Developing the Whole Collection

The use of library materials has never been greater. The number of books and other items checked out from the Pueblo City-County Library District is increasing at a rate of 17% in this year alone. Use has increased 65% in the last five years. Why are we so popular?
Certainly, the number of new items on our shelves is part of the story. We have focused in recent years on doing a better job of selecting new materials that people want to use, and this, undoubtedly, is showing up in the increasing volume of business we continue to experience. In each of the past several years, for example, we have budgeted a moderate but steady increase in expenditures on fresh materials. We also improved our procedures for selecting new items a few years ago, and this positive change has contributed to the growth in business. We are pleased with this progress. However, we can do even better.
One area where we can improve is in what librarians refer to as de-selection of library materials. Just as it is important to procure new items which meet the reading, listening, and viewing needs of our community, so, too, is it key to remove materials from the collection when they are no longer useful. A good library focuses attention on this aspect of building an excellent collection, and should have procedures in place to regularly and systematically cull items that are no longer desirable. Items that are out-of-date, worn out, or no longer used should be regularly and consistently considered for withdrawal from the collection.
Librarians commonly refer to this process as “weeding.” Just as a well-weeded garden will produce better flowers and vegetables, so, too, will a well-weeded library collection produce better results for customers, including increased usage.
S.R. Ranganathan, the notable twentieth-century librarian and mathematician, stated in his famous “Five Laws of Library Science” that “Books are for use” and “The library is a growing organism.” Ranganathan understood that libraries are not so much about storing materials as they are about promoting their use. He also taught us that libraries evolve and change to insure the materials within the collection are those that are advantageous to people. Part of Ranganathan’s viewpoint certainly included insuring the library’s collection is regularly pruned of deadwood in order to promote a healthier collection.
Will Manley, a well-known contemporary librarian, also appreciated this value when he wrote: “Next to emptying the outdoor bookdrop on cold and snowy days, weeding is the most undesirable job in the library. It is also one of the most important. Collections that go unweeded tend to be cluttered, unattractive, and unreliable informational resources.”
De-selecting materials from the library has many benefits. It saves space. It saves time for customers, as shelves crowded with old and unused materials are a clutter, not a positive. By carefully weeding, we make the collection more appealing. Use increases simply by making the shelves more customer friendly and attractive, even when there are actually fewer items. We also improve the library’s reputation for reliability, authority, and currency. People expect library materials are carefully selected and the information is up-to-date and reliable.
We have set objectives for ourselves at the Pueblo City-County Library District to improve our de-selection efforts. Unfortunately, this is an area we have neglected in recent years. But it is not too late. It is better to start now, than to never start at all. So, we are establishing these procedures now and will be implementing them in the coming months. This effort will make our library even better than it is today.


Facebook @ the Library

by Jon Walker
Are you on Facebook, yet? I am and so is the Pueblo City-County Library District. In fact, hundreds of people now regularly follow library events and activities on Facebook.
What is Facebook? The short answer is Facebook is a social networking website. But really it is so much more. Originally launched in 2004 as a way for college students to stay in touch with one another, there are now more than 500 million registered Facebook users worldwide.
With so many people flocking to Facebook, it is important for the library to be there, too.
A Facebook user creates a profile with photographs, interst, contact information and other tidbits of data. You can connect with other Facebook "friends" online either through public or private messages. Facebook even supports online chat. Importantly, Facebook is free and open to the public.
Why would you want to be on Facebook? Reasons can vary, of course. Some common causes include professional networking, reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances, socializing with friends, connecting with organizations, and learning new information.
What is the library doing on Facebook? Quite a lot, really. Not only do we offer information on the latest library news, but also such things as access to the library catalog and connection to book news and online book clubs.
I encourage you to get on Facebook and check us out at www.facebook.com/pueblolibrary.


All Pueblo Reads

by Jon Walker
It is October, so it is time for All Pueblo Reads. For the sixth straight year, the Pueblo City-County Library District is pleased to present this annual series of events to our community which focuses on the themes of a great book. We are honored to offer The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie as this year’s selection. It is our hope and belief that this book will resonate with the residents of Pueblo County.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie won the 2007
National Book Award for young people’s literature. One reviewer described this book
this way: “In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, is based on the author’s own experiences and chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away
from the life he seems destined to live.”
This is the first year the library will receive a $10,000 grant from the Friends of the Library in support of the project. This gift has made it possible to have Sherman Alexie in Pueblo for two public programs, with our featured program being Alexie’s appearance at the Rawlings Library on October 24. You will not want to miss the opportunity to meet this renowned author in person, hear him speak and have him sign your books.
Please join me in reading this great book and participating in many of the more than 80 events made possible by All Pueblo Reads.

The American Library Association

by Jon Walker
We believe in offering robust training and development opportunities for library
employees. In fact, Colorado Public Library Standards state that library-staff training and development is essential. At our library, we are fortunate to regularly meet the following state standards in staff training and development: regular assessment of training needs, and compensating library staff by allowing them to use work time to attend development activities.
As part of my own professional development, I had the good fortune to attend the American Library Association's Annual Conference. To sum up my experience, it was powerful. More than 25,000 library professionals gathered for six days of workshops, exhibits, and programs. I attended for the better part of three days. It was a busy three days! This conference is literally for the “professional librarian.” Normally, I would not share much in this newsletter about this “behind-the-scenes” world of libraries, but I am making an exception now in the spirit of giving a glimpse into what librarians talk about. Some of the highlights of the conference:
• The Online Computer Library Center presented a program on their current
initiatives. This membership-based, nonprofit research organization is working to
develop a web-scale library-management system. This effort is mostly driven by
librarians who are frustrated by pricey and lower-functioning software solutions
on the market today. Could OCLC’s work portend a significant development in library
productivity software? Time will tell.
• I attended a program on how to measure library outcomes using tools that determine the library's impact on the community. The goal was to gather useful data and customer perspectives to improve accountability and services.
• Perhaps the least “library-geeky” presentation was the conference's opening
program featuring Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, editor, and
professor, Toni Morrison. Her motivational presentation focused on how libraries
changed her life. I left this presentation with a renewed appreciation for the invaluable roles libraries play in our country.
• One of the biggest investments the library now makes is in its online subscription and reference databases. So, I spent time with vendors who help us provide these services, including presentations on how to improve eBook and eAudiobook services.
• One area where libraries have recently invested is in the use of RFID tags and
equipment to track library materials. Our library contains more than 550,000
items and we check out about 1.5 million items annually. Using the best technology
to efficiently organize and track these transactions is important. I met with
RFID vendors and attended a program on RFID entitled “Smarter Libraries." I have a
renewed belief that PCCLD should pursue RFID tagging of library materials in the not-so-distant future.
• A comprehensive genealogy workshop featured well-known genealogists Thomas Jay Kemp and Dick Eastman. They presented on how today's online and digitized resources have impacted the field.
• I also focused some attention on learning about tools to prevent DVD theft, which has occurred at the Rawlings Library. One tool from 3M will only unlock cases upon checkout, so you can't unlock the case if you do not properly check it out. Another tool was a more secure case that only employees are able to unlock that could be used on items of “high interest."
In conclusion, ongoing development is important to having a successful career
in any profession. I am pleased and proud the Pueblo City-County Library District
expects and supports ongoing professional development for all of our employees, and
I hope the example I provided of my own recent experience helps you understand
the reason we continue to encourage and support our staff to learn, train, and grow.
Ultimately, better-trained library employees translate into improved services for library customers.

