The Delta County Libraries Board of Trustees approves a variety of policies related to the library district and its services. Some of the policies and by-laws are listed here; please contact the libraries if you have questions.

ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

General

Why did the District temporarily close Crawford and Hotchkiss Libraries in August?

In August, Delta County Libraries (District) was at a critically deficient staffing level with its North Fork Library Team. As a result, the District decided to close the Crawford and Hotchkiss libraries temporarily until new staff were adequately trained in early September. Crawford and Hotchkiss libraries reopened September 19 and 20, respectively, after three new staff members joined the North Fork Library Team. (Refer to the Financial section and Staff and Volunteers section for details.)

Is the District selling the Crawford and Paonia library buildings?

The District is not selling the Crawford or Paonia library buildings. Earlier this year, the District Board created a sustainable plan for the Crawford and Paonia buildings in order to decrease the expenses of these two buildings that the District owns. The Board’s approach was to work with the communities of Crawford and Paonia to achieve community ownership of the buildings. Two successful community-owned building models are already used by the District with the Cedaredge building and the new Delta building. With the Cedaredge model, the District leases the building from the Cedaredge Library Foundation for $12 per year and pays for routine maintenance and utilities. The Foundation pays for all exterior maintenance, landscaping, and major HVAC repairs. With the new Delta model, the District leases its share of the building from the City of Delta and pays for routine maintenance and utilities for the library space. The City pays for all exterior maintenance, landscaping, and its share of utilities. In early July, the District Board decided not to pursue either model and will continue District ownership of the Crawford and Paonia buildings. (Refer to the Financial section and Delta Library Project section for details.)

What is the structure of the District?

The Delta County Public Library District is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado with its own governing body. It is not a division of Delta County government nor any other local municipality. The District Board of Trustees is a citizen-governing board consisting of 7 voting members. Members are appointed by the Delta County Commissioners following recommendations from the District Board. There is one member for each community with a library (5 total) and 2 members that are at-large. The District Board operates under the authority of, and according to the duties and responsibilities defined in the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 24-90-1 (the Colorado Library Law), CRS 24-6-4 (Open Meetings Law) and other applicable statutes. The District Board holds regular monthly meetings and posts public notice of meetings at least 24 hours in advance at each library and on the District’s website at www.deltalibraries.org. The purpose of the monthly meetings is for the District Board to conduct their business. The public is welcome to attend monthly meetings and the agenda includes time for public comment.

Financial

How does the District get its funding?

Delta County Libraries is a special taxing district. The property tax levy income it receives is used only for Delta County Libraries. Property tax revenue funds approximately 70% of the District’s revenue stream. Sales tax revenue funds approximately 10% of the District’s revenue stream. The sales tax is distributed annually to the District by Delta County as a result of a 1% Delta County sales tax measure that passed in 1969. Of those funds, the County appropriates up to $50,000 per year for capital maintenance, such as building and equipment, and approximately $87,967 per year for operating expenses. The balance of funding comes from miscellaneous sources including fines, fees, donations and grants. The District is not a division of the County government nor any other local municipality.

What is the budget process and how can the public participate?

Every August, the County assessor certifies the total new assessed and actual values (for real and personal property) used to compute the statutory and TABOR property tax revenue limits. During the month of September, the District Budget Committee reviews the proposed budget presented by the District Director which is based on the revenue estimated by the assessor. The proposed budget must be submitted to the District Board by mid-October. The District Board publishes the “Notice of Budget” and the time period for public comment and objections begins. The District Board conducts a public hearing on the proposed budget (2024 Proposed Budget) during a regular meeting. Finally, the District Board adopts the budget in December. The public may inspect the proposed budget and file or register any objections thereto, in writing, at any time prior to the final adoption of the budget at the December District Board meeting.

Does the District own buildings?

The District owns Crawford Library and Paonia Library. Delta Library & Innovation Workspace is owned by the City of Delta, Cedaredge Library is owned by the Cedaredge Library Foundation, and Hotchkiss Library is owned by Hotchkiss Memorial Hall. The District does not pay rent for the Delta Library building but is responsible for some maintenance to the Library portion of the building. The District pays $12 per year for the Cedaredge Library and is responsible for some maintenance. The District pays $2,400 per year for the Hotchkiss Library, maintains the building, and manages reservations for Memorial Hall. The District pays for the use of meeting rooms at Memorial Hall for library programs and meetings.

Are grants and donations possible funding alternatives to a mill levy increase?

