Sept. 7 - All libraries will be closed for Labor Day.

Home > Directors Blog > Community Engagement

Community Engagement

A New Day for JCPL!

by: 
Pam

I am pleased to announce that on Thursday, Aug. 13, the Library Board of Trustees finalized ballot language for a mill-levy initiative for the November election.

They will be seeking an increase of one mill to restore library services in Jefferson County. While the increase will require a modest investment (only $1.95 more per month for the owner of a typical-sized home in Jefferson County), it will deliver significant returns. 

If the mill levy passes, we'll be able to:

  • restore open hours at JCPL’s libraries
  • purchase more books and materials;
  • update technology for patrons and staff;
  • repair and refurbish library buildings; and
  • stabilize Library finances for the foreseeable future.

This is the beginning of a new era for Jefferson County Public Library. We've been in survival mode for so long, we are excited at the prospect of being able to give Jeffco residents the library services they want and deserve.

Yesterday, the Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution to place the initiative on the November ballot. We have a cadre of dedicated volunteers standing by to launch a mill levy campaign on the Library's behalf. You can follow their progress at yesforjeffcolibraries.com.

Please pass this email along to other folks who may be interested. They can sign up to receive these updates here.

Let's hope this signals a new day for JCPL!

 

JCPL: Jeffco's Secret Weapon

by: 
Pam

Most Jeffco residents appreciate the library's role in promoting literacy and learning, but few are aware of the library's impact on economic development. In fact, we're a valuable and often overlooked weapon in the economic development arsenal.

Jefferson County Public Library supports economic development by:

•    Supporting early literacy and education;
•    Contributing to a technologically literate workforce;
•    Providing critical resources for job seekers;
•    Supporting local businesses and startups;
•    Anchoring commercial developments and redevelopments; and
•    Contributing to a community’s quality of life.

We've just completed a white paper that documents our contributions. You can access it here.

If you'd like to be updated on economic development programs and resources, join our economic development mailing list.

The Importance of Benchmarking

by: 
Pam

AT JCPL, we benchmark our performance against libraries like ours in communities like ours. It's an important part of putting our performance into perspective.

When folks enter our libraries, they generally have a positive experience. Our staff are trained and dedicated to providing excellent customer service, regardless of the challenges we may be facing behind the scenes.

Last week I talked about our ongoing budget challenges. The worst part of our financial challenge is the fact that years of operating on a shoestring have had a major impact on our performance -- especially when you compare us to our library peers.

Most people don't see this. When we polled Jeffco residents, we learned that:
•    a majority of those polled believe we're doing a good job;
•    they believe our customer service is great; and
•    a majority have no awareness of our budget challenges.

The benchmarking data tells a different story.

We've been operating in survival mode for so long, our service has declined to dangerously low levels. Other metro area public libraries are able to offer access to better technology, including better software programs, laptops for check-out, mobile applications and more. Here, we struggle to provide basic services. We're providing access to Microsoft Office 7, while others have moved on to Microsoft Office 13; our public access computers are running on Windows 7, while others are running on Windows 10 or 12; and the number of public access computers we provide to Jeffco residents places us in the bottom quartile of performance.

Sadly, JCPL is performing at or below the 25th percentile in other key performance measures as well, including:
•    hours open;
•    materials per capita;
•    eBooks per 1,000 people served;
•    square footage per capita; and
•    full time equivalents (FTEs) per 1,000 people served.

Because we're open so few hours, we also rank in the bottom quartile for the number of early literacy storytimes we're able to offer, the number of reference transactions (per capita) we're able to process, and the number of Jeffco residents who participate in Summer Reading.

When we shared this data with community leaders, we heard the words "troubling", "appalling" and "embarrassing".

I have my own word for it: tragic.

Going forward, we need sufficient financial resources to be able to deliver a more responsible level of service, and we look forward to the day when we can give Jeffco residents the level of services they need and deserve.

Catching Up

by: 
Pam

Can you believe that the year is almost half over?

We've been so busy, I've barely had time to breathe, much less maintain a robust blog calendar. But now, with summer finally here, we all have a little time to catch up.

You can catch up with us, too!

We've posted the following documents on our web site:

  •  2014 Annual Report
  •  2015 Budget Document
  •  2015 Strategy Document

You can access them here. They provide a good snapshot of where we are.

We have a million great things going on, with more to come... and I look forward to sharing it all with you!

A Wonderful Christmas Present

by: 
Pam

Amidst the litter of wrapping paper and ribbon last week, I found a wonderful Christmas present. I opened my email to find this photo:

It's a picture of Bookmobile Patron Ruth Gartrell, who happened to be our 10,000th bookmobile visitor this year. Rich Allen, our bookmobile supervisor, surprised Ruth with balloons and flowers to celebrate this milestone. Needless to say, it was a happy day for all involved.

Even more heart-warming are the trends we're seeing in bookmobile use. The number of bookmobile visitors has increased every year for the past eight, despite the fact that we downsized that business unit in late 2010. This is the first time we've reached the 10,000-visitor milestone in a single year.

It's a testament to Rich (and all of the other library employees) who work within significant budgetary constraints, and yet provide exceptional library services year after year.

That, my friends, is the best Christmas present ever, and a wonderful way to start off the new year! 

Mountain Library Advocates Take Note

by: 
Pam

The Conifer Recreation Coalition is seeking resident input on recreational opportunities in the Conifer area, and we wouldn't want them to forget the Library!

If you'd like to weigh in on the kinds of facilities and activities you'd like to see, take the survey today. It closes on Dec. 15, so don't delay.

The Power of Partnership: Helping Kids Learn to Read

by: 
Pam Nissler

One of the Library's strategic priorities is to make literacy tools available to everyone in the County (and especially to children from birth to 5 and their caregivers). We know that children who enter school ready to read tend to perform better in school, have higher graduation rates and achieve more success in life than children who don't. We'd like to see every child in Jefferson County begin kindergarten with the basic skills they need to be ready to read.

We offer robust literacy tools to children and their caregivers through Library Storytimes, our Traveling Children's Library, and specialized computer programs in the children's areas in our Libraries. Now, we're working to extend those services through focused outreach and partnerships.

Here's an example. Recently, we partnered with Jefferson County Human Services to help them create a “Read to Your Kids” book corner in Room 110 of the Human Services Building.  (Room 110  is where citizens come to complete paperwork for assistance, and they often bring children with them.) We're providing posters and brochures with tips for parents on how to help their children learn to read, as well as fliers advertising our Storytimes.

This is a perfect opportunity to deliver information about the importance of reading to children to at-risk families in Jeffco. It gives the children something to do while their parents wait for appointments, and it gives parents concrete ideas of how to help their children.

Here are before and after photos of the project:

Thanks to Jeffco Human Services for the opportunity to extend our services to families in need!

 

 

The Power of Partnership

by: 
Pam

Recently, JCPL partnered with Warren Tech High School on an exciting project. Twelve students from a video production class were given a challenge: they had one day to script, film, edit and produce a short video promoting libraries. We had the pleasure of hosting the filming at the Belmar Library, where six teams of students worked their creative magic.

The films were then entered in a statewide video contest sponsored by the Colorado State Library and the Collaborative Summer Library Program. They’ll be competing with 21 entries from around the state. Films will be judged by a panel of judges from several public libraries around the state, the State Library, and Rocky Mountain PBS.  Winners will be announced on May 7, and the winning team will receive $275.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the Warren Tech teams!

We are pleased and proud to be helping local students prepare for 21st century careers, and we are happy to showcase their efforts.

If you had to pick a favorite, which would you choose?

Subscribe to RSS - Community Engagement