Planning for 2011 is a Challenge

by Jon Walker
This year is turning out to be different at the library. What I mean by this has nothing to do with how much our libraries are being used. Libraries are busier than ever. Our libraries are bustling places. Indeed, use of our libraries this year is greater than it ever has been. In every major measurable category we are at all-time record levels. Checkouts of books and other library materials is up 22 percent. The number of people visiting our libraries is up 20 percent. Attendance at library-sponsored programs and events is +41%. The number of people logging on library public-access computers is up 34 percent. We are seeing double-digit increases across the board. In fact, it is turning out to be the busiest year ever at the Pueblo City-County Library. This isn’t any different, either. In each of
the past five years, we continuously have set new records for use of libraries. It
speaks well for our goal of insuring ours is a community of readers.
If so much is the same, what is different?
What is different is how we are planning for next year. Normally, at this time of year, we would be preparing to gather groups of library employees and members of the
Board of Trustees to develop goals and objectives to formulate a balanced budget
for 2011. Until recently, we were planning for flat or somewhat reduced revenues in
2011. This, by itself, is not unexpected. After all, most people are cutting back due to the poor economy. We had some confidence this could be accomplished by “tightening our belts,” just like almost everyone else right now.
But this year is turning out to be different. This year we also are making contingency plans to reduce or eliminate most library services. How can this be? The library is being used more than ever in its entire history, yet we are making plans to possibly curtail and do away with services. Clearly, something is wrong. What has changed is this. There will be three referenda for voters statewide on November 2. If passed by the voters, each of the three will impact our library revenues dramatically and negatively. It has been determined Douglas Bruce from El Paso County is behind the three measures (http://www.denverpost.com/ci_15281356?source=rss_viewed). The Bruce proposals are commonly known as Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101. If passed by the voters, the Bruce ballot issues will amend the state constitution and set law to severely cut taxes and slash revenues for nearly all public entities in Colorado, including our libraries in Pueblo County. If the Bruce referenda pass, taxes for libraries will be chopped by as much as nearly one-third in 2011 with deeper cuts in the years to come. This will result in striking reductions to library services. For example, if these
referenda pass, we can balance the library budget in 2011 by doing all these things:
• Permanently close the Barkman Library
• Permanently close the Lamb Library
• Permanently close the Pueblo West Library
• Permanently close the Library @ the Y
• Permanently close all Library Satellites and Outreach Services
• Permanently close the InfoZone Museum
• Reduce hours and services at the Rawlings Library
I want to be clear. No decision has been made on how we will balance the budget
in 2011 if the referenda pass. The example above is only illustrative to demonstrate the gravity of the situation. Passing the Bruce referenda will cut taxes. For example, the average automobile owner currently pays $4.06 annually in Pueblo County to support libraries. If Bruce’s Proposition 101 passes, this will be reduced to an average of six cents per year (http://www.thebell.org/sites/default/files/Pueblo1page.pdf). Another example, if Bruce’s Amendment 60 passes the average homeowner’s property tax paid for libraries will be rolled back to what the dollar amount meant more than fifteen years ago.
In conclusion, I should point out that I am neither advocating for nor recommending
against Bruce’s Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101. However, as the Executive Director of the library it is my job to work to provide facts about the state of the library and to guarantee the best possible library services
with the revenues provided. It is a fact that voter approval of Bruce’s proposed
Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101 on November 2 will both reduce taxes and cripple library funding.
For more on both sides of the referenda, see http://www.donthurtcolorado.com and
Please remember to vote on Nov. 2.


The Value of the Library With Walls

I recently received an email from a colleague questioning the future of public library buildings. The thrust of the argument is that as information goes digital will libraries only exist in cyberspace?
Librarians have been discussing the “digital age” for many years (beginning at least as early as 1945 with Vannevar Bush’s article “As We May Think,” The Atlantic Monthly, July 1945). Librarians frequently refer to this possibility as the emergence of the “Virtual Library” or the “Library Without Walls.” Indeed, some have asserted that the vir-tual library will replace the physical library. In this column, I would like to make a case for the value of the “Library With Walls.”
First, I should make clear that I am a strong advocate for library automation. A quick review of my resume reveals my deep and abiding respect for, appreciation of, and advocacy for all library things digital. After all, my professional background includes a lengthy tenure successfully managing a large public library system’s information technology assets and initiatives.
Despite my techno-geek credentials, when I am asked about the “Library Without Walls,” my answer is, “Of course, libraries will continue to evolve and change (as they always have since those earliest days some 4,000 years ago when they were full of clay tablets and papyrus scrolls), but I don’t see this as a case of ‘virtual libraries’ instead of physical libraries. Rather it should be considered as the advent of ‘virtual libraries’ in addition to library buildings.”

The idea of one thing not replacing something else but instead simply adding another option is not new. After all, when TV came along, it was not instead of radio and movies. TV is in addition to radio and movies. And, in another way, when Amazon arrived on the scene, it did not replace Target, Walmart and Borders. Amazon became in addition to Target, Walmart and Borders.

This is not to say that digital information does not impact libraries. Clearly it does. Just like Amazon changed Walmart and TV changed radio, so, too, digital information is changing libraries. We can point to the impact on libraries of the relatively recent shifts brought about by a number of examples, such as the huge impact of the burgeoning use of public-access Internet services resulting in a veritable sea of personal computers in most public libraries, or how replacing reference books and periodical back files with their online equivalents have impacted shelf space utilization in libraries. But to say library as place is no longer important is a sad mistake.

Just look at the numbers. Foot traffic to our libraries is only going up and up. In the last decade, we recorded nearly a sixty percent increase in foot traffic to our libraries in Pueblo County, while the total population of the county increased by only eleven percent. And so far in 2010, visits to libraries are up more than twenty percent when compared with last year’s all-time record. Plus attendance at library sponsored cultural and educational programs and events have increased more than 225%+ in the last few years. Clearly, the library as place is only growing in popularity among the members of our community.

In the end, we must acknowledge that the library is more than just a building where we find information. It also is a community gathering place, a public technology center, a forum to share and debate ideas, and a refuge of opportunity. Robust and vital public libraries share a handful of principles, among them, importantly, is providing welcoming, well equipped and maintained physical facilities which offer inviting space to encourage reading, study, learning, and where people gather to exchange ideas.
This is why new library buildings challenge the stereotype of the library as a stuffy, slightly musty place. Innovative architecture, cutting-edge design, and new customer-service features are bringing more light, personality, and usability to our libraries. And more people.
Libraries are really about people. People are social beings who crave information and the interchange of points of view. The library helps meet this human need by linking people to the human record in all of its formats. The formats of materials in libraries change, but the need for a place to connect—people with information, people with stories, people with ideas, people with people—do not change.
The library is that centralized location where new and emerging in¬formation formats and technologies can be combined with traditional knowledge resources in a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today’s social and educational patterns of learning and re¬search. Whereas the Internet has tended to isolate people, the library, as a physical place, has done just the opposite. The library as place serves as the centerpiece for establishing intellectual com¬munity and scholarly enterprise.
Long live the public library as a place in our communities.


Summer Reading for Young People @ the Library

by Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District

It’s summertime, again. School is out. The grass is green and the trees are leaved. For many, this is a time for vacationing and relaxation. But at your library, it’s a busy time of the year.

Each and every summer, the library district presents programming, events and activities to promote and encourage summer reading among our youth. Our goal is simple. We aim to keep kids reading all summer long.

We don’t focus on assigned reading or reading as work. Instead, we emphasize reading for fun. In fact, I often say things like: “Read the comics.” “Read Manga.” “Read graphic novels.” “Read fun magazines.” “Read whatever is entertaining.” “Just read.”

Why is it important for young people to read for fun during the summer? The short answer is by exercising reading skills during the summer, it helps keep them sharp for the next academic year in school. The more you read, the better you read. The better you read, the more apt you are to succeed, both in school and later in life.
There is plenty of evidence to back this up. According to the Library Research Service, “within the library and education communities, ongoing and past research studies also address the impact of summer reading as a means to enhance the development and retention of children’s reading skills” (http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/263_summer_reading.pdf). Studies, dating back more than 30 years, consistently show that “more than any other institution, including the schools, the public library contributed to the intellectual growth of children during the summer” (Barbara Heynes, Summer learning and the effects of schooling, 1978, New York: Academic Press).
We are pleased at the Pueblo City-County Library District that our summer reading programs have been so successful. Summer reading at your library has grown in popularity each year since 2003. It is noteworthy that participation has increased from around 1,000 young people in 2004 to approximately 13,500 in 2009. This impressive growth in summer reading by our children and young adults can only mean good things for our community.

Participation in the summer reading program is both fun and free. In fact, kids and teens can earn great prizes simply for reading. For more information about joining our young people’s summer reading program, visit your nearest public library, call 562-5603 or go online to www.pueblolibrary.org.


Gaming @ Your Library

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
The Pueblo City-County Library District recently made video games available for check out. The addition of this new format of material to the library collection was included as an objective in the Library District’s 2010 annual plan (http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_docs/2010AnnBudgetPlan.pdf).
I am pleased that Sarah Wethern, teen services librarian, has worked quickly to
make this new service possible for our community. Games are now ready to check out for various players, including Wii,PS3 and Xbox 360. At this point, the games
are only in the collection at the Rawlings Library. A simple way to see a listing of
games you can check out is by searching in the library catalog by the subject “Video
Games.” For more information on this exciting new service, visit the Rawlings
Library or call 553-0207.
Why gaming? The library district’s adopted vision statement reads “Books
and Beyond.” Embodied in this brief statement is the concept that books are
important to libraries, but that our mission spans further. We believe it is important for the library to encourage literacy in a variety of information formats such as the Internet and personal computing, film and video, music and audio and, yes, video games.
The American Library Association provides guidance for our gaming efforts in a publication entitled An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ Your Library (http://
www.librarygamingtoolkit.org). It also is important to note the Pueblo City-County
Library District is not alone in venturing into gaming. In 2006, a professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies showed in a survey that “at least seven out of 10 public libraries support gaming.” (Scott Nicholson, The Role of Gaming in Libraries: Taking the Pulse, http://boardgameswithscott.com/pulse2007.pdf).
Gaming is important in other ways. Several studies have pointed to their
value in the modern world. These include papers prepared by the Pew Research
Center, the Kaiser Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Importantly, a
study commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation found that “adults should
facilitate young people’s engagement with digital media” such as gaming because
youth are learning “social and technical skills they need to fully participate in
contemporary society” (http://www.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7BB0386CE3-8B29-
Where will we go from here and what’s next for your library? I am not certain of all
the answers to this question. But I do know this: It is vital for libraries to continue to evolve as the world of information formats change. By so doing, we will remain relevant and connected to our community.

