Library Funding FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where are Garfield County Libraries?

Garfield County Libraries serves all residents of Garfield County with six permanent locations in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle, and Parachute. Over 424,000 visitors use the libraries annually. Garfield County Libraries provides valuable educational support classes to help children, adults, and seniors.

 

How does Garfield County Libraries help the community?

Our local libraries provide valuable educational classes to help children, adults, and seniors succeed in school and life. Our libraries create healthy communities by supporting residents learning English, transitioning to new lines of work, and struggling with poverty. In a world where social media can isolate us from each other, our local libraries are one of the few important community centers left that connect us and benefit the entire community.

 

Does Garfield County Libraries have enough funding?

In the past few years, Garfield County Libraries has faced significant funding challenges. This has resulted in the layoff of qualified staff, reduced hours, cuts to the books and magazines budget, and fewer educational classes and events for children. Three years ago, our libraries were open Sundays, mornings, and evenings. Budget cuts have meant that every library is closed on Sunday, with reduced morning and evening hours.

Without new funding, our local libraries face additional cuts in hours and services.

 

How can Garfield County Libraries achieve more stable, locally-controlled funding?

In order to provide a stable source of locally-controlled funding, Garfield County Libraries is considering a potential 1.5 mill levy increase on the November 2019 ballot. Funds from the measure would raise up to $4 million annually, to:
● Retain the qualified staff that help keep our libraries open and running
● Maintain access to educational classes and events for children, including early literacy and homework help
● Provide senior classes and events to help fight isolation and prevent the effects of aging
● Keep library buildings safe and well-maintained
● Purchase more books, including large-print for seniors, Spanish-language materials, and kids and teen titles
● Restore hours to help provide safe spaces for children and teens after school, on weekends, and during summer
● Improve technology to provide access to computers and Internet for those who don’t have it at home


How can I be sure that the funds for a potential measure will be spent wisely?

The potential measure would have strict accountability provisions, including required annual independent financial audits, a citizens’ oversight committee, and public review of expenditures to ensure that funds are spent efficiently, effectively, and as promised.

 

Is a local potential measure the only option to fund the libraries?

Yes. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on other sources of funding to meet the needs of our libraries. Garfield County Libraries is a critical resource for our community.

 

How is Garfield County Libraries currently funded?

Our libraries are funded through one mill of property tax and a quarter-cent of the County's sales tax. These funds are used to purchase books, retain qualified staff, and general maintenance of the libraries. However, these limited revenues have not kept up with the needs of library users.

 

Can’t we rely on outside resources to help the libraries?

The library currently has volunteers that give their time to help the libraries, but this does not provide the qualified staffing level that is needed. Garfield County Libraries does apply for a Colorado State Grant program when it becomes available, but this money is not guaranteed and even with the grant, it does not cover the total cost of running and maintaining libraries.

 

Who could vote on a potential library funding measure?

Any registered voter in Garfield County can vote on the measure.

 

How can I learn more and give input on a potential measure?

As the Library Board of Trustees consider placing a funding measure on the ballot, we value your input on the process. Please contact Brett Lear, Executive Director of Garfield County Libraries at blear@gcpld.org for any questions or to provide feedback.