The Douglas County Library District hosted the first story time in CPN on September 8 at the Community Center. Spellbinder master story teller Priscilla Queen (far left), literacy coordinator for the Library District, presented stories to CPN children. The outcome of the Library District’s one mill bond initiative in November will determine if CPN gets a new library. (photo by Tim Gamble)
by Anthonette Klinkerman
There really is an organization that experiences growing pains during economically stressful times. Families routinely turn to local libraries when watching expenses.
“When the economy goes down, public library use goes up,” said John Moorman, director of the Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, as noted in The Wall Street Journal, September 2.
Movie rentals, book loans, Internet access, research materials, historical archives, and a quiet place to read are all included in the price of a library card - technically free as local taxes absorb the cost of the service.
Yet, most people prefer to drink down in one sitting the possible tax hike of procuring a local library, or upgrading existing libraries. For less than the cost of a one latte a month, less than the cost of a new hard back best seller a year, Douglas County libraries could see vast improvements if voters pass the mill levy in November.
Money from the mill levy could fund three new libraries in Douglas County - one in Castle Pines North, one in Parker, and one in Lone Tree. Library Director Jamie LaRue went to the public after the first expansion proposal was voted down by 210 votes in November 2007. What he heard was concern over the economy as the main reason it did not pass. Therefore, the new increase has been trimmed to 1 mill, as opposed to the former 1.25 mills. For Colorado taxpayers, that means $7.96 per year on each $100,000 of home value.
Libraries have not seen an increase in operations funding since 1996, and are now seeking help from Douglas County residents. According to LaRue, the two kinds of people generally opposed to the increase in taxes are those who already have a library nearby, and those who vote “no” to tax increases of any kind. What these people are not considering is that the increase amounts to less than $2 a month, or $23 a year. For comparison, one best-selling book at a bookstore often costs nearly $26.
“A library offers a central point to a community,” stated Warren Lynge, Chairman of the CPN efforts to obtain a local library. Currently, the Philip S. Miller library, and other county libraries offer places for young people to gather for gaming and writing workshops, as well as band competitions, mother-daughter book clubs, pajama story-times, meeting places, and other various community-friendly opportunities. A Castle Pines library, and expansions in the Parker and Lone Tree Libraries would mean offers of such unifying activities as well.
The group plans to increase awareness of the library initiative with meetings and story-telling mornings. It also included its presence at the Market in the Pines events, a booth in Castle Rock’s September Art Fest event, lawn signage, postcards, and door hangers.
Mayor Maureen Shul has been very supportive of the group’s efforts, and is actively participating in spreading the word. Their message is simple: “Say ‘yes’ to libraries.”
The group has plans to host a Walk-a-Thon in September from Lagae road to CC-20, the proposed spot for a Castle Pines neighborhood library. Also in the works are recognition plaques for local business that contribute to the efforts of procuring a library.
In the Philip S. Miller library children’s section, a glowing jack-o-lantern’s grin contained the following: “Please limit yourselves to 3 holiday books so that others may share.” This could be a sign of county-wide service cutbacks to come if the vote does not pass. A “no” vote would mean CPN and The Village would continue with the service of the Bookmobile for another four to five years.
For more information about volunteer opportunities or upcoming informational meetings, please contact Warren Lynge at Contact by email or 720-381-7550.