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Community Engagement


Thanks to area residents, our South County strategic initiatives are off to a good start.

In April, we held three community meetings to seek resident input on library services to Columbine and South County.   137 people attended the meetings and nearly 240 people completed surveys to give us insights into what is currently working, what could be improved, what they wish for and how far they want to travel for library services.
Some comments were not surprising: people love and hate the roundabout outside the Columbine Library; they want to see updated bathrooms, and they love the view.  The wish list included standard requests for more books, DVDs and outlets, while other comments ranged from being able to use space outside the library, to hosting artists, to even bringing Clive Cussler to talk. 

Next steps include:

  • May: Post Request for Proposal (RFP) for an Owner’s Representative
  • July: Post RFP for Design Team (general contractor & architect)
  • September: Begin designing

Stay tuned for dates and times for a second set of community meeting to be held in the fall; in the meantime, we invite you to follow our progress.


Last November Jefferson County residents passed a ballot initiative to increase the Library’s mill levy for the first time in 29 years. As a result, we're working diligently to restore services, better meet residents’ needs and put JCPL back on a path to excellence.

We'd like to share our 2016 plans with you. Please join us at an upcoming community meeting to help celebrate our accomplishments, hear our plans, and offer feedback.

Meetings will be held:

Come find out what's in store for JCPL in 2016!



... it's off to work we go!

2016 has come roaring in, and we're in the thick of it, gearing up for expanded hours in April. You may remember, our first task is to recruit and hire 26 new full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.

Right out of the 2016 chute, we worked to advertise and post open positions. Our social media postings reached more than 6,500 people. People were "liking" and "sharing" the news all over the place. And the responses we received were encouraging:

  • “This is how you know the recession is finally ending.”
  • “I  would so LOVE to work at the Public Library!”
  • “It’s actually happening…I am in awe.”

On January 12, in partnership with the county's American Job Center, we held a recruitment fair to offer applicants the chance to learn about JCPL, meet with staff and get their questions answered -- and approximatey 150 people attended.

The job postings closed on January 18, and we were astounded at the results. More than 1,300 people applied, and when we screened for qualifications, more than 500 people met the criteria!

Needless to say, we are now busy interviewing, working to make sure we get the best possible people for the job. We hope to complete the hiring process in the next few weeks, with a target start date for new associates of March 7. That will give us time to provide training and coaching for the new folks so they're ready to serve patrons effectively when we expand open hours in April.

It's enormously gratifying to see so many people who want to work for the Library. I have to echo one of our applicant's comment: It's actually happening, and I am in awe!


Happy New Year! At JCPL, we're off to a roaring start as we ramp up to launch expanded service hours in April.

Beginning April 4, service hours at JCPL’s larger libraries (Arvada, Belmar, Columbine, Evergreen, Golden, Lakewood and Standley Lake) will expand from 51 hours a week to 65 hours a week. That means open hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5.p.m. on Sunday. Hours at JCPL’s smaller libraries (Conifer, Edgewater, and Wheat Ridge) also are expanding and final schedules will be announced in March.

Our first task it to recruit and train additional employees. Nineteen new full-time equivalent (FTE) positions will support expanded hours at all ten JCPL libraries. An additional seven positions are in support areas, including Administrative Services, Employee Relations and Development, Facilities, Finance, Information Technology. Both full-time and part-time positions are available.

The Library is partnering with the American Job Center to hold a Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12, at the American Job Center, 3500 Illinois St. in Golden. Interested parties are encouraged to attend to learn more about the Library’s open positions. In addition, they may view available positions and apply online through January 18 at

We're looking for friendly, innovative, creative people to join the JCPL team. If you know of tech-savvy folks who value great customer service and love helping people connect, discover, and create, please pass this information along.

It's an exciting time to be working for the Library!


I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. We did! In fact, we're right in the middle of planning expanded library services that will deliver on the promises we made to voters, and we’re enormously thankful for that opportunity!

