Who We Are
Throughout 2013, the Garfield County Libraries continued our 75 year tradition of high quality customer service, passionate promotion of books, technology and literacy, and sought broad community engagement through partnerships, initiatives and events. The Libraries serve a population of approximately 56,000 residents through six branch libraries in Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Glenwood Springs, and Carbondale, and online at www.gcpld.org. We are supported through a quarter cent of Garfield County sales tax and 1 mill of property tax. Since 2008, sales tax revenues have steadily declined and an additional sales tax refund spanning from 2011 into 2014 has severely impacted our reserves. Despite this, we have not cut hours or staffing, and have expanded library services during this challenging time.
Completion of Construction
A strategic plan was established in 2007, and set the vision for the manifestation of six new libraries in Garfield County. To serve the needs of the communities today as well as into the future, we designed and built the libraries in each community to fit the Colorado State Demographer Office's projected population numbers for 2030. All facilities were also designed to be managed with efficient use of staff resources and low operational costs through flexible use of space and durable, high quality fixtures and furnishings. A focus on providing a great return on the taxpayers’ investment was essential throughout this process.
In 2013, we marked the completion of the construction phase by opening the final two new facilities in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.
Click to watch videos from our Grand Openings:
The Garfield County Libraries serve as key community gathering places. Our public computers and wireless access offer a comfortable environment in which to work, study, stay up with current events, or keep in touch with friends. Our meeting rooms are a popular destination for civic groups, non-profits, and organizations of all kinds. All of our libraries offer study rooms that double as office space, tutoring classrooms, or just a quiet place to contemplate or meet friends.
Access to Library Materials
Borrowing consists of the lending of books, eBooks, periodicals, CDs, audios, videos and other library materials to the public, and still reflects the largest share of library service. The Libraries lent over 600,000 items again in 2013, with our popular holds service accounting for approximately 16% of that. In November, we transitioned to the next generation of library management software called Sierra, and our Circulation Coordinator team took the lead in learning the new system, training staff, and troubleshooting specific problems as they arose.
Access to Technology
While many Garfield County households have Internet access, many others still do not. Demand for public computers and internet access remains strong in most locations. Another growing part of access is “tech support” – as reflected in our strong coaching in the use of various devices and software programs for our patrons.
Virtual services continue to grow in breadth and use. Demand for downloadable books, audiobooks, magazines, music, and videos is rapidly increasing. Many users interact with us almost entirely online, placing holds remotely and checking items out through our self-check stations. We purchased the Zinio online magazine service, and increased our spending on eBooks (both those purchased through Marmot and our own Overdrive Advantage account) with a focus primarily on providing more copies of popular titles.
Events, Classes, and Programs
Library programming is designed to meet the needs of users all ages. For young children, the Libraries offered more than 600 storytimes, which saw over 10,000 attendees in 2013. The early literacy skills that children learn in storytime help them translate words to images, develop their brains and nurture the cognitive, emotional and social skills they need to develop the habits of life-long learners. School-age children and teens have many opportunities at the Libraries to participate and advance their skills in a safe environment. In 2013, they attended the 5th Element STEM programs, fun hands-on science experiments, Rifle’s Maker Camp, and Reading Buddies which pairs teens with young readers. Adult programs and classes include technology training, skills development, and computer literacy, and in 2013 also included discussion opportunities for books and films, the Big Read featuring The Grapes of Wrath, a Civil War series, and the America’s Music series. Additionally, our Summer Reading Program (which consists of activities for children, teens, and adults) set a new record in 2013 for number of participants.
Revenues, Expenses, and the Impact of a State Settlement
Revenues were deeply impacted by the continuing sales tax refunds from the State's Noble Gas Settlement, among others. The settlement withheld another $729,840 from the Libraries' operating budget, for a total of $1.7 million from 2011 through 2103. Sales tax collections in 2013 were $1.47 million, down $830,000 from 2012, making the loss of tax income that even more challenging.
Property tax was up slightly at $3.9 million in 2013, giving us a combined income of $6.2 million including fees, interest, and specific ownership tax. The Garfield County Public Library Foundation brought in an additional $160,000 in donations and grants, which was used primarily for capital construction of new facilities.
The $12 million in expenditures reflects $6.7 million in construction costs, $3.5 million in operational costs, and $1.8 million in debt service. The Libraries carried forward a reserve fund balance of almost $4.3 million.
The Garfield County Libraries are strong community partners. Our staff engages their communities by attending civic and community meetings, serving on local boards, and working with community and educational groups to better understand the unique issues each community faces. Essential partnerships include our local school districts, Colorado Mountain College (CMC), Raising A Reader, Clean Energy for the Region (CLEER), Aspen Community Foundation, and Literacy Outreach.
Building on the success of the New Castle Branch Library project, CMC's Integrated Energy Program agreed to again partner with the Libraries in 2013 to put energy-producing solar photovoltaic (PV) array atop the new Silt facility. Students not only helped design the system for Silt, but gained knowledge and experience to become certified in their field. These projects gave students real-world experience that took their knowledge beyond the confines of a typical classroom.
