Jeff Riley, Executive Director

Letter from Jeff Riley, Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Wow, what an up-and-down start to 2022. On the upside, the pandemic appears to be waning. On the downside, history is repeating itself with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and rising inflation. I hope this note and our Q1 2022 newsletter will be more of an upside for you!

If you gave to us, volunteered with us or advocated for us in 2021, thank you. One of our most significant projects – fundraising for the Central Library renovation – continues on budget and on time. The Foundation and library are grateful to have secured an additional $10 million toward that project from the City last year. The first major element – the new Children’s Library – is scheduled to be completed and reopen on April 24. Please be on the lookout for additional information about the Children’s Library reopening.

Together, the Foundation and library are also working to obtain more sustainable funding and update the library’s governance structure. Did you know that the library receives a smaller percentage of the city budget than it did in 2000? Or that the Arapahoe County Library District budget is two times greater per capita than the DPL budget? I won’t go into great detail in this letter other than to say that the Foundation convened a community-wide Task Force at the request of the Library Commission to explore funding and governance. The Task Force worked long and hard to develop a report that recommends exploring a dedicated sales or property tax for the library and the possibility of the Denver Public Library becoming a Library District.

I like to study history and philosophy, so I re-read Viktor Frankl’s classic book Man’s Search for Meaning. My take on this book is that meaning develops as we learn to exist for something beyond ourselves. As we adjust to COVID-19 as an endemic rather than a pandemic and take in news about war in Europe, I find that being a part of the library helps me know that I am working for something beyond myself, because the library is one of the great causes in our world. I hope the same is true for you!

Best wishes,