Douglas County Library Bookmobile
by Lorraine Masonheimer
In June and July, Douglas County Libraries held community meetings for county residents to discuss growing demand for library facilities and how to fund them.
The meetings focused on the explosive population growth, the booming demand for library service and the absence of a branch in Castle Pines North—an underserved community.
“Because of the growth of our county and its insatiable desire for new library materials and services, we’re having trouble keeping up. We need at least three new, or expanded, libraries to maintain current levels of service,” said Jamie LaRue, Director of Douglas County Libraries.
LaRue intends to ask the District’s Board of Trustees to request a $1.25 million Mill Levy increase for Douglas County voters this November. The increase equates to $3.50 per household per month.
The District is at a tipping point between maintaining a successful strategy or seeing a decline of services. “We cannot afford to build or staff new libraries without an increase,” LaRue stated. “Our last Mill Levy request to Douglas County voters was in 1996. In the ten years since, we have managed our money wisely, staying well within our means. Like any other business going through rapid growth, we require additional funds to expand our capacity. As a public entity, those investments must come from our patrons.”
If the Mill Levy increase is approved this fall, the district will lease a 6,500 square foot space for a Castle Pines North (CPN) neighborhood library. The new branch will be located on the northwest corner of Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard.
“The possibility of a library branch coming to the heart of our community would be such a positive benefit to every resident of CPN,” said Maureen Shul, president of the Master Association. “We will stay involved as this process proceeds and assist all we can to make this become a reality.”
The City of Parker and developers within the City of Lone Tree recently donated land to the district to build larger branches in each community. The City of Parker’s parcel of land is valued at $2 million. Cities have the authority to master plan their commercial areas and waive development fees.
Douglas County Libraries will continue to hold meetings with schools and civic groups to build consensus. Residents in CPN interested in hosting a neighborhood coffee or to serve as a library advocate to media and elected officials can contact Katie Klossner at Contact by email.