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JCPL's Future

Teaching Deaf Children How to Read


Roughly one in 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with severe to profound hearing loss, and these children risk experiencing delays in language, speech development and reading skills. Teaching these children to read can be challenging.

At JCPL, we strive to make the gift of reading available to every child. We work with children to make reading fun, and we offer parents and caregivers tools and resources they can use to help their children learn to read. Following are examples of the kinds of programs we provide.

Coming Soon: Gateway to Reading. This workshop, offered in partnership with Gallaudet University, Austin Community College District, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, and Rocky Mountain Deaf School, will present effective book sharing techniques as outlined in The 15 Principles of Reading to Deaf Children. Topics include: why reading is important, how to use sign language to share stories, reading while not knowing all the signs, and keeping American Sign Language and English visible while reading. You don't need to know American Sign Language to benefit from this workshop. Registration is required – please email Deborah.Dauenheimer@jeffcolibrary.org no later than Friday, Nov. 29. Sign up today!

American Sign Language (ASL) Storytimes.  These special storytimes, presented orally with American Sign Language support, give hearing impaired children the opportunity to interact with others, acquire important pre-reading skills, develop their cognitive abilities, and communicate more fully with the world around them. Jefferson County Library Foundation is currently raising funds to support ASL Storytimes in 2014. 

Help us give the gift of reading to every child. Donate today!

Halloween Storytimes at JCPL


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Every year at the Lakewood Library, children attending baby, toddler and preschool storytimes come in costume. At the end of storytime, they trick or treat with Library staff.

It’s a happy parade! The children have a blast, while learning to love books and the Library. The parents stand by, doting and taking pictures. And we're graced with a refreshing break in the day and a potent reminder of why we're here.

So, why do we offer these storytimes?

We know that more than 90 percent of brain development occurs when children are between the ages of birth and five. We know that reading aloud to babies and toddlers promotes positive brain development and delivers important pre-reading skills. And we know that many children in Jefferson County - especially those from economically challenged areas - don't have books and are not read to at home. 

That's why we hold thousands of storytimes every year, to give our youngest residents the best possible start in life. We work with parents and caregivers, too, to give them tools they can use at home to help their children become good readers.

Now, we'd like to do more!

The trick for us is to extend storytimes in as many ways and places as we can - in libraries, in preschool and daycare center locations, in multiple, diverse communities, and with particular attention to children with special needs.

You can help us achieve these goals by donating to the Jefferson County Library Foundation's year end appeal, which launched this week. Monies raised go to support storytimes and other literacy programs at JCPL.

The treat in all of this is the satisfaction of helping to build the next generation of successful and productive citizens in Jefferson County.

Help us give the gift of reading to every child. Donate today.

Staffing Changes at JCPL: A Sneak Preview of Things to Come


 At JCPL, we’ve been busy envisioning a whole new library service model for Jefferson County, one that:

  • Begins with a deep understanding of the communities it serves;
  • Provides fresh and engaging library materials that reflect the evolving interests of our communities;
  • Increases the availability of high-demand materials, so that people coming in are able to find and check out things they want without having to wait;
  • Provides access to evolving technologies to support our patrons, communities and Library operations;
  • Provides expert staff who can help patrons navigate the increasingly complex world of information and technology;
  • Creates a rich, interactive online library experience, 24/7;
  • Offers  engaging and impactful programs that contribute to positive community outcomes;
  • Creates a warm, open and inviting environment where residents can come together for community interaction and exchange;
  • Strengthens outreach initiatives; and
  • Leverages the power of community partnerships.

While our vision is complete, the full implementation of this new service model will take some time.  As always, we’re required to balance our unlimited potential with our limited resources. However, while that can be challenging, I’m confident we’ll find our way.

In the past few months, we’ve introduced a whole new staffing model. We’ve redefined the roles of library employees so that our community gets the best possible response to their information needs, and our residents get the best possible value from their tax dollar.

We’ve moved many of our staff into new jobs, accountabilities, and/or locations and created robust training programs to help them meet the information demands of the 21st century.  Key changes include:

  • New roles designed to enhance the patron experience and improve operational effectiveness;
  • Enhanced opportunities for growth and professional development;
  • More cross training, so that more employees can respond immediately to patron needs;
  • Enhanced technology training, so that staff can assist patrons with the increasing variety and complexity of devices patrons use to access information;
  • Enhanced opportunities to tap into staff expertise, through web content creation, program development and customer service;
  • Greater expectations for community engagement and outreach; and
  • A sharpened focus on outcomes and results. 

While much of this has gone on quietly, behind the scenes, some patrons have noticed that a favorite staff member may have changed jobs or locations. Not to worry; I predict you’ll soon find new favorites as we go forward.

