September 17, 2019

Jeffco Library Community Survey Results

The Jefferson County Library has some challenges ahead: the Jefferson County Commissioners don’t typically fund the library at the full amount permitted under the library’s mill levy (which is controlled by the county), and it looks like they are going to take a bigger hit in 2011. As part of an effort to figure out how best to manage their budget restrictions, the Jeffco Library prepared a “State of the Library” update and they recently conducted a community survey.

The key conclusion of the survey: “A majority of Jefferson County residents who replied to the Library’s recent mail-in community survey feel that JCPL is doing an excellent or good job of meeting the needs of Jefferson County communities. Additionally, a majority of respondents strongly agreed that funding the Library is a good use of tax money and would rather see an increase in taxes to support libraries than see reductions in Library services.” Also, “[s]atisfaction with Library services and Library usage both ranked quite high among those completing the survey.”

Some of the other results:

  • Nearly 90 percent felt that JCPL does an excellent or good job in meeting the needs of local communities.
  • Over 80 percent said they currently have a Jefferson County Public Library card.
  • More than 80 percent also reported they had visited a Jefferson County Public Library location at least once in the previous 12 months.
  • Almost 85 percent strongly agreed that funding the library is a good use of tax money, and 97 percent of respondents at least somewhat agreed.
  • Over half of survey respondents strongly agreed that they would rather see an increase in taxes to support libraries rather than see reductions in library services, and 84 percent at least somewhat agreed.
  • Expansion of Library programs and services garnered robust support.
  • When asked to what extent they would support or oppose expansion of a variety of Library programs and services, two-thirds or more of respondents supported each of the options listed.
  • The most popular options for expansion, strongly supported by more than 40 percent of respondents and supported by over 90 percent, included:
    • resources for self-directed learning,
    • popular titles/current topics,
    • technology access and training,
    • early literacy/reading skills, and
    • support for educational achievement.
  • Those completing the survey were also in favor of technology improvements at the Library. The most popular options were more wireless Internet access, more online databases/resources, more computers/computer stations, more places to plug in laptop computers, and more computer classes/training.
  • The survey asked respondents what types of program or service reductions they would support if JCPL needed to cut services to meet lowered budgets. Of six options presented, the one with the most support was to reduce library hours of operation, supported by nearly two-thirds of respondents.
  • Two options were supported by about as many respondents as opposed them; these were reducing or eliminating outreach programs to special populations and reducing or eliminating classes and programs.
  • A third or less of respondents supported the idea of reducing or eliminating technology access and training, or reducing the collections, while two-thirds of respondents or more opposed these options.
  • The option with the least support was to permanently close one or more libraries; this alternative was supported by only 14 percent of respondents and opposed by 86 percent.

According to the Jeffco Library, the mail-in survey was sent to more than 3,800 randomly selected households in Jefferson County. They had 924 responses (24%) with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.  You can download the entire report if you want to read more.