Last week, we presented an amended 2016 budget to the Board of County Commissioners. It includes initiatives we expect to implement in 2016, based on the additional revenue approved by the voters in the recent mill levy election.  Here's what the additional revenue will allow us to do:

  • We expect to expand hours at all JCPL Libraries. Our larger libraries (Arvada, Belmar, Columbine, Evergreen, Golden, Lakewood, and Standley Lake) will go from 51 hours a week to 65 hours a week. That means open hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 9a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Our smaller libraries will offer longer hours as well. It will take us some time to implement the longer hours, as we need to recruit, hire and train additional staff before we do, but we plan to begin the expanded schedule April 4.
  • We expect to invest $5.9 million in books and materials. This is an increase of $2 million when compared to 2015, and it should make a noticeable difference in the availability of high-demand materials.
  • We'll begin updating technology by installing more than 100 updated public access computers as quickly as possible, expanding bandwidth and wireless access points at our libraries and updating critical infrastructure.
  • We'll begin to catch up on delayed capital projects (parking lots, HVAC systems and other pent-up demands), and we’ll begin to plan for future building refurbishments, beginning with the Columbine Library in 2017.
  • We'll begin planning for expanded library services in South County; and
  • We'll begin to recharge our savings so that we can pay cash for future big-ticket items.

At the Commissioners' request, we have submitted additional detail on our 2016 amended budget, including business cases for all major initiatives and capital projects. There will be a final public budget hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the County Administration Building, at which time, we hope the budget will be approved.

In the meantime, I'd like to commend our Board of Trustees for their leadership and oversight. They are committed to meeting the needs of Jeffco residents while ensuring responsible spending.  They’ve confirmed that commitment in a letter they recently submitted to local media, and I’d like to share it with you:

Dear Jeffco Residents,

As Library Trustees, we were thrilled with the recent positive election outcome. It’s gratifying and humbling to see the value you place on libraries and the trust you place in us. Your support of 1A will enable us to:

•    Expand library hours;
•    Provide more books and materials;
•    Update technology;
•    Repair and refurbish buildings; and
•    Stabilize library finances.

We look forward to giving Jeffco residents the services they want and deserve. However, we won’t try to do it all at once. 

As Library Trustees we have a dual fiduciary responsibility: first, to provide a responsible level of library services, and second, to serve as effective stewards of taxpayer funds. We take these responsibilities very seriously.

When we resolved to go for a mill levy increase, we committed to restoring Library services, while monitoring the Library’s budget to assure responsible spending.

Rest assured, we intend to keep that promise. 

Respectfully Submitted,

The Jefferson County Library Board of Trustees
Brian DeLaet, Chair
Julia Hill Nichols, Vice-Chair
John Bodner, Secretary
Travis Blacketter
Benjamin Davis
Buddy Douglass
Charles Naumer

We are lucky to have such a balanced approach to library services. And we can’t wait to get started!


I have to admit, it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that we actually passed a mill levy initiative in Jefferson County! After so much hard work and so much suspense, it’s hard to shake off the past to envision a new future for JCPL.

But what a wonderful challenge to have!

As we plan for 2016 and beyond, we're working to restore Library services and make JCPL all that it can be.

What will that look like? Here are some things you can expect:

  • We'll do a briefing on our revised budget to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners this week, and we anticipate final approval in early December.

Once the budget is approved, you should begin to see the following service improvements in 2016:

  • we'll start investing in more books and materials as quickly as we can;
  • we'll begin replacing our oldest public access computers as quickly as we can;
  • we'll work on expanding service hours at all 10 libraries, with the goal of launching new hours on April 4; and
  • we'll continue to catch up on capital projects throughout the year.

Other initiatives may take longer. For example:

  • we'll begin a measured plan to repair and refurbish Library buildings, beginning in 2017; and
  • we'll begin to plan for enhanced library services in underserved areas.

Over the next few years, we'll focus on improving our service levels. As we've disclosed previously, our performance on key service measures has fallen. In our latest benchmarking study, we found that JCPL ranked at or below the 25th percentile on key performance measures when compared to library peers. As we plan for the future, we'll work to get those rankings up -- to the 50th percentile and higher as we go forward. We want to give Jefferson County residents access to resources and services befitting a 21st century library, and put JCPL back on a path to excellence.

We're very excited about our future, and I can’t tell you how much I look forward to walking down this path to excellence with all of you!


Yesterday, we learned that Jeffco voters approved a mill levy increase for the Library, our first in 29 years.

Tomorrow, we'll begin the work of restoring library services and giving Jeffco residents the services they want and deserve.

