Denver Public Library Asks Mayor for $3.3 Million

Denver Public Library officials seek a budget increase of $3.3 million. The library’s request is more than twice the amount recommended by Mayor John Hickenlooper’s office, $1.4 million.

The library is eager to restore its budget, which has been reduced by $6 million between 2002 and 2005. The cuts have deeply impacted personnel. Staff has been reduced by 12%, from 460 full-time positions in 2002 to 416 in 2005. Library hours have suffered as well, with an 11% decrease in hours between 2002 and 2005.

It is no accident that the library is receiving its first budget increase in half a decade. Denver is enjoying its largest budget surplus in years, and the library is committed to reclaiming its former funding. Most of the budget increase, says City Librarian Shirley Amore, will be used to extend library hours.

But city officals observe that the library faces great competition for funding. Departments across the city are clamoring to restore their own budgets. “There is all this pent-up demand to restore some of the cuts from previous years,” says Margaret Brown, manager of budget and finance.

Brown says the administration is working with libraries to deliver “the package that has the most impact” for the community.