In September, the Libraries provided Kindergarteners and other new students throughout Garfield County the opportunity to get a library card as part of our annual library card campaign. We also offered Teacher Outreach cards which provide educators no-risk access to reading materials for their students. Gus the Bus was a new addition to our partnership with Garfield RE-2 and the Aspen Community Foundation in 2013, and brought a mobile preschool to the communities of Rifle, Silt and New Castle.
We continue to partner with Raising A Reader through offsite visits during the fall and winter, and Blue Bag Library days in the spring.
Reader’s Advisory and Research Services
The Garfield County Libraries place a strong emphasis on encouraging life-long reading habits. Staff members train and focus on making book recommendations for people of all ages. The library also hosts a number of book clubs for young readers to critically explore stories and discuss their meanings in their lives. Adult book clubs continue to be popular as well with a number of new clubs forming this past year.
Our youth and adult staff members provide informational and research assistance to thousands of patrons each year. Through in-person interviews, phone requests, email, and one-on-one consultations, our staff responds to requests for information in a timely fashion with well-researched answers. The Garfield County Libraries also participate in AskColorado, an online reference source serving our users 24/7.
Volunteers made a huge difference in what the Libraries accomplished in 2013 by allowing us to focus staff energies in specific areas. Opportunities to work with children, book sales, shelving, placing calls for holds, reading to seniors, delivering homebound materials, library moves, programs and assisting with clerical tasks make our volunteer services a vibrant program designed to provide job skills, personal growth and community involvement.
Additionally, Friends of the Libraries raise money through book sales to support materials, programs and services.
A Great Place to Work
Professional development remained a high priority in 2013, with staff attending numerous training opportunities including conferences, college classes, webinars, employee orientations and other training opportunities.
The Garfield County Public Library Foundation (GCPLF) would like to recognize 2013 donors who went above and beyond for our libraries. Connie and Jim Calaway sponsored the Community Room at the new Carbondale Branch Library and worked with artist James Surls to display his sculptures on long-term loan in the building. Alpine Bank continues to provide exceptional support to all of our libraries including sponsoring a pillar at the Carbondale Branch, purchasing meeting rooms at Glenwood Springs and New Castle, and donating a Lanny Grant painting to the Rifle Branch. Colorado Mountain College has been a tremendous support to the District through our joint project in Glenwood Springs, the Common Reader program, Mother Reads training, and through the installation of solar panels at the New Castle and Silt Branch Libraries with the help of the Integrated Energy Program students and faculty. GCPLF has also greatly benefitted from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District (GCFMLD) grants program. In 2013, GCFMLD funds assisted with fifth day programming in several communities, put solar panels on the Silt Branch and allowed us to create a maker studio at the Rifle Branch Library. We are so thankful for the support of these tremendous individuals and organizations!
Aspen Community Foundation
Colorado Stone Quarries
Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE)
Connie and Jim Calaway
El Pomar Foundation
Friends of the Glenwood Springs Library
Friends of the Gordon Cooper Library
Friends of the Rifle Branch Library
Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District
Library Services and Technology Act Grants
Mount Sopris Rotary Club
Renewable Energy Trust (Xcel)
Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation
United States Department of Agriculture
Anonymous gift of art (Rifle)
The Burgeon Group
Carbondale Rotary Foundation
Colorado State Library
Friends of the Parachute Branch Library
Friends of the New Castle Branch Library
Friends of the Silt Branch Library
Glenwood Springs Lion’s Club
Jane and Richard Hart
Gary Hershoren and Ilene Harris
Ernst and Wilma Martens Foundation
The Thrift Shop of Aspen
Katherine E. Williams Advised Fund
William and Jere Bolitho
John and Nancy Brooks
Chapter AO PEO
Colorado Special Districts
Pat and Alan Conway
Garfield County Housing Authority
Z. J. Kolber
Rick and Kim Nicholson
Rifle Community Foundation
Southside Conservation District
Dr. Gary B. Kitching
Frank A. Smotherman
Herbert and Genevieve Sullivan
Aspen Community Foundation
Castle Valley Children’s Clinic
City of Glenwood Springs
City of Rifle
Clean Energy for the Region (CLEER)
Colorado Mountain College Integrated Energy Program
Colorado Workforce Services
Garfield County School District No. RE-2
Garfield County School District #16
Grand River Hospital District
Hospice of the Valley
Raising A Reader
Roaring Fork School District RE-1
Town of Carbondale
Town of New Castle
Town of Parachute
Town of Silt
Summer Reading Sponsors
Aspen Community Foundation
Carbondale Recreation & Community Center
Dickey’s Barbeque Pit
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Grand Valley Recreation Center
Kum & Go
Lazy Bear Restaurant
Shur Tech Brands Duct Tape
White House Pizza