Special guest post by Currie Meyer, Manager of Council Tree Library
Recently, I stopped to chat with a Council Tree Library “regular”. A friendly mom of four young children, she has attended storytimes with each of them since the oldest – now eleven – was a baby. As we talked, her eleven-year-old daughter lingered. I marveled to my friend how much her daughter had grown.
Her mom asked her daughter, “Do you remember Currie? From storytime? We used to come every week.”
The girl looked shyly at me and vaguely shook her head. Her mom and I chuckled and sighed at the seemingly incredible passage of ten years.
Like my friend’s not-so-little girl, Council Tree Library has also grown up in remarkable ways since our opening ten years ago.
Council Tree Library first opened its doors on a snowy March 29, 2009. Local elected officials, City leaders, project architects, representatives of the Library Board of Trustees, Friends and Trust, Library administration, and a record-setting 3,000 gleeful library lovers attended the grand opening.
Council Tree Library came into being as the result of a successful 2006 ballot initiative that asked area voters for approval of the establishment of a regional library district, independent of the City of Fort Collins. The voters agreed to a three mil property tax levy to support said district, and to build a new library on the southeast side of Fort Collins. The vote passed by a 65% margin. The southeast branch library became the Council Tree Library.
Since opening ten years ago, Council Tree Library has become a popular community gathering place. More than three million people have visited since 2009! Council Tree Library welcomes about 950 people every day of the week – more in January and June, when over 1,400 people typically visit in a single day. Since 2010, our first full operating year, visits to Council Tree Library have increased steadily by 3% per year.
On any given day, Council Tree Library staff of 33 answer an average of 200 questions. Around 20 staff shelve about 250 books and other items daily. We provide an organized and inviting collection, expert reading advice, computer help, a welcoming building, and help navigating a wide array of information. Staff plan and present over 500 programs – including storytimes, hands-on creative programs, and book discussions – every year at Council Tree. All this, and a friendly ‘hello’ to boot.
Over the past ten years, just under seven million items have been borrowed from our library location. Thanks to Council Tree Library’s many book-loving families, almost half of those items have been children’s books!
In 2010, Council Tree Library was the nation’s first public library to be awarded LEED Platinum status for interior finish. Even with this award, we’ve continued to invest in the building. Projects over the last decade include expanded exterior signage, new paint, more efficient service desks, increased display shelving, new furniture and upholstery, an automated materials sorting system, improved storage, HVAC improvements, new window shades, and installation of highly efficient lighting.
Like my friend’s daughter, Council Tree Library has grown up fast. We’re proud of Council Tree Library’s roots, and have reveled in the daily opportunity to serve the community.
In the next decade, Library District leadership envisions an even more vibrant Council Tree Library; one that continues to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, makes everyone feel truly welcome, and connects curious library customers with innovative services, collections, and programs. Our next decade will certainly come and go quickly. In that time, we hope to grow as gracefully as my friend’s daughter has.