Summer Reading a Success!

Did you hear the news? Jefferson County residents like you read a marathon of 27,564,728 minutes this summer as part of Jefferson County Public Library Summer Reading. What an achievement! Congratulations to JCPL, to everyone who participated in Go Read! Go!, and to the five winning schools in the new school reading contest!


  • 34,793 people registered for Summer Reading
  • 13,627 finished the program by meeting the minimum reading goal (39%)
  • 27,564,728 minutes were read


  • 22,245 of the total 34,793 readers affiliated with a school (64%)
  • These readers account for 14,426,380 minutes read (52.3%)
  • 13,627 readers met the minimum reading goal (61.2%)

ELIGIBLE READERS AFFILIATED WITH SCHOOL CONTEST: For the school contest, only preschool through grade 12 students were eligible to have their minutes count for their school.

  • 17,448 Jefferson County Public School preschool – grade 12 students registered for Summer Reading (50.1%)
  • 9,594 finished the program by reading and logging a minimum of 8 hours (54.9%)
  • 14,442,452 minutes were read for a school (52.3%)
  • School Contest Winners:
    • Preschool: Warder Preschool
    • Elementary: Pleasant View Elementary
    • Middle: Oberon Middle
    • High: Jefferson Jr/Sr High
    • Charter/Option: Addenbrooke Classical Academy

Find more details on Summer Reading results here.

What Could Be Better than Books Galore?

We had a rousing good time at our recent spring Whale of a Used Book Sale, and I want to thank all of our loyal customers for once again making this year’s event a Whale of a Success! But now that it’s over, some of our customers may be tapping their fingers until the next Whale of a Used Book Sale. But wait no more!

New this summer, the Jefferson County Library Foundation is hosting another used book sale at the Jefferson County Courthouse! This sale — Books Galore! — will take place on Thursday and Friday, August 4 and 5, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you yearn for a Whale Sale, this smaller sale is bound to satisfy many of your book cravings, at least until our fall Whale of a Used Book Sale comes along.

Some of your favorite authors and books will be well represented inside the rotunda of the Courthouse, and we invite you to stop by and browse through the many new titles we have received since our last big sale. We’ll also have a table full of children’s books, too!

If you find that you have too many books at home, and need to make some room, please remember that our Foundation welcomes your book donations. You can either donate to us via your local Jefferson County Public Library, or (for larger donations), please bring your contributions to our offices located at 10790 W. 50th Avenue, #200, in Wheat Ridge. We are also looking for gifts of CDs, DVDs, LP vinyl records, antique maps and vintage books. As always, your gifts are tax deductible.

Thank you for supporting our local Libraries and the Jefferson County Library Foundation!

Remembering the Gridiron Champions

On April 24th, 2016, we presented the first event in our Speakeasy Series – a one-hour Q & A featuring linebacker Shaquil Barrett and tight end Virgil Green, moderated by former 9News anchor Neal Browne.

The Speaskeasy Series was designed to be a unique, personal experience, rather than a traditional lecture. Fans and friends in attendance laughed and cheered as our Gridiron Champions shared their thoughts on team dynamics, the quarterback situation, and winning the Big Game.

As we reminisce about this special fundraiser, we are pleased to share with you some of our favorite moments. Be sure to join us for the next event in the series, to be announced!

A big thank you to Warren Tech for filming the event and for editing these clips for us!

Whale of a Sale was Smooth Sailing…

Once again our small Foundation has pulled off a BIG event — the semi-annual Whale of a Used Book Sale!

Busy book-buyers fill the aisles at our 2016 Spring Whale Sale!

Busy book-buyers fill the aisles at our Spring Whale Sale!

This spring’s sale, held June 2-5 at the Jeffco Fairgrounds, was no exception. More than 3,500 book-buyers and book-lovers attended this year’s event, and they helped themselves to nearly 80,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, antique maps, LP records and more. New this year, we added in a Friends Preview night on June 2, we hosted an on-site book drive on Friday and Saturday, and we opened early on Friday morning for our Early Bird shoppers.

