Originally printed by Boulder Daily Camera: https://www.dailycamera.com/2019/11/16/tim-williams-north-boulder-library-key-priority/
By Tim Williams
In 1974, 26-year-old author Stephen King published his debut novel, “Carrie.” It was actually the fourth novel he’d written, but the first to be published. It was the year President Richard Nixon resigned. A home in Boulder cost just $35,000. It was also the year the Boulder Library Foundation was created — little did we know the impact it would have over the next 45 years.
Incorporated in 1974, the foundation was formed as a way for people to directly support the library and its programs — outside of the city budgeting process. That support has been critical as library attendance and subsequent programming has grown exponentially while the operating budget has remained relatively unchanged over the last 15 years. Even today, as there is increased conversation about the need to establish permanent and sustainable funding streams for the library, our role and support, as the foundation, has never been more critical as we look to the future.
The foundation funds 90% of all library programs and has contributed more than $1.8 million over the past five years. Coupled with the amazing vision, tireless work, and outstanding dedication of the library staff, these donations provide programs like Summer of Discovery, the Canyon Gallery exhibits, the monthly concert series, and STEAM initiatives offered at the BLDG 61 Makerspace. These programs continue to grow year-over-year and now serve more than 100,000 people annually. All told, through foundation funding, the library can produce more than 4,000 programs annually.
Boulder is proudly a community of library lovers. More than 126,000 Boulderites are library cardholders representing nearly 96% of all households — that’s 55% growth over the past decade. We are home to the busiest library of its size in Colorado, recently surpassing 1 million visitors annually and averaging over 3,000 visits per day to library branches across Boulder.
Although many people only associate the library with books, our work goes well beyond the Dewey decimal system as we embrace learning and literacy in all its forms. Our library is shaping our future. It is a critical community space that inspires creativity, empowers innovation, and encourages lifelong learning. It offers innovative and engaging literacy, cultural and creative programs to everyone in our community. Our library is continually reinventing itself to best meet our community’s needs, and Boulderites clearly love it. Our library is the cornerstone of our community, and programs are the heart of our library.
Our foundation is fully committed to helping define and shape the physical future of the library. The construction of a new North Boulder Library branch has been a key priority for several years. Designed by world-renowned architects WORKac, the new branch will become a showcase and landmark designed to become a public monument that will highlight an array of possibilities for net-zero and green architecture for cities across the globe.
With groundbreaking just around the corner, the foundation is leading the charge with a $1.5 million capital campaign to ensure all of the innovative and creative features currently planned are fully funded. This includes a maker space, children’s playground, and community plaza — all integral elements to ensure the new North Boulder Library Branch is a thriving center of community education, resources, and engagement.
We invite you, your colleagues, your friends, and your family to help us support the construction and development of the new North Boulder Library. To kick off the season of giving, our board members have personally pledged to commit a dollar-for-dollar match for the first $17,500 raised through the end of 2019.
Please join us in supporting this community treasure and ensuring all of Boulder enjoys the connections and innovations of our libraries. Donations can be made at boulderlibraryfoundation.org and we always welcome your thoughts and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Williams is Vice President of the Boulder Library Foundation.