Recommendations For the Conifer Library To Be Presented in August
The Jefferson County Public Library board will hear recommendations for providing better services for Conifer when it meets on Aug. 17 after hearing feedback from the community on what it wants from its library.
The Conifer library service area is colored in teal on this Jefferson County map. The Jefferson County Public Library board will hear recommendations for service on Aug. 17.
Nearly 650 people participated in meetings, surveys and interviews in May, and their message was obvious, Ryan Wallace with consultant EUA told the library board on July 20.
Conifer library users want more materials to check out, a better location, better parking and the library to be open more hours, according to the survey results. People want a library with places for quiet reading and small meetings, a focus on the materials available for diverse user needs, an appropriate children’s and teens area, and services that are accessible to all patrons, he said.
The community wants a place to be able to gather, have meetings and attend classes or programs.
“We feel this level of engagement completes the picture of what library service needs are,” said Julianne Rist, director of public services.
The library board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Lakewood Library meeting room, 10200 W. 20th Ave., Lakewood. A Zoom option also is available.
The Conifer Area Council has been advocating for a library outside of the walls of Conifer High School for several years based on the feedback from a survey it conducts.
The Conifer library has been in CHSl since 1996, and library users have complained about the lack of hours, little parking and the stairs to access the library. The 8,900-square-foot library space is open to the public when school is not in session, and it has longer hours in the summers.
The library board began looking at meeting the needs of Conifer library users after Jeffco Public Schools changed start times for high schools beginning in August. Last school year, school ended at 3 p.m. Once school starts in August, school will end at 3:45 p.m.
The library board has budgeted $2.5 million this year for what it calls the "Conifer library opportunity."
Rist said library officials used the Conifer library service area as the boundary for Conifer since it is not a city as it has analyzed services. They estimate 10,000 people live in the primarily rural area. The population is not expected to increase a lot in the next five to 10 years, she said.
Rist said Conifer was a diverse community with diverse wants and needs, and it may be a challenge to satisfy all of the community’s library wants. While some respondents said they wanted the library to be moved out of CHS, she said some survey respondents said they wanted to keep it there out of concern for the impact a move would have on students.
She noted that the school is required to have a media center, so if the Conifer library moved from the school building, the district would need to create a library in that building.
Board member Charles Naumer said what he took away from Conifer residents’ responses was that they felt like they were encroaching on a high school library, and they didn’t feel welcome in the space.
Wallace said the consultants heard loud and clear that the lack of daytime library hours was a huge concern, noting that if daytime hours were available, a move likely wouldn’t be needed. Yet with increased security at schools, it would be difficult to allow the public into the library during the day.
~The Canyon Courier