Today, I want to take a minute to acknowledge all of the wonderful people who helped us get here:

  • First, thanks to more than 5,000 library patrons and Jeffco residents, who weighed in to help us imagine a future for JCPL;
  • Our Citizen's Advisory Committee, who reviewed the Library's challenges and made thoughtful, unanimous recommendations to the Library Board;
  • The Library Board of Trustees, who reviewed our community input and voted to launch a mill levy initiative;
  • The Board of County Commissioners, who resolved to place the initiative on the ballot;
  • The Jefferson County Library Foundation and Friends, who supported us every step of the way;
  • YesforJeffcoLibraries campaign donors, who helped the Library's campaign committee launch a successful campaign;
  • Dozens of campaign volunteers, who worked tirelessly to raise money, walk neighborhoods, phone prospective voters, speak to community groups, deliver yard signs and campaign materials, cheerlead for us and offer endless encouragement and moral support;
  • Library employees, who maintained their unswerving commitment to patrons, despite multiple years of budget cuts, layoffs, reductions in service and more;
  • And finally, our library patrons, who support and uphold us and give us a reason to keep striving, even in our darkest hours.

We are enormously grateful for your passion, your interest, your civic-mindedness, your friendship and your support. The bonds of camaraderie that have brought us here will carry us forward into this new day, one in which we'll be able to fulfill our community's shared vision of library services - and become the library we know we can be.

I look forward to working with all of you as we walk hand-in-hand into this new day.


Note: This is part of a multi-part series on how JCPL adds value to the community.

Libraries were built on a foundational principal: that everyone deserves equal access to information and opportunity, without regard for differences in age, ethnicity, income level, education level, physical or mental capacity, political affiliation, or any other demographic.

At JCPL, our core values include serving our patrons with care and creating a welcoming environment for all. We recently launched a system-wide diversity campaign for all employees, to ensure that we understand and value diversity, continue to enhance our cultural competencies and provide relevant resources to our diverse populations.

We're doing this because Jefferson County is a culturally rich community, with representatives from every segment of the population. Here are some recent stats*:

  • A third of Jeffco Schools' students are characterized as minorities: 25 percent are Hispanic; three percent are Asian Pacific; and the remaining five percent represent a number of other ethnic backgrounds.
  • Ten percent of our population speaks a language other than English at home.
  • Nearly 20 percent of our residents are 60 years or older, and that population is expected to double in the next 20 years.
  • Nearly 10 percent of Jeffco residents are living with a disability -- and that increases to 31 percent for those aged 65 or older.
  • Nearly eight percent of residents in the civilian labor force are unemployed.
  • A third of Jeffco Schools' students qualify for free and reduced lunch. This indicates that they are living near or below federal poverty guidelines.
  • Nearly 900 residents are homeless, or living on the brink of homelessness. 

The numbers tell one story. Our experience tells another, far more interesting one.

If you walk into our libraries, you'll see that story come to life, with all of the color and gravitas that it entails. You'll see every demographic represented, and staff who are dedicated to serving them. In addition, you'll find programs and resources that offer exciting insights into the amazing and vibrant character of our community.

Here's an example: 

This photo is of one of the members of Grupo Tlaloc, a danza Azteca group, who performed at four of our libraries during Hispanic Heritage Month. Grupo Tlaloc is the first and oldest group of its kind in the Denver area, promoting 35 years of educating, performing, and understanding of the native culture of Mexico and the Native American way of life to our community.

They were awesome! And they are just one example of the panoply of resources we have available. You should come check them out.

At JCPL, we value and embrace diversity because it's the right thing to do. And in doing so, we make our own lives incredibly richer.

* Sources: Jeffco Schools website, American Community Survey 2013, Jefferson County Aging Well Project, Point in Time Survey 2013 


Note: This is part of a multi-part series on how JCPL adds value to the community.

It’s not every day someone says, “You changed my life!”  But that’s exactly what Charles Armstrong is saying about Jefferson County Public Library and the librarians at the Lakewood Library.

Charles moved to the Denver area about five years ago. When we met him, he was an out-of-work steelworker struggling to find employment. He came to the Lakewood Library seeking help with his job search.

The Library has dozens of resources available to job seekers, including online resources such as Job Now, programs offered in partnership with the American Job Center and others, and most important, personalized assistance from trained librarians. Library employees are skilled at helping Jeffco residents develop resumes, apply for jobs online, post their cover letters, resumes, training certificates and other materials on targeted job sites, and more.

