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News Release - Aspen Institute, Colorado State Library convening

May 22, 2017

Aspen Institute, Colorado State Library convene library leaders from across the state to discuss the future of public libraries

DENVER - Community and library leaders from throughout Colorado will gather Thursday, May 25, at the History Colorado Center in Denver for the Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries – an event that will explore and champion new thinking on public libraries in Colorado.

A morning session will feature remarks from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper followed by a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders to talk about community-library partnerships, how to strengthen libraries’ roles in the community, and what kind of action is needed to build more resilient communities.

The Denver event convened by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries in partnership with the Colorado State Library is the first statewide dialogue in a series of five dialogues across the country conducted by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries. 

“The Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries will serve as a catalyst for a broader dialogue on the role of libraries as critical platforms for learning, community development, and innovation,” said Amy Garmer, director, Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute. “It is intended to advance development of partnerships between public libraries and other public and private institutions and enterprises, and to showcase the progress and efficiencies that are possible by tapping the knowledge and information expertise, resources, and networks of public libraries.”

Gov. Hickenlooper said libraries are enormous assets to communities and our state.

“As technology continues to expand, libraries are transforming to meet the changing needs of communities,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “They are a touchstone for immigrants working on their citizenship, a beacon for life-long learning from infancy through adulthood and a source of inspiration and encouragement for nurturing creativity. Libraries are essential to our everyday lives.”

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes, whose mother was a career librarian, said libraries continue to play a critical role in our democracy and our communities.

“Libraries are some of the most important civic institutions,” Anthes said. “They provide us with books, knowledge, connections and services. But above all, they provide us with community.”

The state-wide dialogue will focus on transformation and community.

“Economic, technological, educational and social transformations are taking place across Colorado, and libraries across the state are working to keep pace with the changing needs of their communities,” said Eugene Hainer, assistant commissioner, Colorado Department of Education. “The Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries is providing a forum to share innovations taking place in our public libraries and to discuss how we can work together to build capacity and resilience.”

The state-wide dialogue is built on a framework established by the Aspen Institute report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries (PDF), and companion resource, Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library (PDF) that explore how public libraries can respond as the digital age increases the demand for high-speed information access, and as changes in our education systems, job training models, and community services help people and communities compete in the new economy. The report calls upon civic leaders, policy makers and library leaders to leverage libraries as a platform for building more knowledgeable, sustainable and healthy communities.

More information about the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries can be found online at

Media are invited to cover the governor's remarks and the roundtable conversation from 9:45 to 10:20 a.m.,Thursday, May 25. For on-site logistics, please contact Dominique Harrison at 847-436-2028 (cell).

The following additional individuals are scheduled to participate in the daylong convening:

  • Katy Anthes, Colorado Commissioner of Education, Colorado Department of Education
  • Clarke Becker, Director, Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
  • John Seely Brown, Independent Co-Chairman, Center for the Edge, Deloitte 
  • Dan Cordova, Colorado Supreme Court Librarian, Colorado State Judicial Branch
  • Katherine Correll, Executive Director, Downtown Colorado, Inc.
  • Michael Ferrufini, President and Chief Executive Officer, Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Charlie Firestone, Executive Director, Communications and Society Program, The Aspen Institute
  • Laura Frank, President and General Manager of News, Rocky Mountain PBS
  • Joe Garcia, President, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
  • Amy Garmer, Director, Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute
  • Dan Gibbs, Commissioner, Summit Board of County Commissioners
  • Kerry Glenn, Chair, Board of Trustees, Anythink Libraries
  • Elicia Goodsoldier, Co-Chair, Denver Indian Affairs Commission, The Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships
  • Anthony Graves, Director of Regional Affairs, City and County of Denver
  • David Greenberg, Vice Chancellor, Institutional Partnerships, University of Denver
  • Eugene Hainer, Assistant Commissioner, Colorado State Library
  • Irv Halter, Executive Director, State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs
  • Jesse Henning, Director, Garfield County Public Libraries
  • Dustin Hodge, Principal, Hodge Media Group
  • Margaret Hunt, Director, Colorado Creative Industries
  • Michelle Jeske, City Librarian, Denver Public Library
  • Dominick Moreno, Colorado State Senator, Senate District 21, Colorado State Senate
  • Claudine Perrault, Director, Estes Valley Library
  • Randy Pye, Managing Principal, FulcrumOne
  • Connie Rule, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Colorado
  • Joseph Sanchez, Library Director, Mesa County Libraries
  • Pam Sandlian-Smith, Director, Anythink Libraries
  • Chip Taylor, Executive Director, Colorado Counties, Inc.
  • Ann Terry, Executive Director, Special District Association

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to explore and champion new thinking on US public libraries, with the goal of fostering concrete actions to support and transform public libraries for a more diverse, mobile and connected society. The Dialogue is managed by the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, which focuses on projects and initiatives that address the societal impact of communications and information technologies and provides a multidisciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues. Learn more about the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries at

The Colorado State Library provides leadership and expertise in developing library-related policies, activities, and assistance for school, public, academic, and special libraries. A primary goal of our efforts is to improve the ability of libraries to provide quality services to all Coloradans. Learn more at the State Library homepage.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has an office in New York City and an international network of partners.