Impact of State & Local Budget Cuts Felt by Public Library Users

While Colorado public libraries thrived from the 1990’s into the new millennium, state and local budget cuts that began to take effect in mid-2002 (i.e., at the beginning of the 2003 fiscal year) had a notable negative impact on public library users.

Between 2001 and 2002, Colorado library users…

  • visited libraries 1.6 million fewer times,
  • borrowed 742,266 fewer items, and
  • asked 381,097 fewer reference questions.

During this interval, local libraries lost almost 101,000 borrowers from their own communities.

At the same time, more than 20,000 additional library users requested and were granted borrowing privileges at libraries other than their home libraries— presumably among the most beleaguered— through the Colorado Library Card program.

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