Children’s Services in Colorado Public Libraries

Children’s services have traditionally been an important part of most public libraries. Libraries try to cultivate love of reading and school readiness skills through story times, programming, and building good children’s collections. Recent research establishing the critical importance of early learning and stimulation to child development and later success in school confirms the importance of children’s services in public libraries. But how are children’s services faring in Colorado’s public libraries in the current difficult economic environment?

In 1995 Colorado’s circulation of children’s materials as a percentage of total circulation (35%) was about the national average (35%) (see Chart 1 in full report). In the years leading up to fiscal year 2001, the most recent year for which national data is available, the national percentage increased steadily from 35 percent to 37 percent while Colorado’s circulation of children’s materials has fluctuated. In 2001, the national average for children’s circulation was 37 percent of total circulation and Colorado’s statewide percentage was also 37%. Preliminary statewide data in for fiscal year 2003 shows a drop in circulation of children’s materials to 35 percent of total circulation.

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This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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