We're Going Through the Roof!

By Jon Walker
Executive Director
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in April 2010)
2010 is beginning to look
like a once-in-a-lifetime
year at the Pueblo City-
County Library District. Use
of libraries is skyrocketing.
Pueblo County has a long and storied
tradition of supporting its public libraries.
This shows in so many ways. But never has
it been more apparent than now. In the last
two months, the number of checkouts of
library materials has shot up 38.5 percent
when compared with the same period the
year before. And, remember, last year was
a record-breaking year for library use.
What is true for checkouts, also is true
for other key library statistics. For example,
library visits are up nearly 24 percent so far
in 2010. Participation in library programs
and events is off the charts, too, with a 73
percent increase so far. Clearly, customers
like what they are finding at our libraries.
We are so happy to serve our community.
We also want to understand why use is
up so much. One reason for the growth,
undoubtedly, is the dour state of the
economy. When jobs are hard to come
by and wages go down, use of free library
services traditionally go up. Additionally,
librarians have been working strategically
to improve our collections of materials.
This involves two important steps. First,
weeding out library materials that people
no longer want; and, second, selecting
new materials people want to use. We
also will be spending a larger percentage
of our 2010 budget on new books and
materials than ever before. Another reason
for increased use involves our creative and
fun cultural and educational programs that
are widely popular and in demand. Library
staff has been conscientiously pursuing just
such events.
Other causes for the growth in library
popularity include the 2009 openings of
our new, larger Pueblo West Library and
the Library @ the Y.
Although the library district is busier
than ever, there are storm clouds on the
horizon. This has to do with funding. The
library district receives most if its income
from property and specific ownership
taxes. Indeed, 95 percent of library funding
in 2010 will come from these two sources.
As we all know, the economic reality now
is that tax revenues are falling. Locally,
this already is impacting schools, city and
county governments, and others. We also
are witnessing libraries in other parts of
Colorado taking hits—Aurora permanently
closed four of seven public libraries, and the
Denver Public Library reduced operating
hours at 14 of their libraries to reduce costs.
We are watching our funding sources
closely at PCCLD. The specific ownership
tax (which is a tax on automobiles) has
fallen by nearly 7 percent from 2008 to
2009. Property tax receipts are also likely
to decline as property values fall.
As with many things in life, there is both
good news and bad news for the library
district. Our libraries are brighter, busier,
and more robust than ever before, but
future funding concerns are sobering. As
always, we will continue to keep our public
posted on both these trends and others as
they relate to libraries.

The Virtual Library

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in March 2010)
When you ask most people to describe a library,
they probably first mention
books. But libraries have
not always been about
books. Indeed, they are
not currently all about books, and they are
not likely going to be all about books in the
The earliest known libraries did not
include any books. Libraries actually
predated books. The first libraries, some
4,000 years ago, consisted of rooms full of
clay tablets in cuneiform script and papyrus
scrolls with hieroglyphics.
Of course, books do play a key role in
today’s libraries. But modern libraries
are more than books. Libraries make
information available in a variety of
formats. Libraries also are community
and cultural centers with busy public
meeting rooms and educational programs
that are free and open to everyone. If we
think of libraries as more than books, it
is interesting to consider what the future
library may look like. This is especially so in
this era of rapid technological change that
is significantly impacting the manner in
which information is stored and retrieved.
Look at how our library provides access
to information today. Not only do we
furnish books, CDs, DVDs, microform,
public-access Internet computers,
and reference resources via online
subscription databases, we also are
checking out language-learning on USB
drives, downloadable audiobooks from
our website, and preloaded audiobooks
on MP3 players. These newer information
formats are definitely impacting how the
library is used. Fifteen years ago, few
libraries afforded public-access to the
Internet. Now, the Internet is a standard
part of library service. An astounding
301,428 Internet user sessions were logged
by the Pueblo City-County Library District
in 2009.
Reference books are another case in
point. In the last ten years, the number
of reference books in libraries has shrunk
dramatically. As recently as 2005, PCCLD
budgeted $99,900 for reference books.
In 2010, most reference materials will
be purchased as online subscription
databases, and we will spend $130,000 on
such resources, but very little on reference
The changing face of the library also is
apparent on the World Wide Web. There
is much discussion and excitement about
the implementation of Web 2.0 in libraries
as a means of reaching out to customers.
Librarians commonly refer to this as Library
2.0. PCCLD is planning in 2010 to build a
great website with Library 2.0 capabilities.
Our Library 2.0 services have already
begun. When you visit www.pueblolibrary.
org, you find an interactive online catalog,
access to personalized library accounts on
the Web, customer-placed holds, online
reviews of books and library materials,
subscription databases, and virtual
reference. Use of these services is rapidly
increasing. For example, subscription
database use increased from 99,025 uses
in 2005 to 432,529 in 2009. Online holds
filled increased more than 300% during the
same period.
People expect sophisticated interactive
online services. Providing these effectively
increases the library’s hours of operation
by allowing access 24/7 from the comfort
of a customer’s home, office or school.
Additional virtual services we hope to
implement in the coming year include
online customer registration, fee payment
and donations via the Internet, improved
online catalog searching, up-to-date
information about library services and
events, user generated content and online
collaboration, and online meeting room
booking. Other opportunities for Library
2.0 include wikis, blogs, RSS, podcasts and
social networking sites to deliver library
services. Already it is estimated that 47
percent of American public libraries are
providing RSS feeds, 39 percent blogs,
and as many as 23 percent have a social
networking presence.
So you see, libraries continue to change
with the times. This has been true from
antiquity through today. As the 21st century
library continues to evolve, it will be very
interesting to see how new information
formats and services are incorporated into

A Look Back at 2009

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in February 2010)
2009 was a phenomenal
year for the library. In fact,
it was the Pueblo City-
County Library District’s
best year, yet. How do I
know? There are a few different ways.
One way to know 2009 was great is the
numbers. In 2009, we checked out 1,441,387
books and other library materials to
members of the community. This is a new
all-time record for checkouts, representing
a healthy 12.7 percent increase compared
with the year before and a whopping 40
percent increase in the last five years. The
total number of library visitors in 2009 was
955,406. Again, this is a record number.
More than 75,000 people attended library
events and programs in 2009. Yet another
record. The numbers clearly show people
are engaged with the library and 2009 was
Last year was important for other
reasons. The beautiful new Pueblo West
Library opened in April and the community
responded warmly to this new library with
more people using this LEED-certified
“green” facility. We are pleased the Pueblo
West Library also is home to the newest
library service—the R.M. Watts Business
and Vocation Center operating under the
guidance of librarian Cindy Shimizu.
The new Library @ the Y opened in
November 2009. We hope this library,
located in the YMCA’s new community
recreational center, will become a popular
spot for people on the northwest side of
Another new service for 2009 is
downloadable e-audiobooks. Now, you can
download audiobooks to your computer,
MP3 player or IPod using this new service
made possible with a generous grant
from the Friends of the Library. More
information on e-audiobooks is available
online at http://www.pueblolibrary.org/
Finally, we debuted a mini-bookmobile
service in 2009 called Books a la Cart.
This books-on-wheels program brings the
library to many underserved areas of our
Of course, these new services are in
addition to many continuing programs. We
again hosted Booklovers Blacktie Ball, this
year featuring author Sandra Cisneros who
spoke to Puebloans on the 25th anniversary
of the publication of her classic book The
House on Mango Street. The Booklovers
Blacktie Ball is the highlight of a month’s
long series of events we call All Pueblo
Reads. 2009 was a record year for All Pueblo
Reads with nearly 18,000 participants.
Speaking of programs, PCCLD’s awardwinning
Summer Reading Club continues
to attract a large audience of young people.
In 2009, there were 13,472 participants
in the program. It’s our goal to keep kids
reading all summer long.
This only touches on some of the new
and continuing services and programs
available in 2009 from the library. The list
is long, and includes the InfoZone News
Museum, Western History and special
collections, Doris D. Kester/Southern
Colorado Community Foundation Nonprofit
Resource Center, Nuestra Biblioteca: The
Hispanic Resource Center and more.
We are pleased to bring these programs
and services to you at the Rawlings Library,
Barkman Library, Lamb Library, Pueblo
West Library and Library @ the Y, along
with satellite public libraries at Avondale
Elementary School, Beulah School, Cesar
Chavez Academy, Craver Middle School,
North Mesa Elementary School, Risley
Middle School, Rye Elementary School,
South Mesa Elementary School and
Vineland Elementary School.
2009 was an exceptional year for your
library. Our best year, yet.

