School district 9R plans to cover branch library staff in 2018

School district plans to cover branch library staff in 2018
Posted on 05/28/2017

Durango School District 9R and the Friends of the Durango Public Library have partnered with La Plata County to ensure funding continuity in 2018 for the branch libraries at Sunnyside and Fort Lewis Mesa elementary schools.  The Durango School District 9R Board of Education on May 23 gave direction to Superintendent Dan Snowberger to include funding for the branch library employees in the 2017-2018 budget. The 9R board will consider the budget at its June 20 meeting.

 “At this point in time, the intent is for 9R to absorb the branch library staff and keep libraries open at least on the current schedule,” Snowberger said, adding that the district will likely test expanded hours next year to gauge demand for the branch libraries. The District received one-time funding through the Sustainability of Rural Colorado Act, SB 17-267, making it possible to cover the branch libraries’ staff costs for 2018.

The Friends of the Durango Public Library has indicated that it will provide funding for books and supplies at the branch libraries.

In addition to this one-year commitment, the school district, Durango Public Library staff and La Plata County officials will work together with the communities that the branch libraries serve to craft a long-term community solution to ensuring adequate resources are available for the branch libraries.

 La Plata County is projecting significant revenue declines for 2018 and must make difficult but necessary adjustments to discretionary expenditures. The branch libraries are important resources for the community and the Board of County Commissioners has been actively seeking alternative funding sources for libraries in light of the county’s fiscal constraints.

 “Next year’s anticipated revenue decline has forced the county’s hand in not being able to fund the libraries,” said Commissioner Julie Westendorff. “The libraries are very important educational and community centers for the rural areas that they serve. We very much appreciate this funding bridge from 9R and the Friends of the Library. I look forward to working with 9R and the community to help identify long-term, sustainable funding for the libraries.”