Earlier this year, the Colorado Legislature budgeted $2 million in funding for publicly funded libraries in the state.
The State Grants to Libraries Act originated in 2001 as a state bill, which was funded for two years. Librarians in Colorado successfully lobbied the Legislature to fund the grants again for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
“We are pleased to provide additional funds for new resources in schools and libraries across the state,” said State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner Eugene Hainer. “The $2 million appropriation in the state budget this year demonstrates a commitment to literacy and libraries by Colorado’s elected leaders.”
The Garfield County Libraries recently received more than $13,000 in funding from the state of Colorado as a result of this grant and will use this money to purchase materials that support or enhance opportunities for early literacy and early learning. All six libraries are stocking up on books for young readers, focusing on updating our holiday books, especially those holidays for which we have very few books. Diane Webster, Youth Services coordinator at the New Castle Branch Library, said, “Library users will be happy to see more holiday books available. From Christmas to Ramadan, Kwanzaa to Father’s Day, the library collection of special celebrations and holidays will be increased both in numbers and quality.”
One branch will also refresh its collection of books about the countries of the world. Marie Proctor, Youth Services coordinator at the Parachute Branch Library said, “The grant will be of great use for keeping up the children’s board books. Board books may be a baby or toddler’s first introduction to books. As such, maintaining the library’s board book collection for the public is an important part of early literacy. The grant will help ensure that our board books abide by the “best for babies” notion; these books will be clean and in the best condition.”
This money comes at a time when we are still seeing a slowing budget. It will directly increase the amount we will spend on early literacy materials this year. Without this funding from the state, we would not be able to purchase these much-needed materials for our young readers.
“The State Grant for Libraries is a tremendous boon for us at this time of reduced revenues. This grant allows us to purchase great new books for young children and reinforces our desire to make early literacy a top priority in all of our communities. We so appreciate the Colorado Legislature’s vision in restoring these funds to libraries across the state,” said Amelia Shelley, executive director of Garfield County Libraries. Look for these new materials, coming soon to your local library.