About 70 percent of the registered voters in Douglas County requested mail ballots this year. I've already got mine. And like an estimated 70 percent …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
About 70 percent of the registered voters in Douglas County
requested mail ballots this year. I've already got mine. And like
an estimated 70 percent of that group, I'll fill it out and return
it in three days.
So by the time you read this, the election, at least in Douglas
County, may be over. But please do not let that stop you from
voting. We won't know the results until Nov. 4, and every vote
It really does. Last year, the library lost its measure by just
210 votes out of 42,000 cast. Only 34 percent of the voters showed
up last year. A little more than half of them — so 17 percent of
our voters — decided the question.
I'll be honest. Although I went into last year's election, as I
go into this one, understanding that the universe persists in doing
what it does, not what I want it to do, that loss was surprisingly
painful. I found it personally disappointing that the election was
lost in my own home town of Castle Rock.
As one of our newer facilities, reflecting the many things we've
learned in recent years, the Philip S. Miller Library is a model of
21st century librarianship. It is deeply integrated into the life
of our community, demonstrating its value in many ways every single
But I have concluded the obvious: Library use does not
automatically translate into library support. Our demand is at
least nine times greater than the national average. Yet we narrowly
lost an election right after our period of greatest gain.
We can cite our return on investment study all day long. An
independent agency demonstrated that we return $5.02 in services,
goods, and value for every tax dollar. But some people simply
cannot make the jump of thinking of taxes as investments — even
when the dividend is a community they can be proud of.
We can point out our astonishing services to children. We
provide thousands of programs every year. We check out more
children's materials than any library in the state, when we are not
the largest library, or have the most children, or even the most
children's books. But if you don't have children yourself, you may
not appreciate the value of early literacy.
We can underscore the point that our negotiation of donated land
collapses if the library loses this election. That would make any
future expansion many times more expensive, in locations not nearly
as well centered. But people who haven't negotiated such agreements
think, "how hard can it be?"
Eighteen years ago, Douglas County's libraries were reckoned
dead last among Colorado's library systems. Today, according to a
recent national ranking, we are among the top five in the entire
United States. That speaks volumes (hah) about the keen interest of
our residents in competent and responsive service.
But in the 12 years since our last tax increase, we've developed
some capital needs that require reinvestment.
Like everyone else, I've watched with concern the recent
economic thrashings on Wall Street. But I also know this: Library
use takes a big jump at such times, further straining an already
I know, too, that tomorrow's jobs will not find their beginning
on Wall Street. They'll start on Castle Pine's Monarch Boulevard,
Castle Rock's Wilcox Street, Highlands Ranch Parkway, Lone Tree's
Lincoln Avenue, Parker's Mainstreet, and Roxborough's Rampart Range
They'll start with someone researching a business idea at the
I believe that while public libraries are not the only tool
communities can or should use in order to thrive, it is one of our
Douglas County Libraries has worked hard to earn the thoughtful
support of our residents, and has made its case in detail to anyone
who would listen.
In turn, we have listened to voter concerns, and tightened our
proposal accordingly. We reduced the request to a single mill. We
will sunset 40 percent of the increase when our new buildings are
Humbly, I ask for your vote in support of the future of your
That vote will ensure stronger libraries for our entire county,
to the immediate benefit of all our communities.
Please, say YES to libraries in 2008.
Jamie LaRue is director of Douglas County Libraries. LaRue’s
Views expressed in his column are his alone. Contact LaRue at
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.