announced that Colorado librarians met June 4 to begin planning changes in library services as a result of recent state budget cuts. CAL represents more than 1000 public, college and university, school, and other library members in Colorado.

Governor Bill Owens exercised his line item veto on several library-related expenditures in the state's new budget on Friday, May 31. In total, state expenditures for libraries were reduced by $4,679,194. The budget goes into effect July 1st of this year.

The eliminated programs are:

The Colorado Resource Center - $2,299,194. This program, in existence for almost 30 years, enables the Denver Public Library to provide walk-in service to all Colorado residents, free reference service around the state via telephone, fax and email, and, as Colorado’s largest public library, free lending of its books to other libraries.

State grants - $2,000,000. This program, established two years ago, provided a minimum grant of $3,000 per library. It was restricted to the purchase of “intellectual content” — primarily books and databases. Since its inception, the program funded the purchase of an estimated 200,000 books, all available at no charge to any Colorado resident. The greatest beneficiaries of the program have been smaller, rural libraries.

Finally, all funding for the Payment for Lending program, which had been in place since the seventies, was eliminated. This program, at $170,000, partially reimbursed libraries for the books they loaned to other libraries in the state.

“These cuts are a setback to all Colorado libraries and the people they serve. Some two thirds of Colorado residents have and use a library card, and they will certainly feel the impact,” said Morris.

In 2001, the CRC loaned 70,000 books to other Colorado libraries. CRC reference librarians also answered more than 160,000 reference questions from around the state.

The cuts will have an even greater proportionate effect on Colorado’s many small, rural libraries, many of which have book budgets of just hundreds of dollars or less. The State grant program enabled these libraries to buy many more new books. Others (such as the Douglas Public Library District) used the funds to subscribe to electronic databases for K-12 students and home-based businesses, giving them equity to educational resources no matter where they lived.

The loss of funding to Colorado libraries means that library users will see fewer new books in their libraries, and will find it harder to get hold of older ones.

The library community in Colorado remains committed to its mission: the provision of high-quality service to the residents of Colorado.

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