Sunday, August 24, 2008

Colorado Town Hall Meetings: Durango

Town Hall Meeting
21 August 2008
Town Hall Meeting Wiki


Martin Garnar, President, Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL)

Valerie Horton, Executive Director, Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC)

Gene Hainer, Director, Colorado State Library (CSL)

Introductions were also made by all attendess. Many different libraries represented: Mancos, Dolores, Durango, Bayfield, Cortez. Many different positions: directors, staff, friends of the library, board trustees, advisory boards, fundraising committee members...

What we came to the meeting to find out: We also went around the room and listed our thoughts on what we’d like to accomplish at this meeting.

• Future of libraries,
• Downloadable music consortia,
• Cooperative purchasing,
• Networking,
• What is the state is up to?,
• Coordinating a state-wide ILS,
• To be informed,
• Want a new focus,
• How the 3 entities work

Overview of the three entities

All their goals: explore overlap and the uniqueness of the 3 entities, explore challenges and opportunities, work for libraries


Martin read CALs mission & vision statement. The three main parts of their statements are:

1. Advocate for quality library services (lobbyists),
2. Support access to information (work w/lobbyists, intellectual freedom,)
3. Professional development (school, public, academic, special libraries).

He also spoke of the Colorado Leadership Institute.


Gene explained that there is a state library in every state; not all are the same, for instance, some are connected to different entities within the state. Colorado State Library is a unit within the Colorado Department of Education, and has been since the inception of the Colorado Constitution. Office of State Planning and Budgeting – this generates the discussion about how we can get money for libraries, the discussion then goes to the Joint Budget Committee. This was how we got money for the AIRS database package. They are involved w/legislation, but they don’t do most of the politicking – CAL does. Initiatives start locally, and then libraries change. They also consult for school and public libraries, including youth, technology consultants, and have historical newspapers, and their own ILL system.

State-wide ILS update: Jim Duncan of CSL and others formed a state committee: looked at Georgia Pines model (open source Integrated Library System [ILS]). They put out a white paper about a month ago; a second small committee has now been formed to deal with issues that this paper brought up. About the time of publishing of the white paper, BCR held a summit in Idaho about an open source ILS. CSL is now working with BCR to hold a Colorado summit to take this process to the next level – a small in-state summit in the works.


Valerie spoke of how they value the success of libraries through consulting, conferences, continuing education, and cooperative purchasing. They also help libraries save money – even help individuals save money! Recently they helped a librarian save a lot of tuition money by finding her a certificate course on Web Junction that had cheaper tuition than the online university that she had originally registered for. Their regional consultants helped answer 10,000 questions from libraries last year.

Valerie also talked about the Red Feather Lakes success story. The library is in such a remote area, that they could not get on a regular courier delivery for ILLs. CliC helped them find a solution, and now an outside blood draw courier also delivers their ILL books. The ‘blood and books’ courier!

What Works

Attendees all spoke of our successes, such as:

• An afterschool reading program,
• Several new library buildings,
• $20,000 LSTA grant through CSL,
• Successful home school program,
• $500 ALA/PBS grant received through Second Life,
• Renaissance Faire with over 3,000 attendees,
• Successful storytimes.

Gene pointed out that no one said, “We checked out 6,000 books last month”; our successes are all about the people.

Challenges, and What would help you?

We all spoke of our challenges, and the CAL, CliC, and CSL representatives responded:

• Getting votes to approve a bond issue in this time when libraries are considered “passé” because of technology
o Valerie spoke of an OCLC study done to see what gets bond issues passed. CliC is working to get this study ‘out there’ in an effort to increase the number of passed bond issues. This study will teach us how to speak to our communities and motivate them. You can find the study on the pb wiki.
• Workshops are costly in this time of economic downturns
o BCR has free Friday forums
o Also, nothing wrong w/getting local people together and having brown bag lunches – free event to teach ourselves,
• In our community, the middle and high school no longer have a library
o CAL is working on this crisis w/lobbyists – about half of the school districts in Colorado do not have school libraries
• Lack of board training
o CLiC can provide trainings

One attendee suggested using Camila Attins (sp?) and her star power to bring attention across Colorado.

Where do you want to be in 2020?

We broke into groups of 2 or 3 to discuss the future of libraries in southwest Colorado. Here are the ideas:

• Coordinate a strong Regional group – training, resource sharing, nurturing mutual respect between all library workers, enhancing the personal aspect of libraries,
• Regional high-speed internet access available across ALL rural areas; Benefits: distance working, distance education,
• Delivery of databases in one desktop (federated searching), as well as offering services that people want,
• Community center – more broad-based teen/YA and all age groups,
• Bridge to new technologies, other organizations, arts and culture,
• Cultural center, outreach, community gardens,
• Ways to use buildings in new directions,
• Meeting the needs of users that cannot come to the libraries.

Joannie of Cortez asked: What will happen when Referendum C & D comes out?
Savings Account For Education (SAFE) CAL is researching all angles of the referendums. They are hoping to be a supporter… Hoping that this will help all communities…

How do WE get there?

• Be stronger; we are getting to the point where all our building projects will be completed,
• Increase networking opportunities, build on current SW efforts,
• Getting a marketing person in, increase marketing (hire locally?),
• Encourage extended sessions with other boards,
• Find ways to get the community to see “us”,
• Create more opportunities for people to work,
• Directors meet and talk about what we need and talk about regional issues and successes,
• Build a community infrastructure so everyone knows what is going on and is better informed,
• Increase casual interaction opportunities,
• Hold “unconference” (free, informal conference) session in SW,
• Boards work with community leaders – communicate regularly,
• Say thank you for successes – tell how it’s going,
• Work together for cooperative purchasing, network and find out these technology opportunities.

Informational Listserves:

• CPLD listserve – valuable resource for the directors
• SW Listserve – great resource for all library workers

Please contact CLiC for information on how to get to these listserves.

We ended the meeting with a +/ Δ session for the meeting itself:

+/: thank you for coming, good time (not too short, not too long), good communication, good energy of presenters AND attendees,

Δ: (Somehow I think we skipped this part. :)


Martin Garnar: , 303.964.5459
Valerie Horton: , 303.422.1150
Gene Hainer: , 303.866.6733