Public libraries in Colorado are supported primarily by local tax revenues. Per its establishing documents and by-laws, the District is a “publicly-supported library,” which is defined in Colorado Library Law as “a library supported principally with money derived from taxation.” The District is very limited in the types of grants it is eligible for and often grants create additional expenses. For example, the District may receive a grant to purchase equipment, but the cost of researching, installing, monitoring and maintaining the equipment is not covered by the grant. The District Foundation and various other nonprofits (for example, Library Friend groups) support the District with funds received by donations, memberships, book sales, etc. These organizations play a vital role in supporting the District but are limited as to what they can provide. Typically, they support special programs or projects rather than operational expenses. For example, the District Foundation may support the annual Summer Reading Program with funding for program supplies, presenters, and reading incentives, but not for the personnel expenses associated with planning and delivering an 8-week program. In summary, while the District is eligible for some types of grants and can receive donations, these funding sources only account for approximately 5% of the District’s annual operating budget.

Delta Library Project

Why did the Delta Library move to a new building?

The Delta Library has moved to the renovated City Market building, which is owned by the City of Delta, located at 124 E 6th Street in Delta. The City of Delta sold the Carnegie building to Delta County so that the County can expand the Sheriff’s office. The new building houses the Delta Library and the City’s co-working and makerspace. The District never owned the Carnegie building and does not own the new library building. If the District had remained in the Carnegie building, its future maintenance responsibilities would have been two to three times higher than moving to the newly renovated building. The District did not contribute any library property tax revenue, which is its primary revenue source, toward this building project. The funds allocated for this project are distributed to the District from the County as capital funds (refer back to financial section for details).

Who paid for the renovations of the new building?

The District did not contribute any library property tax revenue, which is its primary revenue source, toward this building project. The funds allocated for this project were distributed to the District from the County annually as capital funds. The County paid for the bulk of the renovation project by contributing over 2.4 million dollars. The City of Delta contributed $834,000 of its Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) received through the American Rescue Plan Act to this project. The allowable uses of SLFRF are restricted and this project was eligible because of the co-working and makerspace components. The City also contributed $430,000 of Rural Economic Development Grant funds received through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).  The District’s contribution was $534,000 to be paid from the capital funds distributed annually from the County (refer back to financial section for details). If the District had remained in the Carnegie building, its maintenance responsibilities would have been two to three times higher than the cost of moving to the newly renovated building. The $50,000 that the District receives annually from the County for capital projects has benefited all five libraries in Delta County for many years.

Staff and Volunteers

Why do the libraries have a staffing shortage?

The District strives to be a competitive employer in Delta County and struggles to hire new staff and retain staff for many reasons, some of which are budget-related. Neighboring counties like Mesa, Montrose and Gunnison are able to pay higher wages and recruit library professionals. In Delta County, it is easier to fill the entry-level circulation positions but very difficult to fill the specialized positions that require library experience. Since March of 2020 when COVID-19-related closures went into effect, the Libraries have lost many employees to early retirement, higher wages, and more flexible schedules. Additionally, when offering open positions to candidates, many decline to accept positions because they want higher pay or a more flexible schedule.

Why can't volunteers staff the Libraries?

The District currently utilizes and will continue to utilize our dedicated and highly-valued volunteers at all libraries. When employing volunteers, the District follows Fair Labor Standards Act and Colorado Library Law, which restricts the responsibilities of volunteers. Violations to Colorado privacy laws can be prosecuted as misdemeanors. Library volunteers compliment the work that library staff members are hired to do. Volunteers work on projects and many of them do shelving and cleaning. Volunteers make valuable contributions under the supervision of trained and experienced library employees. Library staff members are trained to offer consistent library services to every patron. They are responsible for understanding and complying with district-wide policies and procedures that are essential for daily operations. Library staff members are accountable for the oversight of valuable equipment and materials. They are trained to find and evaluate relevant information for diverse populations, ages, and needs. Library staff members are specifically trained to ascertain and meet people’s needs. So, while volunteers are a valuable component of a successful District, they cannot replace a skilled and trained team of library staff members.

How can I help?

There are so many ways that library supporters can help!

  • Join your local Friends of the Library
  • Submit an application to volunteer
  • Use your library card
  • Stay informed about what is happening at your libraries
  • Make a donation
  • Visit your libraries and www.deltalibraries.org regularly
  • Join City Market Rewards and designate the Delta County Libraries’ Foundation as the recipient
  • Attend Library Board meetings
  • Follow Delta County Libraries on Facebook
  • Tell your friends and neighbors how important your libraries are to you