Help Us Plan Our Future
Don’t forget! Our annual community meetings are coming up.
These meetings are designed to provide an update on library services, solicit input from library patrons and other Jefferson County residents and respond to community concerns.
Meetings are scheduled for the following dates and times.
• Monday, March 3, 1-2 p.m. - Arvada Library
• Thursday, March 6, 4-5 p.m. - Standley Lake Library
• Tuesday, March 18, 2-3 p.m. - Golden Library
• Friday, March 21, 4-5 p.m. - Columbine Library
• Monday, March 24, 3-4 p.m. - Evergreen Library
• Friday, March 28, 4-5 p.m. - Belmar Library
• Tuesday, April 1, 3:30-4:30 p.m. - Ye Olde Firehouse, Depew St. & W. 32nd Ave., Wheat Ridge
Your feedback is important to us, so please join us. We hope to see you there!
The Power of Partnership: Early Literacy
At JCPL, we're passionate about early literacy. We believe it's a critical skill that helps children from birth to five establish a solid foundation in life. It sets the stage for their future success, and it contributes to the economic growth and development of our county as a whole. Sadly, in some Jefferson County schools, fewer than 50 percent of children entering kindergarten have the skills they need to be ready to read.
We want to change that!
The Library is uniquely positioned to support early literacy. Our storytimes, based on Every Child Ready to Read, incorporate simple practices to help parents and other caregivers develop early literacy skills in our youngest residents. They are wildly popular, with demand and participation growing every year. In fact, in 2013, we presented more than 3,300 storytimes to nearly 89,000 participants.
Unfortunately, in this era of shrinking resources, we find ourselves nearly maxed out in the number of storytimes we can offer at our libraries. With our current hours of operation, we're hard pressed to meet the ever-growing demand for these services during library hours.
However, as they say, "where there's a will, there's a way."
I'm pleased to announce that we've found a way to extend our early literacy storytimes, through an innovative partnership with Jefferson County’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and the Triad Early Childhood Council. Beginning this year, JCPL will support CCAP and TRIAD in their efforts to increase access to high-quality child care for infants and toddlers from families with low income. In its initial stages, the program will provide 19 Jefferson County child-care facilities with materials, resources, coaching and professional development to support high-quality services. We're supporting this effort by presenting early literacy storytimes at these facilities and by offering coaching, materials and other early literacy resources to staff, parents and caregivers.
At JCPL, we believe every child should have a solid start in life. Now, thanks to TRIAD and CCAP, we can help more children realize that dream.
A Wonderful Christmas Present
Amidst the litter of wrapping paper and ribbon last week, I found a wonderful Christmas present. I opened my email to find this photo:
It's a picture of Bookmobile Patron Ruth Gartrell, who happened to be our 10,000th bookmobile visitor this year. Rich Allen, our bookmobile supervisor, surprised Ruth with balloons and flowers to celebrate this milestone. Needless to say, it was a happy day for all involved.
Even more heart-warming are the trends we're seeing in bookmobile use. The number of bookmobile visitors has increased every year for the past eight, despite the fact that we downsized that business unit in late 2010. This is the first time we've reached the 10,000-visitor milestone in a single year.
It's a testament to Rich (and all of the other library employees) who work within significant budgetary constraints, and yet provide exceptional library services year after year.
That, my friends, is the best Christmas present ever, and a wonderful way to start off the new year!
Important Update on the Library's Budget
At its December meeting, the Library Board of Trustees adopted our 2014 budget. I'm pleased to report that we'll be able to maintain current service levels and make modest investments in staff and technology, while keeping expenses well in line with revenues in 2014.
This is a major accomplishment. Since the economy went south in 2008, we've had to use money from savings to help us balance our budget -- in each of the past three years. We'll enjoy a bit of a reprieve in 2014, primarily due to the fact that we paid off our debt for the Belmar Library in 2013. This will allow us to allocate $716,000 of previous debt expense to other service areas next year.
I wish I could say our financial challenges are behind us; however, our forecasts suggest otherwise.
As we consider these future challenges, the Library Board of Trustees has undertaken an initiative to evaluate options for achieving a sustainable business model, including investigating ways to increase library revenues. This is one of the most important initiatives we'll be undertaking in 2014, so stay tuned.
We'll be providing updates as we go along.
Mountain Library Advocates Take Note
The Conifer Recreation Coalition is seeking resident input on recreational opportunities in the Conifer area, and we wouldn't want them to forget the Library!
If you'd like to weigh in on the kinds of facilities and activities you'd like to see, take the survey today. It closes on Dec. 15, so don't delay.
Countdown to Midnight
It's Colorado Gives Day today.
In one 24-hour period, Colorado residents are asked to go online and donate something to their favorite charity. Last year they raised a total of $15 million for hundreds of non-profits across the state -- a heartening testament to the generosity and compassion of our friends and neighbors. This year, they hope to raise at least $17 million.
Jefferson County Library Foundation is one of the non-profits participating today. They're collecting donations to support early literacy programs at Jefferson County Public Library. Won't you consider making a donation today?
It doesn't cost much to make a big difference. At Colorado Gives Day, they'll accept online donations starting at $10.
Imagine if every library cardholder pledged $10! We'd raise more than $3.25 million in a single day!
Take a minute to show your support of early literacy and JCPL. Donate today!
So, we've filled up on turkey and football, spent time with friends and family and had a few quiet moments to think about the things we're thankful for. Now it's back to work, and I'm reminded how lucky I am to be working for a library.
