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Director's Blog

by: 
Pam

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.

by: 
Pam

Ever wonder about the inner workings of the Library? Behind all the resources, programs and services is a $34 million business, dedicated to providing a responsible level of Library service to the residents of Jefferson County. 

You can learn more about the business of the Library in the following documents on our Planning & Budget page:

  • 2015 Annual Report
  • 2016 Budget Document
  • 2016 Strategic Priorities

You can also read the Library Board's 2016 Budget Request to the Board of County Commissioners. It outlines the Board's fiduciary responsibilities and its approach to developing an annual budget for the Library.

If that sparks your interest, you can sign up to receive regular business updates through our Director's Blog.

by: 
Pam

At Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL), we’ve known for some time that the residents of South Jefferson County are underserved. With the Nov. 2015 passing of a voter-approved mill levy increase, we can now begin to restore and enhance library services in South County; in fact, two of our 2016 strategic priorities are related to this. The first is to plan for the refurbishment of the Columbine Library; the second is to investigate the expansion of Library services in South County.

You're invited to help us plan for these initiatives at the following Community Input Meetings:

Wednesday, April 20, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Deer/Elk Meeting Room, The Ridge, Foothills Rec Center
6613 S Ward Street, Littleton

Thursday, April 28, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Columbine Library Meeting Room
7706 W Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO

Saturday, April 30, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Columbine Library Meeting Room
7706 W Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO

Come help us imagine a new level of library services, and please share this with others in your community who may be interested. Light refreshments will be served.

by: 
Pam

Monday, April 4, is a day worth celebrating!  It's the first day of JCPL's expanded schedule, which restores Library service hours to pre-recession levels.

Beginning Monday, JCPL’s larger libraries (Arvada, Belmar, Columbine, Evergreen, Golden, Lakewood and Standley Lake) will be open 65 hours a week (up from 51), and the smaller libraries (Conifer, Edgewater and Wheat Ridge) will be open from 40.5 to 48 hours per week.

In honor of this very special occasion, volunteers will be on hand to hand out cookies and balloons (compliments of the Library Foundation; while supplies last), and staff will be on hand to showcase other exciting enhancements, including more books and materials and updated technology. 

This is an important day for JCPL and Jefferson County, and we hope you'll stop by to celebrate with us! 

by: 
Pam

Beginning April 4, JCPL will expand service hours at all 10 libraries. JCPL’s larger libraries (Arvada, Belmar, Columbine, Evergreen, Golden, Lakewood and Standley Lake) will be open 65 hours a week (up from 51), and the smaller libraries (Conifer, Edgewater and Wheat Ridge) will be open from 40.5 to 48 hours per week.

Restoring hours is just the first of many service enhancements underway at JCPL. Here are some other things you can expect to see:

  • More books and materials. In 2016, we're nearly doubling our investment in books and materials. By April, you should begin to notice increases in the Lucky Day collection, best-selling books and DVDs, children’s print materials, audio books and e-books. We'll have better business resources, too! 
  • More Story Times. We're adding 30 early-literacy Story Times to our monthly program schedule. 
  • More bilingual staff. JCPL will now have at least one Spanish-speaking staff person available at the Library’s Call Center and the following libraries: Arvada, Belmar, Columbine, Edgewater, Lakewood and Wheat Ridge. 
  • Free meeting rooms. Beginning April 4, library meeting rooms may be reserved at no charge. Since residents and businesses are already paying for Library services through property taxes, we felt it was unfair to charge them twice. 
  • Updated technology.  JCPL has installed 92 new patron computers throughout the Library system, replacing patron computers that were old and outdated. Every library now has a number of state-of-the-art HP EliteDesk Mini Personal Computers available for patron use. 

These enhancements are being made possible by a voter-approved increase in the Library’s mill levy, completed in November 2015. If you haven't been to the Library for awhile, we hope you'll visit us and check out all the new resources available to you!

by: 
Pam

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!

 

by: 
Pam

... 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!

by: 
Pam

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 jeffco.us/jobs.

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!

by: 
Pam

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!

by: 
Pam

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!

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