One of the employees who helped Charles was patron experience associate Lindsay Masciotti. In an effort to get to know him better, she asked him to tell her about himself. In the course of the conversation, he mentioned that he hailed from Alabama and shared what he missed the most: “Grits! You just can’t find good grits in Colorado!”

Touched by his personal story, Lindsay suggested he insert some personal details into his cover letter. Charles followed her advice and shared his love of real grits, how steelworkers have grit, and how that grit makes him the perfect candidate for a steel working job. Over the next few days, Charles interacted with a number of other Lakewood Library employees who helped him navigate the job search process.

Shortly after posting his information on steelworker job sites, Charles began to capture employers’ attention.  The next day, he had an interview, and shortly thereafter, a job offer. He accepted! At this point, Charles has moved to Cincinnati to help build buildings and bridges.

Library employees help thousands of people every day, but we rarely get to see (or hear) the results of our efforts. In this case we did. Charles called to thank us for the help, and you can hear his message here.

This kind of direct personalized attention from trained professionals is one of the things that sets us apart from Google, Yahoo and other Internet resources. As they say in our business: "if you Google the word Librarian, you get 72,300,000 results in 0.78 seconds. When you speak to a Librarian, you get personalized attention from a trained professional who will help you find just the information you need!" 


I feel like a proud mama this morning!

Last Monday, I had the privilege of attending Jefferson County's Champion Awards celebration. To kick off Customer Service Week, Jefferson County celebrated Everyday Heroes by honoring 10 employees and/or teams who exemplify customer-service excellence.

A record number of Library teams and employees were nominated for awards this year, and we had three of the 10 winners! I hope you'll join with me to congratulate them. I've also included excerpts from their nominations.

Library 2 You
Transformational customer service defines and describes this team that was just formed in July 2014 and has gone above and beyond reinventing how they approach serving customers outside library walls. They do an outstanding job in bringing library services and resources to patrons through their bookmobile service, home services to patrons who do not have the ability to be mobile and are home bound. They also serve patrons of all ages at family stops, serve over 600 senior patrons in senior and assisted living centers in Jefferson County, and serve incarcerated patrons by taking the bookmobile to the Federal Corrections Center. The team has seen a 46 percent increase in circulation of their materials from last year, doubled the number of volunteers who assist Library 2 You, and eliminated isolation of seniors through an innovative Dial–A-Book Club initiative.
The Golden Library Remodel Team
Last summer, the Golden Library was closed for 12 weeks for an extensive remodel. The question arose – how do you provide Library services to the community when your building is closed? Through the dedication of many JCPL staff, led by Library Manager Carroll Mannino, services to patrons continued with:
•    Story times at the Golden Community Center
•    Adult Book Group meetings at a local Starbucks
•    Teen Advisory Board and DIY Explorers Club meetings at Golden High School
•    Young Readers Club meetings at the Astor House
•    Bookmobile visits (pick up and returns) in the parking lot of the Golden Library.
The preparation and coordination of moving these events to other locations was huge. Golden Library staff jumped in and helped when needed; those assigned to other Libraries during the closure accepted their new assignments and locations with enthusiasm. When it was time to re-open the Golden Library, staff was on hand with the HUGE task of restocking the Library with a new collection. Through their efforts, we were able to maintain key services during the closure, and we now have a beautiful, state-of-the-art Library for all to enjoy.

Librarian Sean Eads
There are many things Sean does – but specifically in the technology assistance and the individualized customer service arenas. Example: a patron asked if they could have the Sunday New York Times magazine when we get rid of two month old newspapers. Every month Sean makes sure to get it out of the recycle bin and saves it for the patron. Sean is also the go-to guy for difficult-to-solve technology questions from patrons who bring an incredible variety of electronic devices in with no idea of how to use them or what they can do. His patience with these patrons is outstanding.

I also want to acknowledge others who were nominated: The Columbine Library Operations Team and employees Janell Kerski and Polly Tagg.

Our employees have been through tough times. When Library revenues were reduced, they watched nearly 100 fellow employees lose their jobs. We now have one of the most leanly staffed libraries in the nation, and all of our employees have taken on extra work to cover for the employees we lost. And yet they remain cheerful, professional, and passionate about serving patrons well.

Congratulations to the 2015 Customer Service Champion award winners and all Library nominees!

I'm busting my buttons!


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