2010: A Brand New Year

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in January 2010)
2009 has been a busy
year for the Pueblo City-
County Library District.
Record numbers of people
are visiting libraries. More
library materials are being checked out
than ever. Attendance at library programs
and events is at the highest level in the
history of the Library District.
The increase in use could be a sign of
the dire straits of the economy. Studies
show that when the economy is bad,
use of libraries increases. However, this
may be something more than just the
economy. The upswing in public-library
use has been going on for awhile. Indeed,
the Pueblo City-County Library District has
seen growing usage every year since 2005.
I predict that 2010 will be another
good year for the library. We have set for
ourselves several objectives for the new
year to help ensure that this is so. I would
like to describe two of these objectives in
this article.
First, we want to be smarter about how
library collections are built. This includes
working with more effective tools--such
as specialized software applications and
computer-generated reports--to help our
librarians better understand what books
and other library materials are no longer
useful in our collections. This will allow us
to systematically remove those materials
to make room for materials that people
want to use.
We also want to increase the amount of
money we spend to procure the best new
books and other library materials, and we
want to spend these dollars more wisely
by better analyzing and understanding
how the collection of materials is being
To this end, a group of librarians has
been assigned the task of working with
special software and reports to improve
our examination of collections, use of
materials, and to improve our collection
development processes. I would like to
identify these librarians and commend
them for taking on this task. They are
Isobel Drysdale who works to improve
our collections of books for youth; Abby
Koehler who oversees collections in nonbook
formats, such as audio and video; and
Rich Poll who supervises development of
collections for adults.
The second 2010 objective I want to
discuss in this article is upgrading the
library’s online presence. In today’s
world, people expect to be able to
conduct business online on the Internet.
This is true for the library just as it is other
We already provide the library catalog
on the World Wide Web. You can reserve
books online, renew checkouts online,
read archived periodical articles online,
among other services. Moving forward, we
want to build on these kinds of capabilities
to create a whole host of online library
services so that customers can access the
library 24 hours a day, seven days a week
from the comfort of their home, office or
school. We plan to hire a web manager in
2010 who will oversee the overhaul to the
library’s web presence.
With these and other initiatives in the
works for 2010, I truly believe the new year
promises to be very positive for the Pueblo
City-County Library District.

Library @ the Y

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in December 2009)
November marked the grand opening of another PCCLD library location. The new library is located on the recently constructed YMCA campus on the northwest side of the
City of Pueblo at 3200 Spaulding Avenue. The new Library @ the Y is not very large at
a little more than 1,000 square feet in size. Despite its small proportions, the Library @ the Y is an important initiative for PCCLD. First and foremost, it represents a significant expansion of public library service into the
growing north side of Pueblo. In addition, it serves as a true partnership with the YMCA of Pueblo.
The vision for the Library @ the Y has been longstanding. In the year 2000,
Chuck Bates, PCCLD’s Executive Director from 1981 until 2002, first agreed to locate
a library at the then-proposed YMCA. This arrangement was reaffirmed in 2003 by
Anthony Nuñez, who was president of the PCCLD Board of Trustees at the time.
Finally, the goal of locating a public library at the new YMCA was acknowledged in
2005 when the PCCLD Board of Trustees adopted a strategic plan entitled “Roadmap
to the Future.” (http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_about/SPI.pdf).
We are pleased the YMCA is providing the library space free-of-charge to PCCLD.
The YMCA has determined the library area cost $150,000 to build. With current
funding limitations, PCCLD would not have been able to provide this library without the YMCA’s generous commitment of space for no fee. As part of its commitment to the
Library @ the Y, PCCLD is providing staff, furnishings and shelving, and books and
other library materials.
One question I am regularly asked is “Do I need to be a member of the YMCA to use
this library?” The answer to this question is no. The Library @ the Y is a public
library, free and open to all members of the community. You do not need to belong to
the YMCA in order to use the Library @ the Y. The new Library @ the Y is open Monday
through Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m. You can reach the Library @ the Y by telephone at
We invite everyone to visit the new Library @ the Y.

Downloadable Audio Books: Coming Soon

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in November 2009)
An objective for the library for 2009 is to “provide access to downloadable audio
books via the library’s website.” (p.2, http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_about/2009_
Approved_Budget.pdf). Library staff members have been working diligently to
make this new service a reality. We feel confident it will be ready for launch before
the end of 2009.
The new service will be a collaboration between the library district and an
organization called NetLibrary/Recorded Books. They will provide much of the
backend technology and content necessary for this service.
This new service will allow customers to download an audio book to their own
portable MP3-type player simply by going to the library’s website and clicking.
The downloadable audio books will be compatible with many different portable
music devices. A full list of devices that have been successfully tested is available
at http://www.oclc.org/audiobooks/techspecs/devices.htm.
We expect downloadable audio books will offer an exciting new way to expand
library services to our community. In time, we expect to provide an expanding
selection of 1,000’s of downloadable audio book titles in numerous subject categories
in both unabridged and abridged formats, including current best-sellers, book club
favorites, classics and award-winning literature. Another advantage of the
new service will include its self-service availability on your home computer 24
hours a day, 7 days a week.
Look for this new, exciting service coming soon from your library. More
information is available at http://www.oclc.org/audiobooks/about/default.htm.

About All Pueblo Reads

By Jon Walker
Executive Director
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in October 2009)
Welcome to All Pueblo Reads. The Pueblo City-County Library District is pleased to present this annual series of events to our community. This year, we are honored to offer two wonderful books: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and Sun, Stone,and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories. It is our hope and belief that each of these two acclaimed works will resonate with the residents of Pueblo County.
The House on Mango Street is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It is a beautifully
written series of vignettes representing a young girl’s experience and views of the
barrio in which she lives. It is a moving work touching readers deeply with its
unique poetic style and poignancy. Latina author Sandra Cisneros is the recipient
of numerous awards for her writing, and she is widely recognized as a key figure in
Chicana Literature. While Cisneros’ book focuses on the Hispanic experience in this country, our second book Sun, Stone, and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories includes some of the biggest names in literature from Mexico. What better way for people in our community to learn about our neighbor to the south than by reading contemporary Mexican stories?
This is the second year in which PCCLD is receiving significant support for All Pueblo Reads from the National Endowment for the Arts. Indeed, we won the NEA Big
Read $20,000 grant which affords us the opportunity to make this year’s series of
events special. Our featured program will be the appearance at the Rawlings
Library of Sandra Cisneros who will talk to Puebloans about her life experience
and writing. You will not want to miss this opportunity to meet this acclaimed author
in person.
Please read these great books and participate in the many other events made
possible by All Pueblo Reads.

Your Lucky Day

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in September 2009)
The library has started a new book service. It is called “Your Lucky Day.” It is
an effort to put more best-selling books more quickly into the
hands of more customers.
We have learned it is common for bestselling books at times to not be readily
available on library shelves for browsers. We buy lots of copies of best-selling books, but sometimes it is hard to provide enough to meet peak demand. For this reason, on occasion all best-selling books can be checked out or on reserve for others. Sometimes the queue of individuals in line waiting for a book title can be quite long.
We recently decided to provide even more copies of the hottest new books. However, these extra copies you are not able to reserve. When “Your Lucky Day” copy of a book is returned from checkout, it goes back onto library shelves. This means people browsing library shelves are much more likely to find the latest hot book.
You still are able to reserve best-selling books, and we still buy the same number
of best-selling books you can reserve. However, we also are providing extra
copies that simply go onto library shelves and cannot be held. On “Your Lucky Day,”
you will find best-sellers simply by browsing library shelves. “Your Lucky Day” books check out for two weeks, instead of the normal three-week period. By reducing the checkout period, the book gets back onto the shelf quickly for others to check out and read. Another difference is customers will be limited to two “Your Lucky Day” books checked out at one time. This means more people have a chance to read popular books.
“Your Lucky Day” books may be found in special display areas at our libraries. Look
for them at the Barkman, Lamb, Pueblo West and Rawlings libraries. A special
shamrock sticker on the outside jacket distinguishes a “Your Lucky Day” book.

