Libraries are aspirational. In good times and bad, they reflect the way we see ourselves and see our community. Our 2022 annual report is a time to look back and also forward. Each year, I have the privilege to reflect on our previous year’s accomplishments and share my thoughts about whether we are continuing to meet our mission: “connecting people, ideas and information to transform lives and strengthen our community.”
Last year, like many before it, was an eventful one. In November 2022, Boulder voters passed a citizen-initiated ballot measure to create a Boulder Public Library District, which secured dedicated funding for the library for years to come. The vote was the culmination of a 30+ year long discussion about how to support a vibrant, innovative and inclusive library and reflected the tireless work of many dedicated volunteers. It is certainly a major accomplishment and stands out from the day to day and year to year work the library does. But it does not overshadow that work.
The importance of libraries is measured through the services we offer and our commitment to collaboration and respect. Each day there is reason to acknowledge and celebrate the dignity and resourcefulness of members of our community. It is their work that defines what the library is and gives the library mission meaning.
Let me tell you just one story. In the months just prior to the pandemic, a mother of four came to the library and signed up for BoulderReads – our adult literacy program. She shared her story. She told us that she had never completed high school and explained that her oldest son showed little interest in education. She set a goal to prove to herself that she was capable. And she made a bargain with her son: ‘I will finish high school if you finish.” In 2022, she completed her Colorado Online High School Diploma through BoulderReads and the Boulder Public Library with grant funding from the Boulder Library Foundation. Raising four children through a pandemic seems like enough. To do so while also earning a high school diploma is a true accomplishment. Her name is Hope Angulo. Her story gives meaning to the work we all do. Hope is why libraries exist.
In an interview, Hope said; “My son never dropped out. I am a very proud mother. My eldest graduated from high school. And I am proud of myself. My future plans are to find a well fit and paying job so I can support my family. I would like to be more self-sufficient.”
Please enjoy reading the Boulder Public Library 2022 Annual Report. I encourage you to review the data and stories presented in the following pages. As we emerge from the pandemic and into a slightly new form, it is my hope that the good work we do continues.
– David Farnan, Library Director