At the Whale Sale, everyone shopped until the (Chick-Fil-A) cows came home!

At the Whale Sale, everyone shopped until the (Chick-Fil-A) cows came home!

The best news of all is that we raised more than $65,000 at the event! These funds will be funneled back into our Jefferson County Public Libraries in support of programs and activities that include Summer Reading, American Sign Language Storytimes, Early Literacy programs, Jeffco Stories, the Culture Pass program, LibLab kits, and so much more.

We extend a heartfelt Thank You to everyone who joined us for the event, and most of all we want to thank our tremendous and dedicated corps of volunteers. We simply couldn’t produce such a fantastic event without their hours and hours of work in setting up the sale, the day-to-day customer service for our patrons, and the hard work taking down the displays, tables and boxing up left over books post-event.

Two of our happy and helpful Whale Sale volunteers.

Two of our happy and helpful Whale Sale volunteers.


Please join us for our next Whale Sale coming up October 20-23 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. If you’d like to volunteer, please let us know! We are always looking to add to our team.

From Titanic Tea to Speakeasy — a busy start to spring!

For those of you who joined us for our two newest fundraisers — the Titanic Tea Party held on April 15, and the launch of our Speakeasy Series on April 24 — you know that April was a very busy month for our Jeffco Library Foundation! Along with those most recent events came an excitement for the latest in our fundraising endeavors, and great anticipation for more to come.

Guests wear turn-of-the-century style hats while enjoying their tea at the Jefferson County Library Foundation's Titanic Tea Party.

Guests wear turn-of-the-century style hats while enjoying their tea at the Titanic Tea Party held in early April.

Take the Titanic Tea Party for example. This was a first-time effort by our team to bring together history lovers, history readers and those with a passion for reminiscing about that legendary ship, the Titanic, and an iconic figure from early Denver society, Margaret “Molly” Brown. The tea party took place that Friday afternoon at the Molly Brown Summer House in Lakewood, and our audience of nearly 130 guests slipped right into the mood by donning turn-of-the-century hats (generously donated by 3 local theater troupes) while enjoying finger sandwiches and petit fours. Our entertainment came in the form of Molly Brown herself, portrayed in first person by Janet Kalstrom from the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver.

Linebacker Shaquil Barrett and Tight End Virgil Green discuss their professional careers with Neal Browne at the first event in the Jefferson County Library Foundation's Speakeasy Series

Linebacker Shaquil Barrett and Tight End Virgil Green discuss their professional careers with Neal Browne at the first event in the Jefferson County Library Foundation’s Speakeasy Series.

Just a few days after that stroll down memory lane, the Foundation jumped to a more contemporary theme by hosting our first Speakeasy Series event at Lakewood’s Ironworks Brewery & Pub with two sports figures from Denver’s pro football team — Tight End Virgil Green and Linebacker Shaquil Barrett. Fans and families packed the room and were decked out in traditional blue and orange as they submitted their football-related questions. The answers were dealt back in an easy, conversational format guided by our emcee, Neal Browne, formerly of 9News. Check out the video of the event coming soon to this website!

If you missed out on either of these occasions, mark your calendars now for next year’s Titanic Tea Party on April 14, and stay tuned for more in our Speakeasy Series coming later this year!

What Would You Ask Virgil Green & Shaquil Barrett?

We headed out to Ironworks to ask some loyal Denver Broncos fans what they would ask Shaquil Barrett and Virgil Green at Speakeasy: Gridiron Champions, on April 24th. This is what they said:

Join us April 24th, at Ironworks Brewery & Pub, for one forgettable afternoon with two amazing Denver Broncos.

Shaquil will be available for autographs. Virgil will smile for a selfie. Tickets are on sale now.

Children under 12 accompanied by an adult are FREE!