A New Strategic Plan for the Library

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in August 2009)
During the past five years, a lot has been happening at the Library District. The number of books and other materials checked out from the Pueblo City-County
Library has increased 31%. Attendance at Library programs and events has grown
by 227%. The Library’s summer reading program has been honored multiple
times as unexcelled in Colorado. A Ciruli Associates poll finds Pueblo County
residents believe the Library provides the best public service in our community.
We have remodeled the Barkman Library, replaced the Colorado City Satellite
Library, expanded the Pueblo West Library, and updated all of our computer
technology. We also are fortunate to have increased staff levels to help keep up with
the growing demands.
In the past few years, we have created a number of new services to be more
responsive to the community. We established Accessible Avenues to better
serve the disabled, All Pueblo Reads, AskColorado—24x7 online reference service, Books a la Cart, the Friends of the Library “Books Again” used book store, Books in the Park, the Doris D. Kester/Southern Colorado Community Foundation Nonprofit Resource Center, Homebound Book Delivery, Nuestra Biblioteca—Hispanic Resource Center, R.M. Watts Vocation & Business Center, and Teen Central.
We are pleased with our progress, and the community’s response. The guide for the Library District for the past five years has been the strategic plan Roadmap to
the Future (http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_about/SPI.pdf). Now, we are updating
the strategic plan to provide direction for the Library District’s future.
With a new plan, we will build on the success of the past and move ahead to a
responsive and productive future for library services for Pueblo County. In developing the new plan, we are seeking input from members of the community, comparing the Pueblo City-County Library District with peer libraries around Colorado, examining Pueblo County demographics for trends impacting library service, and forecasting future Library District financial resources. This data will be used in the new strategic plan to formulate recommendations for future library services.
Look forward to the new strategic plan entitled Moving Ahead. It will be unveiled
during the second half of 2009. If you have comments or would like to provide input to the new strategic plan, now is the time. To do so, please contact me directly.

Surveying Customers

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in July 2009)
When it comes to learning about the library’s client base, one of the more
effective tools is a customer satisfaction survey. These surveys give customers a
chance to voice their concerns and sing the praises of the library.
In May, a customer satisfaction questionnaire was prepared and made
available to community members. We conducted the survey to gather data to
help guide us in future decisions about the library. Questionnaires were distributed at library locations and on the Internet. The response exceeded expectations. In
2005, we were pleased when a similar survey received a little more than 850 responses. Our survey this year was completed by around 1600 people.
The results of the survey allow us to make several observations. An overwhelming
number of respondents feel the library is important, easy to use, and they are
likely to recommend the library to others. Most respondents use the library on their
own without help, while those who seek assistance are likely to do so via computers
or by asking staff. In terms of library services, there is a high level of satisfaction with the library’s selection of books, magazines and newspapers, public-access computers, programs and events, seating and workspace, and meeting rooms. The
results also point to customers’ desiring improved selections of audio books and
DVDs, and a better library web site.
Knowing what the customer wants is a necessity. Getting this information is
required in order to fully anticipate where the library should focus its energy. Now
with the data in hand, the library is better positioned to make decisions about the

Have a Question? Ask the Library

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in June 2009)
Library customers expect quick, accurate answers to their questions. There are a few different options for reaching the Pueblo City-County Library District to help answer your questions.
Of course, you can visit with staff in person or call by telephone any of the Library District’s 13 locations. For a complete list of library locations, phone numbers and hours of operation, visit http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_usingthelibrary/hours.asp.
You also can reach the Library District via the website at www.pueblolibrary.org. On the website, you will find an assortment of helpful information. The website provides access to the library catalog, too, where you can search for books and other library materials and even conveniently reserve materials or check your personal library account.
On the library’s website, you have access to a large number of premium online information and research resources (http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_search/er_main_rm.asp) and there is an online “Suggestion Box” where you can write comments, make suggestions or ask questions. For the latter, go to http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_about/suggestions.asp and type in your question or comment. We will email you a response.
Yet another useful way to contact librarians 24X7 is online chat using AskColorado. This is a live, interactive service on the Internet where you ask questions by connecting live with a librarian who will help you research facts and information. Access this service at http://www.askcolorado.org/. AskColorado is available in English and Spanish. Some people even refer to AskColorado as a “human powered search engine.”
With several ways to “talk” with library staff, asking the library your question has never been easier.

Customer Feedback

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in May 2009)
It always is important to listen carefully to your customers. In this respect,
libraries are no different than other service-oriented enterprises.
Along this line, we recently conducted a series of focus groups with a cross-section
of community members to talk about libraries. Our goal was to gather qualitative
information concerning library services to see how libraries are perceived and to
guide Pueblo City-County Library District in the future. During the course of several
meetings, a good deal of useful information emerged.
Among the important trends included general pleasure with library technology
improvements such as more and faster public access computers, and the online
catalog (www.pueblolibrary.org). People especially like the ability to go online to
the catalog from home, office or school to reserve library materials. We also learned
there is desire for the library catalog to support improved searching techniques.
We received very positive feedback about library public programs. The library clearly
is valued for its cultural and educational event offerings in our community.
Library facilities are seen as a major asset, including our collection of books
and other materials, modern and well-maintained buildings, public meeting
rooms, and quality spaces for teens and children. People recognize the advantages
of convenient availability of food and drink in the library. There is a perceived need to increase the size of the Barkman Library or provide another library on the eastside of the city of Pueblo.
Focus-group participants expressed appreciation for several of the newer
targeted services introduced in recent years, such as enhanced teen services,
Nuestra Biblioteca Hispanic Resource Center, Accessible Avenues: Paving the
Way for Customers with Special Needs, outreach programs such as Books in the
Park, and the Rawlings Library’s Special Collections and Genealogy services.
Generally speaking, library users would like to see these services not only continued
but expanded.
We learned useful information for possible future services, too. Customers
are interested in methods for improving the availability of highly popular and bestselling materials. They want audiobooks that can be downloaded to computers,
portable MP3 or iPod players. Customers want an updated and redesigned library
website and wireless computer access in all libraries. Finally, we heard some
enthusiasm for delivering books via a van to centers in poorer neighborhoods, a
possible library-sponsored adult literacy program, and improved library support for
business and vocational services.
These are only some of the highlights of what we learned from the community
focus groups. A full report is available to the public. Please contact me to learn more.
We believe it is not only important to listen to our customers, but to follow up
on what we hear. So, look for plans and activities from us in response to what we
learned, and for continued great things from your public library.

Libraries in Times of Economic Uncertainty

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in April 2009)
It is a troubling time our country is experiencing. The economy seems to
lose momentum almost daily.
One phenomenon of economic downturns is that this is precisely a time when library use typically goes up. Of course, this is nothing new for our library district. Our use has been increasing in recent years. In fact, the number of library checkouts has grown nearly 25 percent since 2005.
Plus, we know that as family budgets become tighter, the services of the free public library become even more appealing. New-book prices are averaging $25 or more. When disposable income is less, checking out a book is more appealing.
But the library is not only about books. We also offer DVDs and audiobooks, public
access computers, cultural events and comfortable places for people to come
together to meet, study, learn and exchange ideas. All this and more is free to the public at the library.
Across the country, libraries are making a difference. A 2003 study by OCLC showed
that U.S. libraries spend $14 billion annually. This compared with $12.3 billion in annual video sales and $13.6 billion in athletic footwear sales. At the same time, U.S. libraries had five times more cardholders than Amazon.com has customers, and
each day U.S. libraries checked out nearly four times more items than Amazon
handles. In fact, U.S. libraries checked out more items than FedX handles, and
five times more people visit U.S. libraries than attend all professional and college
football, basketball, baseball and hockey games combined. For more comparative
information on the use of libraries, see
We are confident that your return on investment for the public library is strong.
A study conducted in 2002 showed public libraries returned up to $10 for every $1
invested (Glen Holt and Donald Eliot, “Cost Benefit Analysis: A Summary of
Methodology,” The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances 2002, pp. 154-158).
Clearly, your public library is a value and as we navigate the current uncertain
economic times, rest assured we will continue to do all we can to serve our

Online Reference Sources

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in March 2009)
Who was it who once said one thing you can count on never changing is change? Change
comes to all things, including the library.
A number of years ago (in the “olden days”), people relied on the library for
reference books such as encyclopedias, business directories, medical dictionaries, bound periodical volumes and more. In recent years, the library has shifted somewhat. Many of these resources are offered now online, rather than in traditional printed and bound volumes.
Customers are discovering these wonderful reference sources available via the library’s website at www.pueblolibrary.org. In fact, more than a few people are using these online library reference tools. Since 2005, the views of online reference pages has increased 59.5% from 99,205 in 2005 to 157,931 in
The number of online reference sources available from the library’s website is impressive. Interestingly, these value-added sources are not freely available on the Internet. They cost a fee to use, unless you are a library card holder. For library-card holders, these sources are free to use on the Internet. The library pays a subscription fee that covers the use for any library-card holder.
There are a myriad of online reference tools available. In fact at last count,
there were 74 online services available from the library’s website. They include
reference sources on everything from full-text magazine archives to automotive
repair to “Do It Yourself,” lay health, business directories, language learning,
readers’ advisory tools and so on.
To see a complete list of all the available resources, simply go to www.pueblolibrary.org, rollover the “Search” button, then click on “Search Online
Resources.” When you reach this page, you can either see an alphabetical list of
all the library’s reference databases or look at the databases by subject.
It’s a modern and online world we live in, and the library clearly is part of this
brave new world.

