For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
June 12, 2002 - Colorado Libraries Respond to State Funding Cuts
Donna Jones Morris, President of the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL), announced that Colorado librarians met June 4 to begin planning changes in library services as a result of recent state budget cuts. CAL represents more than 1000 public, college and university, school, and other library members in Colorado.
Governor Bill Owens exercised his line item veto on several library-related expenditures in the state's new budget on Friday, May 31. In total, state expenditures for libraries were reduced by $4,679,194. The budget goes into effect July 1st of this year.
The eliminated programs are:
The Colorado Resource Center - $2,299,194. This program, in existence for almost 30 years, enables the Denver Public Library to provide walk-in service to all Colorado residents, free reference service around the state via telephone, fax and email, and, as Colorado's largest public library, free lending of its books to other libraries.
State grants - $2,000,000. This program, established two years ago, provided a minimum grant of $3,000 per library. It was restricted to the purchase of "intellectual content" - primarily books and databases. Since its inception, the program funded the purchase of an estimated 200,000 books, all available at no charge to any Colorado resident. The greatest beneficiaries of the program have been smaller, rural libraries.
Finally, all funding for the Payment for Lending program, which had been in place since the seventies, was eliminated. This program, at $170,000, partially reimbursed libraries for the books they loaned to other libraries in the state.
"These cuts are a setback to all Colorado libraries and the people they serve. Some two thirds of Colorado residents have and use a library card, and they will certainly feel the impact," said Morris.
In 2001, the CRC loaned 70,000 books to other Colorado libraries. CRC reference librarians also answered more than 160,000 reference questions from around the state.
The cuts will have an even greater proportionate effect on Colorado's many small, rural libraries, many of which have book budgets of just hundreds of dollars or less. The State grant program enabled these libraries to buy many more new books. Others (such as the Douglas Public Library District) used the funds to subscribe to electronic databases for K-12 students and home-based businesses, giving them equity to educational resources no matter where they lived.
The loss of funding to Colorado libraries means that library users will see fewer new books in their libraries, and will find it harder to get hold of older ones.
The library community in Colorado remains committed to its mission: the provision of high-quality service to the residents of Colorado.