Speakeasy: Gridiron Champions

Speakeasy: Gridiron Champions Tickets on Sale Now

Speakeasy: Gridiron ChampionsGuess who’s coming to our first Speakeasy? We’ll give you a few hints: We’ve subtitled this Speakeasy “Gridiron Champions”; Our guests wear orange and blue often and just added a new ring to their list of personal effects. If you guessed Broncos—you’re right! Tight end Virgil Green and linebacker Shaquil Barrett will join us Sunday, April 24, from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., at Ironworks Brewery & Pub, in Lakewood.

Speakeasy: Gridiron Champions isn’t your typical speaking event. No lecture halls. No theaters. Just easy conversation, emceed by former 9News anchor, Neal Browne.

“We really want Speakeasy to feel like a unique, personal experience, rather than a lecture,” said Executive Director Jo Schantz. “We think it will be an exciting, interactive take on the traditional speaking series.”

Where else will you be able to find out why they call Virgil Green the “Incredible Hulk” or learn that Shaquil Barrett likes to put sugar on his lasagna? There’s a lot more to these guys than meets the eye, and that’s why attendees will be able to post their questions in advance, after purchasing their tickets for Speakeasy: Gridiron Champions.

Shaquil will be signing autographs and Virgil will smile for selfies for 30 minutes after the event.

Tickets are on sale now! Children under 12 accompanied by an adult are FREE!


A drawing of the titanic setting off to sea

Titanic Tea – April 15th at the Molly Brown Summer House

A drawing of the titanic setting off to seaJoin the Friends of the Jefferson County Public Library for what promises to be an unforgettable afternoon with Colorado’s legendary Molly Brown, at the historic Molly Brown Summer House, in Lakewood, on April 15th.

You’ll be amazed by the first-person characterization of Molly Brown, given by Janet Kalstrom. You’ll delight over our collection of vintage hats—complete with bows and feathers—from Colorado ACTS, the Red Rocks Community College Theatre & Arts Department and the Arvada Center for Arts & Humanities, as you enjoy perfect petite fours and a cuppa (tea, that is). And let’s not forget the presentation of Molly Brown-era fashion clothing, which will be given by Days Gone Bye.

Mark your calendars for April 15th. Tours of the Molly Brown Summer House will be given before and after our Titanic Tea party, which will start promptly at 4 p.m.

How to Purchase Tickets

Buy tickets online by visiting our Square Store.

You can also mail your payment to Jefferson County Library Foundation. Please include your ticket preference with your payment. You can purchase tickets for the Titanic Tea for $35. Unfortunately, all tours of the Molly Brown Summer House for the day of the Titanic Tea Party have been sold out. However, you can make arrangements to tour the house at another time at the tea party.

Make checks out to Jefferson County Library Foundation

10790 W 50th Avenue, Suite 200

Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

For more information, email or call 303-403-5078.


Welcome Don DuBe to JCLF

sea of booksJCLF is pleased to welcome Don DuBe to its staff. Don will be our new Warehouse Coordinator, a position that oversees our book inventory, ensuring that each book finds its proper place—whether it will be at the Whale Sale, the Friends Gift Shop at Belmar, the Holiday Sale or the Internet. With more than 40 years of experience working with book distributers, wholesalers and retailers, we’re sure Don is up for the task.

Anyone who has volunteered at the Foundation warehouse can tell you—at times, it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of books, a sea that we have to organize box and transfer to the Fairgrounds for our signature Whale Sale. We’re thrilled that Don will be working closely with our volunteers at the warehouse, functioning as the lynchpin of communication and, hopefully, taming our wild sea of books.

As you may have guessed, Don is a book person. “I usually read three books at a time,” Don said. “I keep one in my truck, one at my bedside and one in the library—and they’re all different genres, so I get some variety.” Though he may read books across the spectrum, he’s a Sci-Fi fan at heart.

Don is married with three children and three grandchildren.


