Elizabeth Fenn

Elizabeth FennJoin us and Friends of JCPL Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, 8 a.m., at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center for a breakfast buffet and an amazing guest speaker–Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Fenn.

The Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western American History at the University of Colorado Boulder, Dr. Fenn’s field of study is the early American West, focusing on epidemic disease, Native American and environmental history.

In 2001, Elizabeth authored Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 and, in 1983, she coauthored Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Lived in North Carolina before 1770. Her latest work, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People won her the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History, for its in-depth analysis of Mandan Indian history from 1100 to 1845.

Elizabeth is currently at work on an expansive biography of Sakagawea, using her life story to illuminate the wider history of the northern plains and Rockies.

The Annual Meeting is free for Friends of the Jefferson County Library. Friends may bring guests for a nominal cost of $10 per person, which can be used towards the purchase of a Friends membership. Seating is limited!

Sometimes it happens. You get a letter that’s so moving, so inspirational that it confirms everything you do. You pause and think: “I want to throw a parade; I want to erect a statue.”

When we got this letter from Jessica Nichols, Marketing Manager of Lakewood’s Pinkard Construction, that’s exactly what we wanted to do. The problem was we had no master craftsman to shape a statue nor a city permit to throw a parade. So, naturally, we made an award—the first ever Legacy Award to celebrate just what Jessica Nichols’ letter so beautifully expresses: how reading can not only build intellect, but also build bridges between people.

Read Jessica’s letter here: Jessica Nichols’ Letter

Reading is a cultural experience, a personal experience. We share stories. We have characters in common. From Sam I am and his green eggs and ham to Captain Ahab and his mighty struggle with an elusive whale, books give us more to share than words, but worlds of ideas.

The cultural experience—and power of reading—is why we chose “Connection” as our theme for our Year End Appeal. Just imagine the power of Storytime in our libraries—hundreds of kids sharing one story with their parents, with their friends and with their communities. Think of the amazing gift literacy is, not only as an academic achievement, but a cultural one. Nothing can connect like shared knowledge and experience.

So, we thank Jessica Nichols (our first ever recipient of the Foundation’s Legacy Award) for her sharing her wonderful experience. Happy Reading!


CGD 2015_Master_sm_RGBThere are a couple of questions we always get asked when Colorado Gives Day rolls around:

  1. What is Colorado Gives Day?
  2. What is the Jefferson County Library Foundation?

The first question has a simple answer: Sponsored by Community First and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving.

Of course, as JCLF is a 501(c)(3), that means you can give to us on December 8, which brings us to the second question: What is JCLF? Let’s start with what we’re not.

JCLF is not the Jefferson County Public Library, which (as we’re sure you know) is a county entity. Taxpayers keep our Library’s lights on, its doors open and its librarians paid. Where taxpayers keep everything in service at our Library, the Foundation fills in funding gaps in programming. Put simply: taxpayers pay for the building; the Foundation pays for the programs.

What programs? We’re so happy you asked. Last year, the Foundation gave:

  • $82,000 to Summer Reading
  • $10,000 to JCPL2Go tablets for public use
  • $7,000 to Children’s core digital materials
  • $6,000 to Jeffco Stories, an oral history project
  • $6,800 to Book Club Kits
  • $3,000 to Early Literacy Playscapes

In fact, in total, the Foundation gave nearly $150,000 in support of Library programs that serve children, teens and young adults in all ten of our Jeffco libraries.

Beyond funding, the Foundation is people. We are a community of library-loving fanatics. If you don’t believe us just consider our volunteer core, which is just over 700 strong. Week in and week out, volunteers work at the Foundation offices sorting, scanning, boxing and pricing the 250,000+ books that come through our doors on their way to our huge biannual Whale Sales, the proceeds of which go back to benefiting our Library programs.

It takes more than 40 volunteers to run the Whale Sales per day. In fact, once the doors to the Whale Sale close, we can say that 2,000 volunteer-hours made the Whale Sale possible.

That’s real dedication to ensuring the future of our Library. But, when we’re talking about upholding the great tradition of free and equal access to information for all citizens, it’s difficult not to get a little passionate.

It’s really that passion that defines the Foundation.

So, when it comes down to it, Colorado Gives Day (December 8) is a day to support your passion. If that happens to be the Library, then the Foundation is a great option for your charitable dollars.

So, mark your calendars and visit Community First December 8 for Colorado Gives Day and be sure to support your passion–whatever it may be. Click here to support JCLF now.