2008 in Review

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in February 2009)
As we move into 2009, it can be instructive to review the year just ended to see what was accomplished. 2008 was a busy year at the library.
2008 started briskly with construction commencing on a fresh new and much larger library in Pueblo West. This new building should open for business in the first quarter of 2009. At 28,000 square feet in size and featuring the latest in library
design, new furniture and equipment, multiple public meeting rooms, and a larger collection of books and other library materials, this facility should serve the
community well for many years to come. It also is gratifying to point out that the
new Pueblo West Library will be LEEDcertified by the U.S. Building Council a as “green” building. We are grateful for our partners on this project which include
H.W. Houston Construction Company and Humphries Poli Architects.
We strive to provide outstanding service to our community at all library locations.
Our outstanding record of service in 2008 was validated by ever increasing use of
libraries. The 888,200 visitors to Pueblo City-County Libraries in 2008 was a 2.7%
increase over the year before. We also seek to provide a large and varied selection
of books and other library materials from which our customers may choose. It is
rewarding that our efforts are paying off as in 2008 we circulated 1,278,881 items.
This is the most check outs ever in the history of the Library District.
We believe part of the reason for our growing success is our efforts to reach
out more to targeted audiences. Several initiatives come to mind, including the
Books in the Parks summer program at Mitchell Park on Pueblo’s east side and
Minnequa Park in Bessemer, Teen Central areas at the Barkman, Lamb, Pueblo West
and Rawlings Libraries; and the Nuestra Biblioteca—Hispanic Resource Center,
InfoZone Museum, Nonprofit Resource Center, and Genealogy and Western
History services at the Rawlings Library. It is important to note that in 2008 we received a special grant to fund special technology to improve access to library resources for customers with special needs. This grant resulted in a successful project at the Rawlings Library called Accessible Avenues: Paving the Way for Customers with Special Needs. In addition in 2008 the Special Collections department at the Rawlings Library received a generous gift from The Pueblo Chieftain of more than 1,000 bound newspaper volumes dating from 1869. Now, this unique historic
resource serves as a significant research tool for the entire community.
The Pueblo City-County Library District also is as a center of cultural programming
and lifelong learning for our community. In this respect, it is important to note that 70,745 people attended library-sponsored events in 2008. This is the largest number of people ever. We are proud of all of our programming efforts, such as our
signature 2008 All Pueblo Reads series which attracted 7,165 attendees and the
awarding-winning library summer reading program which enrolled nearly 10,000
young people in reading and learning activities last summer.
The Library District also serves an important role as a place where public
access computing and Internet services are available. In 2008, more than 20,000
people logged onto library computers in a typical month. To better support this
service, the library adopted a plan to invest more than $600,000 over two years
to improve library computing technology. 2008 brought new public computers to the
Barkman, Lamb and Rawlings Libraries plus much faster Internet speeds for these
new computers. More new computers and other technology improvements are
planned for the current year.
With all these indications of a strong
foundation established in 2008 for responsive service to our community,
it is no wonder we are so much looking forward to 2009 at the Pueblo City-County
Library District.

What's New for 2009

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in January 2009)
My, how time flies! It is now 2009, and the Pueblo City-County Library District has several new initiatives in store to better serve you. All these are set forth in the district’s 2009 Annual Plan and Budget. This document is posted online at www.pueblolibrary.org. Here is a selection of some of the new things planned for 2009:
• A library is only as a good as the collection of books and other materials it offers the public. In 2009, access to a broader selection of titles will be improved
by implementing a more effective and efficient way to buy books.
• When there is a book we do not have, we occasionally borrow it for our customers from another library outside Pueblo County and vice versa. We call this Inter-Library Loan, and in order to help make certain our service is top-notch, PCCLD’s current holdings will be updated in the national union catalog used by libraries all over the world as a resource to know where to borrow from and lend materials to one another.
• It is not uncommon for a new, bestselling-book to frequently be tied up on hold. Even though PCCLD generously buys multiple copies of most bestsellers, you sometimes wait months for your turn. In order to improve your chances of getting that book when you’re browsing library shelves, we will start a new program in 2009 whereby some copies of a hot title will be reservable, and others will go onto the shelves when returned from checkout. This will help increase availability to customers browsing shelves. In addition, checkout periods for popular new books will be reduced so more customers have access.
• Great libraries have great buildings that are comfortable and conducive to reading and study. The library district will open two new buildings in 2009. Early in the year, the newly expanded Pueblo West Library opens. At 28,000 square feet, this library will be more than five times larger than the current library. Later in the
year, a small public library will open at the new YMCA campus.
• The library district not only provides access to books, but to other formats
including DVD movies and audiobooks on CD. In 2009, we plan to begin offering a great new service with downloadable audiobooks. These are audiobooks you can download to your personal computer day or night from the PCCLD web site. You will be able to play these downloadable audiobooks on your computer or a portable MP3 player. All you will need is a library card!
• More and more PCCLD libraries are becoming community cultural centers. In 2009, we want to keep growing our award-winning summer reading program and offer our 5th Annual All Pueblo Reads series. In addition, we have received a generous grant from the Rawlings Foundation and plan to use it to develop and commence updating the InfoZone Museum at the Rawlings Library.
• 2009 also will see the library district reaching out to the community in novel
ways. The new Books a la Cart service will be a library on wheels delivering library
materials to underserved neighborhoods in a specially-equipped PCCLD van.
• We will establish the new R.M. Watts Vocation & Business Center. This service
will be based at the Pueblo West Library and will provide specialized library and
information services plus staff to assist businesses and those seeking to improve
their economic standing.
• More than 20,000 people log-on to PCCLD public-access computers in a typical month. One new initiative customers will notice in 2009 is the replacement of all computers, meaning our customers will enjoy the most current computing technologies.
As you can tell, 2009 will be another great year at the Pueblo City-County Library District as we strive to make our libraries as responsive as possible to our


Measuring Results

By Jon Walker
Executive Director of the Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in December 2008)
Since 2005, the Pueblo City-County Library District has been on a mission. We
set broad goals in 2005 to reach out more to specific populations in our community,
to begin to address some library capital needs, and to increase use of the library.
How have we done in reaching our goals? Let’s take a look at some of the
We have been trying hard to improve services for targeted groups. We
established Teen Central areas at our libraries geared toward the tastes of young
adults. The Library’s Summer Reading Program continuously has won acclaim
throughout the state of Colorado for its service to younger people. All Pueblo
Reads celebrated its fourth (and best) year in 2008 with the recent visit to Pueblo by best-selling author Amy Tan. Established in 2007, Nuestra Biblioteca at the Rawlings Library is focused on recognizing our community’s rich Hispanic culture and
traditions. Books in the Park touches some of our less affluent neighborhoods
such as Mitchell Park on the East Side and Minnequa Park in Bessemer. This year’s
implementation of Accessible Avenues enables the library to better serve those
with disabilities. We reinvigorated PCCLD’s Homebound Program in 2006 in
delivering books to people who are unable to come to the library. We reached out to
the nonprofit community in Pueblo with the establishment in 2005 of the Nonprofit
Resource Center at the Rawlings Library.
We also are planning a new Vocation and Business Center at the Pueblo West Library
to assist those in our community seeking to improve their economic standing.
We have been addressing library capital needs, too. Early in 2009 we will open the
greatly enlarged and wholly renovated Pueblo West Library. Later in 2009, we will
open a new branch library on the YMCA campus on the westside of Pueblo. Earlier
in 2006, we renewed our commitment to the nine School District 70 and Pueblo
City Schools Satellite Libraries, and also upgraded our Satellite in Colorado City
when it moved into the Craver Middle School there.
These and other efforts have resulted in increased use of libraries throughout the
county. The number of books and other library materials that customers checkout
has increased from 1,028,792 in 2005 to 1,138,689 in 2007. This is an increase of
10.7 percent. So far this year in 2008, use is up another 15.6% compared with last
year. Attendance at Library-sponsored programs increased from 56.3 percent
during the same period, and is up another 21.5% this year. Clearly, library use is on
the upswing.
It is useful to set goals. Those we set in 2005 provided us direction to work toward.
It is gratifying now to look back and see how well we have done in achieving the
goals we set.

