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Anythink Library will go out into the community to celebrate its ten-year anniversary with community meetings in July, with an eye towards possible expansion.
“We’re going on the road, out into the community throughout July, meeting people where they’re at,” Stacie Ledden, director of innovation for the library system.
The library hopes to host three meetings in July, in Northglenn, Reunion and Thornton.
“We are doing a master plan, looking at our existing libraries and having discussions with the folks out in Reunion about building a library out there and the people in Thornton about another one here. And then we’re talking about looking at the possibility of creating a career library in Northglenn in an existing space.”
The Anythink system currently has seven branches — the Huron Street, York Street and Wright Farms branches in Thornton, the Perl Mack branch in Denver and branches in Brighton, Bennett and Commerce City.
The library system separated from Adams County in 2004, becoming a special taxing district.
“They gave us their blessing, but told us we could not take the `Adams County’ name,” Ledden said.
A community contest to name the library renamed the system the Rangeview Library system. Voters approved a property tax increase in 2006, giving the library a $3.69 property tax mill rate — about $110.70 per year in property taxes on a home valued at $300,000. That has not changed since 2006, Ledden said.
“So we’ve actually done quite a lot with a relatively small budget,” Ledden said. “That property tax increase tripled our budget at the time, but it made us the second worst funded library per capita in the area.”
The system began changing its model in 2008, trying to curate experiences and a variety of kinds of information rather than simply books.
“All of those materials are really here to support peoples hopes and dreams and spark their creativity,” Ledden said. “Using that vision helped us change our approach to library services and to create spaces that really are destinations.”
The library does not charge overdue book fines, doesn’t use the Dewey decimal system and trains staff to greet patrons when they arrive. The new approach deserved a new name and in 2009, the system came up with the Anythink name and logo.
“We wanted a brand that better represented the kinetic nature of what we were trying to do,” Ledden said. “We wanted a brand that people could be excited about.”
A bid to increase the property taxes failed at the polls in 2018, losing by less than one percent.
“That was an incredibly humbling experience,” Ledden said. “The need has grown. We have these very beautiful facilities, but we’ve also added 100,000 people since we were formed in 2006. So this is not sustainable right now, and that’s why we’re doing this master plan.”
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