6/16/11

The Pueblo Library Foundation

The Pueblo City-County Library District continues to do well. In fact, just last month, I met individually with both the members of the Pueblo City Council and the Board of County Commissioners to deliver a very positive and upbeat report regarding the library. Certainly, the overall use of library services is increasing. In 2010, we saw record numbers of people visiting our libraries (more than 1 million people in 2010 alone), checking out books and other library materials (nearly 1.7 million check outs in 2010), utilizing library public-access computers (nearly 370,000 logged-on at libraries in Pueblo County in 2010), and attending library-sponsored events (almost 98,000 people in 2010). We are well on our way toward the goal of insuring our’s is a community of readers.

Of course, it takes money to provide these services and programs, and, in this respect, the library is no different from any other institution. Fortunately, library funding has remained steady in recent years, and there have been years with moderate increases in revenue. Nevertheless, pressure on the library budget continues to grow. This is despite some modest, but necessary, reductions to employee benefits and compensation, and our best efforts to moderate other operational costs.

In the upcoming, the library’s finance office is projecting a decrease in library revenues of up to $330,000. In order to cope with this decline, it is important for the Library District to focus on stabilizing revenue in other ways. This is why we are working now to stay ahead of the curve by establishing the Pueblo Library Foundation. The purpose of the foundation will be solely dedicated to supporting public library services in Pueblo County. In fact, I expect it to be established as a not-for-profit public charity for this purpose, and in line with applicable federal and state laws and regulations. The foundation will exist as a separate organization, and it will provide an alternative source of funding for the Library District. At this time, a group of library supporters—including Friends, Trustees, and staff—is working together to craft a formal mission statement, articles of incorporation, and create the framework for the foundation. The group has been working with experts in the law and charitable giving to establish the foundation as a legal entity that supports our mission. Our goal is to have the Pueblo Library Foundation up and running before the end of the current year.

The Pueblo Library Foundation will seek giving from a large variety of people and institutions. We hope to build a corpus of assets to help sustain the public library and its services for the community. This endowment will help especially during times of economic downturn, but also will allow the library to enhance and build upon what is clearly a strong set of programs. The Foundation also will serve as a means for fundraising toward significant capital goals, such as library facilities. Studies show that great public libraries enhance a community’s quality of life. The Library District has stated goals to establish more libraries in such places as the St. Charles Mesa, Pueblo’s East Side, the growing North Side, and in the mountain communities. The Pueblo Library Foundation can help us attain this, and more.

The vision for a Pueblo Library Foundation has been coming into focus for a number of years. 2011 is the time for the Foundation to come into being. Look for additional information on this exciting development in the coming months.

6/2/11

Summer Reading for Young People

Each summer the Pueblo City - County Library District sponsors a special program for young people to encourage the joy of reading. This year, the program begins in June and stretches into mid-August. We are so pleased and proud at the library to have seen the summer reading program continue to grow in popularity over the past several years. A record number of 17,015 young people were positively impacted by the library’s summer reading program in 2010. We hope this year will be even bigger.


Why is this important? Because of what educators commonly refer to as “summer setback.” This is the phenomenon whereby, during the summer break away from school, young people tend to lose the learning momentum reached during the prior school year, and begin to forget significant pieces of what was learned. There is scholarly research to back up this notion, and, also, that this decline can be very pronounced with reading skills. Evidence shows that those who are better readers are those who read more, and when reading slows or stops during the summer, then skills atrophy. 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.”


In order to help prevent this setback, each and every summer, the library district presents programming, events and activities designed 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.”


Look for our announcements elsewhere in this newsletter about the dates and times of special programs and events designed to make reading fun this summer. Information also is available at your local public library, in the newspaper, on the library’s website (www.pueblolibrary.org), and on television.


Please, get our children involved. Research indicates that participating in the library’s summer reading program can make a positive difference in a young person’s long-term reading and academic achievement.


The library’s summer reading program is free and it’s fun. Most importantly, it will help establish foundation for young people that can last a lifetime.

LOCAL HISTORY AT THE LIBRARY by Jon Walker

Our community enjoys a rich and diverse history.  This is the story of the people and events helping to shape the saga of this region over ...