State of the Library

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in November 2008)
I am asked frequently questions like, “How are things at the library?”
To sum up 2008, I’d say things are, in a word, busy. We checked out more library
materials than ever in the history of PCCLD a year ago in 2007; and, so far in 2008,
our checkouts are more than 17 percent ahead of the 2007 pace. Our community’s
positive response to the library is reflected in a national rating service for public
libraries. According to the 2008 Hennen American Public Library Rating, we are
in the top 28 percent of all public libraries nationally. Our goal is to be in the top 20 percent. I am confident we will get there.
We are preparing for even a better year in 2009. The newly expanded Pueblo
West Library will open. This library will be 28,000 square feet, more than five times
larger than the old White Library. Because of its large size, some are referring to it as a mini-main library. Of course, to operate this new, robust facility, we will need additional staff. We hope to increase the current staff by four. The new library in Pueblo West is designed for a modern customer service model called Roving
Reference, which is quickly becoming popular around the country for its flexibility
and efficiency in helping customers.
A small branch library at the new YMCA campus on Pueblo’s west side is also
scheduled to open in 2009. This 1,000 square foot library is expected to be
open about 35 hours per week, and new employees will also be needed at this new
location. Next year will bring upgrades in library
technology. Lately, our Information Technology staff has been working to
move us to a new high-speed fiber optic network. Later this year and in 2009, old
PCs will be swapped for newer, faster computers running the latest, greatest
Library programming continues to be top notch and attracts record crowds. It
is something of which we are very proud. In 2007, the library’s attendance record
was shattered by a whopping 50 percent increase over 2006. So far in 2008, we
are 21 percent ahead of last year’s record numbers. Our summer reading program
routinely has been an award winner. All Pueblo Reads programming is bigger and
better than ever. Other programs—such as Nuestra Biblioteca, the InfoZone News
Museum, Teen Central, Books in the Park and more—help make the Pueblo
City-County Library District a cultural destination for our community.
Collection development—how we select new books and other library materials—
continues to evolve. Most recently, we formed a new Collection Development
team consisting of librarians Rich Poll, Isobel Drysdale, and Abby Koehler.
They now have oversight of all material purchases throughout the district. This will
help us do an even better job of getting the right books and other library materials for our customers.
Speaking of collections, thanks to the good work of Electronic Resources Librarian Kay Loeber, Media Librarian Abby Koehler and others, we will soon offer audio books that are downloadable from the library’s website to your own portable MP3 player. Imagine taking a walk while listening to your favorite new book. Like most library services, this will be free to the public. As a final comment, I would like to
share a few words on library finances. I have been asked about the financial
circumstances of the library and how the current problems on Wall Street
are impacting us. We are watching this carefully as the country appears to be
in uncharted economic territory. At this point, our finances appear stable and
sound. We do have a savings account, but we don’t have that money invested in
the stock market. Most library funding—about 85 percent—comes from property
taxes and is tied to property values, which appear to be decreasing.
The decline in the housing market should not have an immediate effect on
the library, but could impact us long term. Overall, in 2009, we anticipate a flat budget. With increasing needs at the expanded Pueblo West and YMCA Libraries, we will
be stretched. There is no doubt about it. But I remain cautiously confident
and believe we have a good plan for the remainder of 2008 and into 2009.

Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

By Jon Walker
Executive Director of the Pueblo City-County Library District
(First Published in October 2008)
2008 marks the fourth consecutive year that the Pueblo City-County Library District has sponsored All Pueblo Reads. The goal of this program is to focus the community on a great book and, thereby, bring reading to the center of our cultural life.
In years past, the selections for All Pueblo Reads have been To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee in 2005, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in 2006, and Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in 2007.
Now, we are pleased to announce the selection of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan as the The Big Read: All Pueblo Reads 2008. This book, first published in 1989, has been both a best seller and critically acclaimed with its focus on Chinese-American families.
In choosing The Joy Luck Club, we have set aside the entire month of October
to provide more than 50 public events, hosted in collaboration with a number
of community partners, that we hope will foster discussion and community
engagement involving themes present in the book. I encourage you to pick up a
calendar of the programs available at each of the public libraries in Pueblo County.
While you are at the library be certain to check out a copy of The Joy Luck Club,
too, and start reading this wonderful book that has been described as “an intricately
patterned novel” that is in “itself a joyful study in luck.” I also recommend the movie by the same name. The movie version of the book was a 1993 hit in theaters and
has been described as “a deeply moving film that will touch the heart and mind
of anyone who opens themselves to its messages about life.” DVD versions of the
movie also are available for checkout at the library.
Over the years, All Pueblo Reads has had an impact upon thousands of Pueblo
County residents. We are confident 2008 will be the biggest and best year, yet.
Headlining this year’s series of events will be appearances by the author herself, Amy Tan. Ms. Tan will appear at a fundraising dinner at the Rawlings Library at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25. In addition, she will make a presentation and sign books at a free, public event at the Rawlings Library at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26. To learn
more about these two special events, call 562-5606.
This year, the district is pleased to welcome as principal sponsors of The Big
Read: All Pueblo Reads both the National Endowment for the Arts and The Pueblo

The Doris Kester & Southern Colorado Community Foundation Nonprofit Resource Center

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in September 2008)
The Library District provides a myriad of information and learning resources for the community. This is part of our mission to provide lifelong learning opportunities for the citizens of Pueblo County. One unique example of this is the Library’s Doris
Kester & Southern Colorado Community Foundation Nonprofit Resource Center.
The Nonprofit Resource Center’s purpose is to provide access and training
to use online and print research materials designed to guide people to grant and
nonprofit funding opportunities. This Center first opened in 2005 at the Rawlings
Public Library. It carries the names of Doris Kester and the Southern Colorado
Community Foundation due to their generous financial gifts to the service. It
also receives ongoing support from the Foundation Center based in New York City
The most recent announcement from Nonprofit Resource Center is a new
partnership with the City of Pueblo. As part of this collaboration, the Library will offer public access to eCivis at the Nonprofit Resource Center and provide a librarian to help teach community members how to use eCivis. eCivis is an important online tool to improve access to grant funds for organizations in our community (www.
For more information on the Nonprofit Resource Center or eCivis, contact librarian
Richard Tucey at 553-0202.

The library online

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in August 2008)
The library - like most institutions today - has been greatly impacted by computers and other information technologies.
For example, last year more than 285,000 people logged onto library Internet
computers in Pueblo County, compared to only a handful a mere 10 years ago.
Without a doubt, providing public access to the Internet is a growing and important
part of library business.
This is not the only important impact computers have on the library. In fact, the
entire operation of the library depends on modern information technologies.
We acquire new books for the collection online. The library catalog is online. You
are able to reserve and hold books and other materials online. We send customer
notifications via automated telephone and email systems. The library website is a
gateway to a number of online databases providing access to authoritative
information on myriad topics—including magazines and newspapers, automotive
repair, business, education, genealogy, health, job skills, legal resources and much
more. You can even connect online live with a librarian and get help researching
facts and information. Today, computer and web technologies have truly made
library services available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
There is no doubt that information technology is important for the services
the library provides. The critical nature of technology to the modern library is
the reason we started a special upgrade project in December 2007. This project
envisions spending more than $629,000 over a two-year period in 2008 and 2009
to increase library Internet and network speeds, replace all library computers and
add a new telephone system. The first step in this process took place in July,
when a new high-speed library Internet service went into service. The new
library Internet service is more than 300% faster than before. This will be followed
in August with significantly faster network connections between library branches.
Later in 2008 and 2009 we will replace all the personal-use computers in the library.
The last step in the project will be a new telephone system to be put in place later
in 2009.
A comprehensive national study entitled “Public Libraries and the Internet 2007:
Report to the American Library Association” (http://www.ii.fsu.edu/plinternet_reports.cfm) found that “while public libraries
provide a substantial amount of public access Internet and computing service,
the overall physical infrastructure they are able to provide may be lacking in quality.” We should all take pride that the Pueblo City-County Library District is not one of those libraries behind the curve when it comes to computers and technology. Instead, we are setting the trend with the adoption and implementation of current and modern information technology.

Meeting @ Your Library

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in July 2008)
The Pueblo City-County Library District recently adopted the vision statement: Books
& Beyond. This vision signifies that just as surely as libraries are about books and reading, today we are more than this. For example, are you looking for a place for your club or organization to gather? Think library.
Yes, the library provides community meeting rooms to clubs and organizations.
There are meeting rooms available at the Barkman, Lamb, Rawlings and White
libraries. Offering meeting room space to community groups is another way the
library serves its mission to support the free exchange of ideas.
Meeting room space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Generally,
rooms may be scheduled for groups of ten or more by contacting the library
where you want to meet. Each room varies in size from smaller rooms of a few
hundred square feet to spaces as large as 2,500 square feet and big enough to
accommodate up to 175 people.
Normally, fees are not charged for not-for-profit organizations using the rooms
during normal business hours. However, a nominal fee may be charged in other
In addition to the regular public meeting rooms, the Rawlings Library is home
to the Ryals Special Events Room. The Ryals Room is not considered a general
use meeting room, and there is a rental charge in most cases. The Ryals Room
includes a fully-equipped catering kitchen and enjoys a wonderful ambience atop
the Rawlings Library overlooking the city of Pueblo from each of its two balconies.
This room is used for every occasion from staff trainings and lectures to weddings
and reunions.
Whatever your meeting need—club, company, community group and more—the library has facilities to help. Clearly,the library has moved beyond the book.

