The Summit County Library Foundation's mission is to serve as an advocate for the Summit County Library System by providing financial support beyond the Library's normal operating expenditures, when unanticipated needs arise and for capital projects.
The Foundation was established in 1990 to raise funds for the Summit County Libraries, and was granted 501(c)(3) status on August 26, 1991. Since inception, the Foundation has fueled fundraising efforts for large-scale capital campaigns, like the 2011 South Branch library expansion in Breckenridge.
The all-volunteer Foundation board provides around 400 volunteer hours each year, enthusiastically supporting the library's mission to discover, connect and inspire. This year, we want to continue to support the library when our community needs its resources most.
"Summit County is a world-class county that is creating a world-class library system that serves every aspect and demographic of our community. We are asking our community to support the library and ensure that Summit County libraries will be a vibrant community resource and center for many years to come," comments Stephanie Ralph, Summit County Library Director.
In Summit County, our libraries were deemed an "essential business" as community members required critical access to technology to apply for unemployment benefits, food assistance, and other basic needs. Staff responded immediately and led the effort among businesses to institute safe practices to serve patrons. All three branches continue to provide access to critical services, respite for weary parents, and essential connections and communication to the broader community.
Summit County libraries opened on March 24, 2020 for curbside pickup service, phone assistance, and issuing library cards over phone. The Library also quickly began offering Virtual Programming like English and Spanish Storytime, Lego, Cookbook and Jigsaw Puzzle Clubs, Yoga, Meditation, Tech Classes, and Virtual Trivia on Facebook and YouTube. "Many of our patrons were excited about the programming that we were able to offer during our Stay at Home period as it gave them a vital way of teaching and entertaining their children," comments Sarah Hulsey, Operations Manager.
Summit County Library also significantly increased digital services during COVID-19 by adding Newsbank (Summit Daily News and Denver Post Online), Prenda Code Club (learn to code for 8-18 year olds), TumbleMath picture books, Rosetta Stone, Creative Bug craft videos, Universal Class for continuing education, and usage of Kanopy video streaming rose dramatically. The Library provided a virtual summer reading program with Beanstack software with free books throughout and several prizes at the end for top readers.
The Library has also been able to provide critical resources like Computer Appointments for filing for unemployment, job applications, or printing needs. Library Staff continued to field technical and reference questions during closures to ensure that residents had access to the resources they needed. Once open, all three branches have continued to provide safe in-person services, offer in-person programs and story times, and 1-hour browsing visits with safety and contract tracing protocols. Mostly recently, to encourage safe distancing between staff and patrons, as well as 21st century ease of convenience, all three branches installed self-check out machines. After checking out their own materials, patrons then have the option to print a receipt with the due dates or not. Using the account feature on the self-check, patrons are now able to check their account for fines or overdue items and may renew items.