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Denver Public Library planning for funding boost approved by voters

Denver Public Library
Posted at 8:59 PM, Dec 09, 2022

DENVER - This week, Denver's Finance and Governance Committee gave their official approval of the Denver Public Library Special Revenue Fund. The measure, approved by voters back in November, gives $32,161,008 to the Denver Public Library (DPL) for 2023.

"We still haven't gotten back to our full hours since before the pandemic. That's why we're really excited about this additional funding to be able to expand our access and expand our hours," said Olivia Gallegos with the Denver Public Library.

The ballot measure identified possible services in need of more funding, including increasing pay for librarians, increasing technology for people lacking internet and enhancing programs and services for children, adults, communities of color, immigrants and refugees. It also identified a need in expanding resources for job hunters and expanding the library's collection of books and media.

Denver7 got a look at some services offered by DPL.

"You would think a grandma would know how to do this. I don't," said Johanna Holy Elk Face, who is learning to sew at the ideaLAB at the Rodolfo 'Corky' Gonzales branch. "I wouldn't have known how to use the [sewing] machine. I wouldn't know how to do the sewings and different stitches. It's exciting. It's fun to me."

On Friday, she was sewing potholders to sell for a Native American arts and crafts show. Nearly everything she needed for the project was there, and for free.

"We just bring our material or they have material and everything — the scissors and all of that, they have. All the supplies are here," said Holy Elk Face. "I come here to finish making ribbon skirts for our culture. And [the instructor] helps me with how to do that."

There are several ideaLABs across the DPL branches, and in them you'll find other creative materials like hardware tools, crafting supplies and 3D printers.

"Your library card is absolutely free, and anybody can come in here, use the materials and make whatever their heart desires," said Gallegos.

Every library branch offers free internet, computer and printer access, something DPL leaders said they realized was particularly important during the pandemic when a lot of things moved online.

"You can't do everything from a phone. You can't necessarily apply to college or complete a housing application or job application," Gallegos said. "We will lend out laptops and hotspots for folks to take home for a little bit while longer."

Referred Ballot Measure 21 increased Denver's mill levy rate by 1.5 mills starting on January 1. DPL said its library commission will make the final say as to how the more than $32 million of special funding will be used. Their next meeting is Dec. 15.