Library News column: Join me for coffee at the library
Time flies when you are having fun leading a library district in beautiful Garfield County. One of the things that I’ve focused on during my first three months as Garfield County Libraries’ new executive director is meeting residents throughout the county. It’s important to me that our libraries continue to provide excellent service to our current customers. I’ve also been busy reaching out to residents, community leaders, leaders of nonprofits and business owners to hear from them and learn how our libraries can provide value and educational opportunities to as many people as possible.
This month I have launched a “Coffee with the Library Director” series. Each month I’ll host a community conversation in one of our libraries. I’ll use this opportunity to share news about new and ongoing library services, our strategic plan, our financial situation, and my thoughts and ideas about our library district’s future. But mostly I want to hear from you. I want to hear about what you love about our libraries, what concerns you, and hear your ideas as to how our libraries can best serve our communities. We’ll place our chairs in a circle and listen and learn from each other.
Our libraries have been through some tough times. We’ve lost over $4.1 million in property tax revenue over the past three years. Our libraries are open almost 2,000 fewer hours a year than they were in 2015. Yet our libraries remain an essential community resource. Residents visit our libraries over 424,000 times each year and read over a half-million books annually. Over 32,000 children and adults attend our educational classes and events. I inherited the helm of an organization that has done a tremendous job of doing wonderful things with limited resources. Going forward, I want to be sure that our libraries are doing the right things for you and our community.
The first “Coffee with the Library Director” will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at the Glenwood Springs Library. We will enjoy free coffee and pastries from River Blend Coffee House together. Please join me.
Brett Lear is executive director of the Garfield County Libraries.