The list of things I'm thankful for would fill the stacks, so let me just name a few:
I'm grateful that I come to work every day with such wonderful people. Library employees are a special breed. They're here because they believe in the promise of libraries -- equal access to information and opportunity for all. They step up day after day and go the extra mile minute by minute to help our patrons find what they need. I am blessed to know and work with them.
I'm grateful for our Board of Trustees. They help us navigate the choppy waters of declining revenues and increased service demands, and they do it gracefully and well. They give unstintingly of their time and talents, and we are lucky to have them.
I'm grateful that the work I do has meaning. Every day, I hear stories of how we actually change people's lives. Patrons use us to give their children the best possible start in life, to help them succeed in school and learn critical job and life skills; they use us to stay abreast of evolving technologies, find employment, build businesses, and participate in public life; and in later life, they use us to stay connected to the world of people and ideas. On any given day, I can walk into the Library and see these transformations taking place, and I am unbelievably grateful for that.
I'm grateful to the Jefferson County Library Foundation and Friends. Their sole mission is to raise money to support Library programs and services, and each year they contribute more than $150,000 to JCPL. That money helps us to deliver early literacy programs and services, invest in technology, and stay afloat in these tough economic times.
I'm grateful for the more than 2,400 library volunteers who help us achieve our mission. They help us in the libraries; they help us with public relations and advocacy; they staff the Foundation's fund raising events and book sales (not a trivial task, by any means), and more. This year, they've contributed nearly 15,000 hours of service to JCPL, and we still have month to go!
Finally, I'm grateful for those of you who subscribe to my blog; who take such an interest in the Library; and who offer your time and support to JCPL.
Meister Eckhart once said, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." So, to all of you, happy thanksgiving, and a prayerful "thanks" for everything you do for JCPL.
Teaching Deaf Children How to Read
Roughly one in 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with severe to profound hearing loss, and these children risk experiencing delays in language, speech development and reading skills. Teaching these children to read can be challenging.
At JCPL, we strive to make the gift of reading available to every child. We work with children to make reading fun, and we offer parents and caregivers tools and resources they can use to help their children learn to read. Following are examples of the kinds of programs we provide.
Coming Soon: Gateway to Reading. This workshop, offered in partnership with Gallaudet University, Austin Community College District, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, and Rocky Mountain Deaf School, will present effective book sharing techniques as outlined in The 15 Principles of Reading to Deaf Children. Topics include: why reading is important, how to use sign language to share stories, reading while not knowing all the signs, and keeping American Sign Language and English visible while reading. You don't need to know American Sign Language to benefit from this workshop. Registration is required – please email Deborah.Dauenheimer@jeffcolibrary.org no later than Friday, Nov. 29. Sign up today!
- Belmar Library
Thursday, Dec. 5
American Sign Language (ASL) Storytimes. These special storytimes, presented orally with American Sign Language support, give hearing impaired children the opportunity to interact with others, acquire important pre-reading skills, develop their cognitive abilities, and communicate more fully with the world around them. Jefferson County Library Foundation is currently raising funds to support ASL Storytimes in 2014.
Help us give the gift of reading to every child. Donate today!
Taking Early Literacy on the Road
One of our priorities as a library system is to provide literacy resources and experiences to the residents of Jefferson County, with special attention to the needs of children from birth to five. In many cases, we are the only place where new parents can bring their children to receive this type of support.
We are passionate about this! As I mentioned in my last blog, we host thousands of early literacy Storytimes every year, for tens of thousands of children who come to our libraries. However, in many cases, it’s children who don’t get to the library who need these services the most.
Our Traveling Children’s Library delivers books and programs to children in Head Start and other low-income preschool classrooms. Through bilingual storytime visits and the delivery of supplemental books in English and Spanish, the TCL provides these children with greater exposure to books, reading and stories. And thanks to the Jefferson County Library Foundation, every child in these classrooms gets to take home a book of their own.
If you believe in the mission of our Traveling Children's Library, you can support it through our Foundation's year end appeal.
Give the gift of reading to every child. Donate today!
Halloween Storytimes at JCPL
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Every year at the Lakewood Library, children attending baby, toddler and preschool storytimes come in costume. At the end of storytime, they trick or treat with Library staff.
It’s a happy parade! The children have a blast, while learning to love books and the Library. The parents stand by, doting and taking pictures. And we're graced with a refreshing break in the day and a potent reminder of why we're here.
So, why do we offer these storytimes?
We know that more than 90 percent of brain development occurs when children are between the ages of birth and five. We know that reading aloud to babies and toddlers promotes positive brain development and delivers important pre-reading skills. And we know that many children in Jefferson County - especially those from economically challenged areas - don't have books and are not read to at home.
That's why we hold thousands of storytimes every year, to give our youngest residents the best possible start in life. We work with parents and caregivers, too, to give them tools they can use at home to help their children become good readers.
Now, we'd like to do more!
The trick for us is to extend storytimes in as many ways and places as we can - in libraries, in preschool and daycare center locations, in multiple, diverse communities, and with particular attention to children with special needs.
You can help us achieve these goals by donating to the Jefferson County Library Foundation's year end appeal, which launched this week. Monies raised go to support storytimes and other literacy programs at JCPL.
The treat in all of this is the satisfaction of helping to build the next generation of successful and productive citizens in Jefferson County.
Help us give the gift of reading to every child. Donate today.