After the 2018 election loss to fund a new library, we continued a dialogue with our community to better understand both sides of the ballot issue, as well as how we can move forward as a library district, and continue to provide outstanding services and resources for our residents.
The Clearview Library District Board placed measure 6C on the 2018 ballot to fund the construction and operation of a new library facility at the corner of Main Street (Highway 392) and Chimney Park Drive. The measure failed to pass — 10,238 votes to 6,018 votes with a 68.1% district voter turnout. This loss follows a similar ballot measure attempt in 2017, which failed 3,642 votes to 3,035 votes with a 31.7% district voter turnout.
As a result of the 2018 loss, we sought formal public feedback in several ways:
- An initial, open-ended solicitation via email sent on November 7, which resulted in 58 responses. Common themes for those indicating opposition to 6C included that the new library wasn’t needed; a preference for branch locations; and cost/taxes. The responses were weighted 37 against 6C versus 13 in favor, and eight without a firm position on the ballot measure. This information was provided to the Library Board at the regular meeting on November 29, 2018.
- A facilitated public feedback session conducted by Creek Consulting on January 24 with 28 attendees. For the session, there were two components: a roundtable discussion and a survey. Twenty-three participants completed the survey, with 14 against, eight in favor, and one declining to comment.
- An online survey conducted by Creek Consulting and distributed via email and the library’s Facebook page. The survey ran January 25 through February 8 and resulted in 613 respondents; 36% voted in favor, 58% voted against, and 6% did not provide their stance on 6C.
Both in the discussion notes and in participant surveys, the “location of the property and safety concerns” was the highest ranked reason for those that voted no to ballot measure 6C in 2018. Creek Consulting noted three distinct groups of those that voted no: 1) those that want the district to go in another direction (location and desire for branches); 2) anti-tax or those that prioritize other public funding needs; 3) those that distrust the district, often mentioning Drag Queen Story Hour.
Based on the table notes, “participants didn’t understand some of the decisions that the library, and its board, made,” with each table questioning a move toward a central facility versus branches, and why the property was purchased prior to the election.
Overall respondents positively rated the session — wanting more people to have attended and more time for discussion.
“We appreciated the turnout and thoughtful discussion,” Library Director Ann Kling said. “Based on the post-event survey, those that attended felt similarly and want more opportunities for this same kind of dialogue.”
Read the session analysis by Creek Consulting.
Online Survey Summary
The online survey was developed and analyzed by Creek Consulting, the facilitator of the January 24 public feedback session, and asked the same survey questions as presented to in-person participants.
The 613 respondents represent nearly 4.7% of the library’s email distribution list and 2.4% of the district’s estimated 2017 total population of 25,133 (Colorado State Library).
It is important to note that questions were not asked in a quantitative manner, but were purposefully open-ended to provide qualitative data.
Of the 613 respondents 36% voted in favor, 58% voted against, and 6% did not provide their stance on 6C. The majority of respondents came from Windsor — 509 versus 12 from West Greeley and 64 from Severance.
Feedback was solicited on topics that included everything from trust of the library to what the library should do next.
“We were proud to see that the overwhelming majority places high trust in our ability to serve the community,” Kling said. “However, it is clear that despite the identified need for more space, the back-to-back ballot requests and aspects of the project, itself, did not resonate with our community.”
Read the analysis by Creek Consulting.
Kling presented the data and recommendations to the Library Board at its March 28 meeting, including an extensive feedback component in the upcoming strategic planning process, investigating key themes brought forth in the feedback in future facility plans, and increased communication.
“We want to ensure that the Library District is representative of our entire community,” Kling said. “We’re committed to increasing communication efforts by exploring new avenues for getting the word out. And, most importantly, we look to incorporate more opportunities for community dialogue.”