Nov. 27-28  - All libraries will be closed for Thanksgiving.

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JCPL's Future

Help Us Plan Our Future

by: 
Pam

Don’t forget! Our annual community meetings are coming up.

These meetings are designed to provide an update on library services, solicit input from library patrons and other Jefferson County residents and respond to community concerns.

Meetings are scheduled for the following dates and times.

 • Monday, March 3, 1-2 p.m. - Arvada Library
• Thursday, March 6, 4-5 p.m. - Standley Lake Library
• Tuesday, March 18, 2-3 p.m. - Golden Library
• Friday, March 21, 4-5 p.m. - Columbine Library
• Monday, March 24, 3-4 p.m. - Evergreen Library
• Friday, March 28, 4-5 p.m. - Belmar Library
• Tuesday, April 1, 3:30-4:30 p.m. - Ye Olde Firehouse, Depew St. & W. 32nd Ave., Wheat Ridge

Your feedback is important to us, so please join us. We hope to see you there!

Important Update on the Library's Budget

by: 
Pam

At its December meeting, the Library Board of Trustees adopted our 2014 budget. I'm pleased to report that we'll be able to maintain current service levels and make modest investments in staff and technology, while keeping expenses well in line with revenues in 2014.

This is a major accomplishment. Since the economy went south in 2008, we've had to use money from savings to help us balance our budget -- in each of the past three years. We'll enjoy a bit of a reprieve in 2014, primarily due to the fact that we paid off our debt for the Belmar Library in 2013. This will allow us to allocate $716,000 of previous debt expense to other service areas next year.

I wish I could say our financial challenges are behind us; however, our forecasts suggest otherwise.

As we consider these future challenges, the Library Board of Trustees has undertaken an initiative to evaluate options for achieving a sustainable business model, including investigating ways to increase library revenues. This is one of the most important initiatives we'll be undertaking in 2014, so stay tuned.

We'll be providing updates as we go along.

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.

Countdown to Midnight

by: 
Pam

It's Colorado Gives Day today.

In one 24-hour period, Colorado residents are asked to go online and donate something to their favorite charity. Last year they raised a total of $15 million for hundreds of non-profits across the state -- a heartening testament to the generosity and compassion of our friends and neighbors. This year, they hope to raise at least $17 million.

Jefferson County Library Foundation is one of the non-profits participating today. They're collecting donations to support early literacy programs at Jefferson County Public Library. Won't you consider making a donation today?

It doesn't cost much to make a big difference. At Colorado Gives Day, they'll accept online donations starting at $10.

Imagine if every library cardholder pledged $10! We'd raise more than $3.25 million in a single day!

Take a minute to show your support of early literacy and JCPL. Donate today

In Thanksgiving....

by: 
Pam

So, we've filled up on turkey and football, spent time with friends and family and had a few quiet moments to think about the things we're thankful for. Now it's back to work, and I'm reminded how lucky I am to be working for a library.

The list of things I'm thankful for would fill the stacks, so let me just name a few:

I'm grateful that I come to work every day with such wonderful people. Library employees are a special breed. They're here because they believe in the promise of libraries -- equal access to information and opportunity for all. They step up day after day and go the extra mile minute by minute to help our patrons find what they need. I am blessed to know and work with them.

I'm grateful for our Board of Trustees. They help us navigate the choppy waters of declining revenues and increased service demands, and they do it gracefully and well. They give unstintingly of their time and talents, and we are lucky to have them.

I'm grateful that the work I do has meaning. Every day, I hear stories of how we actually change people's lives. Patrons use us to give their children the best possible start in life, to help them succeed in school and learn critical job and life skills; they use us to stay abreast of evolving technologies, find employment, build businesses, and participate in public life; and in later life, they use us to stay connected to the world of people and ideas. On any given day, I can walk into the Library and see these transformations taking place, and I am unbelievably grateful for that.

I'm grateful to the Jefferson County Library Foundation and Friends. Their sole mission is to raise money to support Library programs and services, and each year they contribute more than $150,000 to JCPL. That money helps us to deliver early literacy programs and services, invest in technology, and stay afloat in these tough economic times.

I'm grateful for the more than 2,400 library volunteers who help us achieve our mission. They help us in the libraries; they help us with public relations and advocacy; they staff the Foundation's fund raising events and book sales (not a trivial task, by any means), and more. This year, they've contributed nearly 15,000 hours of service to JCPL, and we still have month to go!

Finally, I'm grateful for those of you who subscribe to my blog; who take such an interest in the Library; and who offer your time and support to JCPL.

Meister Eckhart once said, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." So, to all of you, happy thanksgiving, and a prayerful "thanks" for everything you do for JCPL.

Teaching Deaf Children How to Read

by: 
Pam

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

by: 
Pam

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

by: 
Pam

 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

by: 
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

by: 
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.

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