Friends Annual Meeting a Great Success

Author Elizabeth Fenn takes time to sign a few books after the Friends Annual Meeting

Author Elizabeth Fenn takes time to sign a few books after the Friends Annual Meeting

More than 50 guests joined us for breakfast Friday, January 29th, at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center to celebrate the accomplishments of our most valued supporters—the Friends of Jefferson County Public Library. Not only were Friends treated to breakfast, they were also treated to a 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winning author as well!

Elizabeth Fenn is the Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western American History at the University of Colorado Boulder and author of Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015. The author’s talk was much like her book, both academic and approachable, enriching our understanding of the Mandan People, their culture and history.

Hosting an event with a great author was a terrific way to honor our Friends those who have contributed so much to the Foundation and JCPL last year. In 2015, Friends of JCPL:

  • Volunteered a grand total of 8,750 hours, a contribution that’s valued at $201,862.50*
  • Helped raise $136,276 between the Spring and Fall Whale of a Used Book Sales
  • Ran the Friends Gift & Book Shop at Belmar Library, which raised more than $38,000
  • Sorted, scanned, priced and boxes more than 300,000 books, which stocked our used book sales
  • Hosted the annual Rare & Novel Night benefit, which raised more than $21,000

What more can be said then: Thank you, Friends!

Friends Council members Kay Rowland, Linda Abbott and Deborah Deal-Blackwell at the Friends Annual Meeting

Friends Council members Kay Rowland, Linda Abbott and Deborah Deal-Blackwell at the Friends Annual Meeting

*The Independent Sector, a leadership forum for charities, foundations and corporate giving programs, values each volunteer hour in Colorado at $23.07.


Elizabeth Fenn

Join Us at the Friends Annual Meeting

Elizabeth FennThe Friends of Jefferson County Library’s Annual Meeting is a chance for the Foundation and Friends to catch up on the activities and accomplishments of the previous year. We will meet at 8 am at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center (4005 Kipling Street) on January 29th and enjoy a catered breakfast as we review 2015 and look forward to 2016.

This year’s meeting includes a special appearance by Elizabeth Fenn, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner in History for her book Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People.

This event is free to Friends Members – you can also bring a friend for only $10. Reserve your spot by calling the Foundation Office at 303-403-5078 or email

As we head into the new year…

joschantz-280It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a part of the Jefferson County Library Foundation for nearly a year now. What a fantastic organization, and one that proudly serves as a cornerstone of fundraising and support for our Jefferson County Public Library.

As we continue on in 2016, I believe you will see some exciting changes coming our way. We will be tweaking our Whale Sales, adding some new sales, and hosting a series of book drives in order to replenish our shelves. We’ll also be canvassing for more volunteers and offering many new trainings for our volunteer ranks. For our Friends and supporters, you’ll see a whole new line-up of social and fundraising events throughout the year.

You may have noticed already that our Board of Directors continues to grow, and each added member brings a wealth of talent, experience and knowledge to our governing Board.

Overall, I continue to be grateful to so many of our Foundation donors for their outstanding support. I appreciate all you do to help make our organization a success, and I applaud you for upholding the Jefferson County Library Foundation’s mission and ongoing efforts. Thank you!

Jo Schantz, MNM, CFRE

Executive Director

Elizabeth Fenn

Friends Annual Meeting, featuring Pulitzer Prize Winner 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!

The First Ever Foundation Legacy Award

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!


Colorado Gives Day is December 8

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.

gift wrapped in red paper and gold bow

Standley Lake Library Holiday Sale – December 12 – 13

xmas giftOur Holiday Sale continues at Standley Lake Library. JCLF sets aside the best books all year round just for these special sales, where you can find great gifts at great prices. Best of all–proceeds from these sales go back to help the Jefferson County Library Foundation and the programs and services of Jefferson County Public Library.

When: Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, December 13, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Standley Lake Library, 8485 Kipling Street, Arvada