Friday, June 15, 2012

Forum on potential Manitou Library merger with PPLD

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Is it high time for the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) to include the public library nearest to Pikes Peak itself? (Actually, PPLD's Ute Pass Library in Cascade might be closer, but that's to split hairs.)

That's exactly what the Manitou Springs Public Library Task Force wants to discuss. In a press release, the Task Force announced the first of several public meetings "in which Manitou Springs citizens can ask questions, voice concerns and explore the benefits and possibilities of joining the Pikes Peak Library District."

The meeting will take place Monday at 7 p.m., at the Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave.

Task Force member and Friends of the Library president Laura Ettinger cites budgetary reasons as the impetus for considering the merger.

"We realized that if we were going to be able create a library that was going to be sustainable, that we couldn't rely solely on city funding," she says. Currently, the library exists outside of any designated library district. Special district status would make the library's funding autonomous from the city budget, and so less vulnerable to the ups and downs of the local economy.

Manitou Springs Public Library in about 1912.
  • Manitou Springs Public Library in "about 1912" — from the website
An increased budget would likely be used to fund proposed expansion plans to the library, which include making the facility fully handicapp-accessible and purchasing more technology for library users.

The proposed merger with PPLD comes after years of exploring other options. One option the Friends of the Library considered was creating a library district unique to Manitou Springs. This, however, would have required a voter-approved mill levy to create an autonomous fund, and would have lacked the extensive resources of the sprawling PPLD. In any case, when the task force brought these and other options to the Manitou Springs City Council, the council expressed the most enthusiasm for the PPLD route.

One likely topic of conversation at the community forums will be the fate of the physical building. Like Penrose Library and Old Colorado City Library, Manitou's is a Carnegie library. The historic building — which conforms to Manitou's unique architectural style — was opened in early 1911 following a $6,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation. Unlike many of the 1,689 Carnegie libraries built in the U.S. between 1883 and 1919, the Manitou Springs Public Library has operated continuously ever since.

According to Ettinger, the eventual aim of the discussions is to create an intergovernmental agreement that hammers out the logistics of any merger, including the possible lease of the building itself. She hopes to begin gathering signatures for a petition to bring the measure to Manitou voters this November.

Full press release below:

A series of community meetings to discuss the proposed merger between the MS Public Library and the Pikes Peak Library District.

1st Meeting: Monday, June 18, 7-8:30 p.m.

Manitou Springs City Hall (Memorial Hall) 606 Manitou Ave.

The Library Task force will hold the first in a series of community meetings in order to create a forum in which Manitou Springs citizens can ask questions, voice concerns and explore the benefits and possibilities of joining the Pikes Peak Library District. All interested parties are welcome to attend and add their feedback.

About the Library Task Force
The Task Force originated in October 2011 and was the result of over two years of research into how to create a library that would be sustainable into the next century. Dates and locations for the petition signings and public forums will be posted in local news media as well as on Facebook, email and community calendars. To keep up with ongoing information, sign up for email updates at



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