Keeping kids reading all summer long

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in June 2008)
It’s that time of year. Another summer is upon us. With the arrival of this season, the attention of school-aged children frequently turns away from things such as reading. As this happens, “summer setback” is a danger.
Available research indicates that reading achievement frequently declines during
summer vacation. Dr. Richard Allington, a professor at the University of Florida,
points out that the “best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether
you read or not during the summer.”
Evidence shows there is a simple connection in that better readers read
more than poorer readers. With schools closed, a key is finding ways to get books
into the hands of children during the three month summer break.
In order to avert the “summer slump,” the library is pleased to make available
its award-winning Summer Reading program. The goal of the program is
simple—keep kids reading all summer long. The focus is not on what children
read, just that they read. This is why the library emphasizes reading for nothing
more than the joy of it. It is the reason we offer reading games and prizes, and events designed to get kids into the library. This also is why we sponsor the “Books in the Park” outreach program at both Mitchell Park on the east side and Minnequa Park in Bessemer.
Studies suggest that elementary school-aged children who read only a few books
during the summer months have higher reading-achievement, and they suffer less
of the reading loss that can occur over these months. The library’s Summer
Reading program is designed to make reading more widely available and to offer
incentive programs to keep kids reading.
If research is any indication, participating in the library’s Summer
Reading program can make a positive difference in children’s long-term reading
and academic achievement. So, if you are involved in the lives of children, please
encourage them to join the library’s reading program this summer and stave
off “summer slide.”


By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in May 2008)
We are fortunate to live in a community that is so willing to give.
Pueblo has a long tradition of helping others. This is one of the things that make it a great place to live.
One attribute of giving that helps us stand out is our willingness to give our
time. The Independent Sector found in a study that by researching what causes
or issues interest you and considering the skills you have to offer that volunteering
can give voice to your heart by allowing you to contribute something meaningful
to an organization that touches you.
Individuals who volunteer their time are so valuable. In fact, according to the most
current data from the Independent Sector, the value of each hour volunteered is
$18.77 on average.
The library is a wonderful place to volunteer time. Last year, more than 160
people volunteered a total of more than 13,500 hours at Pueblo City-County
libraries. The value of this contribution to the library is more than a quarter of a
million dollars.
As we move toward summer, teen volunteers should keep the Library in mind, too. Last year, teens volunteered nearly 2,000 hours to the library. Teens help with a variety of tasks, and this is especially important to library staff during the summer months to assist with such things as the library’s annual summer reading program.
The library has many wonderful opportunities for volunteerism. Please
consider giving your time. Our volunteer coordinator is Amy Nelson. If volunteering
at the library is something that engages you, she would love to hear from you.
You can reach Amy at 562-5656.


By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in April 2008)
In April, the library celebrates accessibility awareness.
On April 5 at the Rawlings Public Library, there will be an unveiling of new assistive technology to help people with special needs better utilize library resources.
For a number of years at the Rawlings Library, we have offered a walker and
wheelchair for those in need, and about three years ago an electric scooter called
a Mart Cart was purchased thanks to contributions received in memory of Robert J. Lippis.
Effective use of the library, however, can require additional assistive technologies.
We are pleased that thanks to a special Library Services and Technology Act
grant from the Colorado Department of Education totaling $102,200, with matching
and in-kind contributions, we now will be able to provide computers featuring
automatically adjustable-height tables, ergonomically adjustable chairs, special
keyboards and big-track mouses, and screen-reading, zoom and other assistive
The library also is consulting with local experts to select books and other materials
of interest to persons with special needs.
On April 17 at 2 p.m., the InfoZone Theatre at the Rawlings Library will host a speaker from Parkview’s Diabetes Center with panel discussion afterwards on the topic of “Know Your Numbers, Diabetes and You: All You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid
to Ask About Diabetes.”
On April 19 at 11 a.m., Sharon Davis, a national expert on hearing loss and
disability safety, will speak in the Ryals Room at the Rawlings Library on “How to
Communicate Effectively with People Who Have Hearing Loss: A Primer for Business
People, Teachers, and Loved Ones.”
Finally, on April 19 at 1 p.m., in the Rawlings Library Ryals Room, Richard
Marold, a nationally-known scholar and Chautauqua performer, will recreate the
persona of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and from his wheelchair (which was seldom
seen in public during his presidency), he will address the audience with a performance entitled “Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Was He Our Nation’s Father of the Independent Living Movement?”
The Pueblo City-County Library District is proud of its mission to serve all members
of our community. This series of programs and services is simply a demonstration
of the library’s commitment to support access to its resources for persons with
special needs.

The Friends of the Library - Good Friends, Indeed!

By Jon Walker
Executive Director, Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in March 2008)
Henry Adams once
was quoted: “One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.” If this is the case, then the Pueblo City-County Library District has
done the nearly impossible. The Library District has more than 350 dedicated and
supportive Friends who contribute their time, resources, and expertise to make
the library the best that it can be. These Friends are tireless in their efforts to
preserve and strengthen our libraries, and they do so much to create awareness and
appreciation of library services.
The Friends of the Library was founded in 1960 to promote a new library for
Pueblo. Over the years, Friends activities have expanded in support of the entire
Library District. It is no surprise that many of our favorite programs are sponsored by the Friends including the summer reading program, several creative writing contests, the monthly library newsletter and so much more.
In 1962, the Friends held their first used book sale which generated $230 in proceeds. More recently, the Friends established the Books Again book store,
and last year it generated a whopping $79,499.95. The revenue from the book
store is used by the Friends to provide grants to benefit libraries. In 2007, grants
were given for a number of projects that help enhance library services including
scholarships for staff, library holiday lighting, new books, directional signage,
portable staging, cordless tools, book carts and display shelving, special furniture for computers for the disabled, funds to assist with the expansion of the library in Pueblo West, and more.
The Friends currently are conducting a membership drive. It is easy to join.
Simply contact the Friends at Books Again, 622 S. Union (across from the Rawlings
Library), by phone at 543-4688, or email at booksagain@msn.com. The best part is
that you can be a member for as little as $15 each year for an individual or $20 for your entire family. There also are memberships for Businesses and Gold Cards ($30),
Benefactors ($100), and Patrons ($500).
Please join me in thanking these hardworking volunteers for their support.
The library would not be the same without them. Since you can never have too many
friends, I encourage you to join the Friends today.

Numbers and Feedback

By Jon Walker
Executive Director,
Pueblo City-County Library District
(First published in February 2008)
2007 was a great year for the Pueblo City-County Library District. In fact, it was
the Library’s best year, yet. How do I know this? There are a few different ways.
One way to know 2007 was great is the numbers. In 2007 we checked out 1,138,689 books and other library materials to members of the community. This is a new all-time record number of checkouts. 58,613 people attended library events and programs. Again, this is an all-time record number. 285,023 people logged onto library Internet computers. Yet another record number. The numbers clearly show people are engaged with your library and that 2007 was a phenomenal year.
Another way to know 2007 was great is anecdotal. It is from the individual comments I receive from people about their individual positive library experiences.
Here are a few of the dozens and dozens of written remarks about the Pueblo City-
County Library District from the past year:
• “We appreciate all that you always do
for us.”
• “Thank you so much for all you do for
our kids.”
• “Your Teen Central is Grand.”
• “Words cannot express how grateful we
are to you.”
• “I would like to praise one of your
• “Your time, effort and interest are all so
• “I love learning and working in the
• “Thank you for the books. I love your
• “Your....assistance and persistence
were invaluable in allowing me to find the
answers I sought.”
• “I am writing to let you know how
thankful I am for the assistance provided,
the availability of the resources in your
library, and also to let you know the impact
your resources had.”
• “You are really doing a great service to
the community.”
• “I have been most blessed and certainly
appreciative of the kind and willing heart
to extend such great representation of the
• “I found your staff to be courteous and
helpful as we mined through volumes of
historical data.”
• “Thank you so much for all your help.”
• “Thank you for your work with the
reading program at the Pueblo City-County
Library District.”
• “The maintenance/custodial staff were
outstanding in supporting our training.
The staff overseeing your information desk
was also very helpful.”
The numbers and feedback tell the story. 2007 was a great year for the library. Our
best year, yet.


The library is a learning institution.  First and foremost, the Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) exists to ensure members of our...