Southwest La Plata Library District

frequently asked questions

Will Sunnyside and Fort Lewis Mesa Libraries remain part of the Durango Public Library system?

While we have appreciated our decades-long relationship with the Durango Public Library, once the Southwest La Plata Library District is formed, it will be an independent library district. Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside will work together to provide the library needs of southwest La Plata County.  

Can I still use the Durango Public Library?

Yes. The Durango Public Library is committed to providing library services to all of La Plata County. Your library card will still work at the Durango Public Library. You can still access Durango Public’s online databases. The only difference will be that the Sunnyside library manager and the Fort Lewis Mesa library manager will be unable to get books from the Durango Public Library for you. You can, however, still leave your Durango Public Library books at the other libraries, where the library managers will happily return them for you.  

What happens to my tax dollars?

All of the funds collected to run the Southwest La Plata Library District will remain in the district. The board members will allocate money for the Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside libraries. They will also pay fees and expenses that are necessary for the operation of the two libraries. The money will not be distributed by the county or retained by the county. Nor will money be distributed to Durango Public Library or retained by Durango Public Library, unless the board members of the Southwest La Plata Library district elect to contract services with the Durango Public Library.

How will money be shared between the two libraries.

Traditionally, each library has been given an equal amount of money for books, dvds, and other library materials, library supplies, office supplies, and programs and special events. Each library manager receives a salary and benefits based upon their qualifications and years of experience. No changes to this structure are anticipated.

What will change?

The only immediate change you will see at the district libraries will be new library cards. Also, library managers will be restricted in what services from the Durango Public Library they will be able to provide. Specifically, they will no longer be able to check out library books from Durango Public Library for you. However, they will still be able to return your library books to the Durango Public Library

In the future, the library district is planning to increase hours of operation. The library district is also planning to restore after-school library activities that were discontinued due to budget cuts. The district is also planning technology and Wi-Fi upgrades.

Why change?

For almost thirty years, the La Plata County government has contracted with the City of Durango to provide library services for county residents. Unfortunately, the county decided to stop funding the branch libraries two years ago. Durango School District 9R stepped in to keep the branches open while interested citizens searched for other funding options. The school district used grant money to keep the branch libraries open, but are no longer able to provide this financial support.  

In order to keep Sunnyside and Fort Lewis Mesa libraries operating, they must have a dependable income stream. The only way to accomplish this is to create an independent library district, and fund it with a small tax (1.5 mills), paid by the residents of the library district.  

How are board members for the Southwest La Plata Library District chosen?

In order to be considered for the board, candidates must reside within the library district’s boundaries. They must complete an application, expressing their interest in being board members. The county commissioners will then determine the best candidates for the board, with 3 members being selected from the Fort Lewis Mesa area and 3 members being selected from the Sunnyside area. One additional “at-large” member will also be selected. Anyone interested in being on the library board is encouraged to apply.

What happens if ballot measure 6D does not pass? 

If ballot measure 6D fails, the Sunnyside and Fort Lewis Mesa public libraries will close, effective June 30, 2020. While the libraries remain open, patrons may continue to use the libraries, but no new materials (books or DVDs) will be added to the collections. Summer reading programs will be cancelled for 2020.  

After June 30, 2020 patrons will be required to travel to the Durango Public Library in order to receive library services. The communities of Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside will lose a venue for community meetings, events and activities. Home schooling families in these areas will lose support for their educational activities. All public access to the school libraries will cease.  


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