Owens’ budget cuts limit inter-library loans
SUMMIT COUNTY – The local library won’t be as reader-friendly after July 1, when more than $2.3 million in budget cuts, approved by Gov. Bill Owens, go into effect. The cuts eliminate a number of services – including inter-library loans and funds -including state grant money – on which small libraries depend.
With the Colorado Resource Center’s funding cut, it will be more difficult for Summit County library users to borrow materials from the Denver Public Library (DPL).
The resource center will lose two staff members who focus entirely on dealing with the volume of loan requests from small libraries around the state. Through the resource center, the DPL loaned 70,000 books to smaller libraries last year.
The DPL also will have to discontinue its toll-free telephone and fax lines for receiving reference questions from other libraries as well as its Web site for libraries around the state.
The Summit County Library borrowed 2,622 items through inter-library loans last year, half of which were from the DPL, according to Summit County Library Director Joyce Dierauer. The Summit County Public Library includes the south branch in Breckenridge, the main branch in Frisco and the north branch in Silverthorne.
“There wasn’t a day went by we didn’t request something from DPL, be it older books, or government documents,” Dierauer said. “They were our source for things we just don’t have in our collection. We could count that, and we won’t be able to count on it anymore.
No longer able to rely on the DPL for materials, Summit County Library staffers plan to take a more regional approach to library loans, asking the Aspen, Vail and Avon libraries for materials before requesting them from Denver.
“We’ll continue to try to find materials people need, but we’re telling them up front it’ll take longer,” Dierauer said. “Loans won’t go through as quickly, and some won’t go through at all.”
Another state budget cut eliminates the $2 million State Grants to Libraries program, which qualifies public libraries and schools based on population. These cuts also will hit Summit County Library hard – the library received $7,116 from the program last year.
“Last year we bought over $2,000 of English as a Second Language (ESL) materials for a number of languages with the grant money,” Dierauer said.
But the grant cuts will be especially detrimental to small libraries in Colorado’s plains, which depend on this money to buy new books, Dierauer said.
A third budget cut, the elimination of the Payment for Loans program, means libraries that lend more materials than they borrow will no longer receive reimbursement for loans. The University of Colorado at Boulder library, as well as smaller university libraries, might not be able to loan as many materials.
“This will make it harder for anyone trying to do serious academic research,” Dierauer said. “The cost of borrowing materials may have to be passed on to the library user.”
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