We are working to create an environment where we delight and surprise our patrons with new levels of service excellence. We’ll be implementing more pieces of our vision and sharing our accomplishments as they unfold. But for now, I want to applaud our staff for their creativity and courage in embracing this change.

As ever, they are working diligently to make your library experiences better and better!

Library Budget Update

Pam Nissler

It's that time again...

As dependable as taxes, Summer Reading Club and back-to-school nights, our budget season seems to roll around earlier and earlier every year.

As we think about our budget, we remain committed to our long-term vision: to maintain our current level of library services and continue to make progress on our strategic initiatives in 2014; and to restore hours and services, introduce a new library service model, and expand in underserved areas as quickly as we can.

In 2013, we faced some significant budget challenges. In late 2012, we learned that property taxes revenues were coming in below original projections. This created a gap between revenues and expenses and forced us to cut costs for the fourth consecutive year. While we were able to further reduce administrative and other costs, we couldn't close the gap completely without further reducing staff, hours or services, and no one had the appetite for that! Instead, for 2013, our board elected to use $600,000 from savings to support operations, to maintain a reasonable level of service and give us time to investigate options to secure the library’s future. Needless to say, this is not a sustainable model.

Now, we’re planning for 2014. In early August, we submitted our 2014 budget to the County. I'm pleased to report that we were able to balance revenues and expenses so that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we won't have to use savings to support operations next year. We'll also be able to maintain current service levels. We'll know for sure in late November, when final budgets are approved.  Later this year, we’ll be working with our Board to look at the cost of restoring services and achieving our long-term vision so that we can plan for 2015 and beyond.

You can find detailed information about the Library’s 2013 budget on our website. We’ll post details on the 2014 budget once it has been approved.

Support the Jefferson County Library Foundation

Pam Nissler

Here's an opportunity you won't want to miss! Library advocates are invited to join us for Rock, Race and Read, a special fund-raising event to be held Thursday, Aug. 22 at Bandimere Speedway.

Tickets are $65 (or $250 if you want to race in a Z28 Camaro on Thunder Mountain!)  You'll enjoy hors d'oeuvres, dinner, live entertainment, and silent and live auctions. More importantly, you'll get the chance to support literacy and education in Jefferson County.

Proceeds from the event help to fund children and teen literacy programs at the Library, such as Summer Reading Club and the Traveling Children's Library. Here's what your ticket really buys: 


 To reserve tickets, contact Natalie Martinez at 303-403-5075.

2013 Strategic Initiatives Update

Pam Nissler

August already! We're extending Summer Reading Club activities, gearing up for fall and heading into our 2014 budget cycle. It's time for a mid-year review of our 2013 Strategic Initiatives. Here's what we've been doing:

We're updating our collection of materials to better align library resources with patron demands, and patrons seem to be responding. Year-to-date our circulation is up nearly three percent!

We're working hard to enhance our digital resources. We launched a new website in April to create a digital branch, and more and more patrons are accessing library services via jeffcolibrary.org. In June, we began offering eReaders for check-out, to give Jeffco residents a chance to interact with new technologies. And since the beginning of the year, we've added more than 12,000 new eBook titles.

Another strategic priority is to provide information and resources to support early literacy. So far this year, we've provided nearly 1,750 early literacy storytimes to more than 48,000 participants. We also work hard to encourage children to keep up their reading skills over the summer. We're busy with Summer Reading Club, and we'll have final statistics by mid September -- but our librarians can attest to the popularity of this program!

We've also made great progress on the design and implementation of a new library service model for Jefferson County, with plans to update nearly every element of library service, including library materials and resources, programming, staffing, outreach, facilities and more. Our goal is to fully implement the new service model in one of our libraries some time next year.

It's been a busy time. But, stay tuned. There are more exciting things to come!

Catching Up

Pam Nissler

We've been so busy this year, it's hard to stop and report on our accomplishments. We recently posted a copy of our 2012 Annual Report on the website. It reminds us that 2012 was a productive year for Jefferson County Public Library. Despite significant budget cuts, we continued to make progress on a number of fronts. We strengthened and streamlined the Senior Management Team, kept up with growing demand for library services, implemented a number of innovative programs and practices and completed a number of capital improvements. We invite you to check out our progress!

Help Shape Our Future


As I’ve traveled the county as executive director of Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL), many people have asked me if they could sign up to receive regular updates about the library. And now you can!

I’ll be using this blog to post items of interest about the business of the library, with updates on our budget, strategy, victories and challenges. I’ll also use it to inform you of the Library’s new services and accomplishments and other issues that may affect JCPL, so that you can advocate on the Library’s behalf. Most importantly, I invite you to help shape our future with your comments and feedback.


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