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.

gift wrapped in red paper and gold bow

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

book gift wrapped in gold paper and bow

book gift wrapped in gold paper and bowGet a jump on your holiday shopping with the Golden Library Holiday Sale. You’ll find hundreds of gently used books that JCLF carefully sets aside year-round just for these special occasions. You’ll also find some amazing deals!

When: Friday, December 4, from 12 noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Golden Library, 1019 10th Street, Golden

The year is winding down, and our Foundation staff is also winding down from our Rare & Novel event — Read Like the Dickens. What an outstanding event! On November 12, we raised more than $21,000 from this year’s benefit, our silent auction was a sell-out and our ticket sales and sponsorships were through the roof! I want to thank everyone who attended and/or supported our 2015 fundraiser. We are already in the initial planning stages for next year’s event, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. As for our staff, we are indeed thankful for our Board of Directors, donors, volunteers, the Friends of the Library, our Jefferson County Public Library staff members and for all their support in 2015.

Warm thoughts and best wishes to you all this holiday season. And please consider a donation to our Foundation on Colorado Gives Day, December 8th.


Red Rocks Community College Theatre Arts & Dance Department

Red Rocks Community College Theatre Arts & Dance DepartmentCould you summarize A Christmas Carol in five minutes? In two? Probably, and you’re not alone. Most of us could easily summarize A Christmas Carol, and yet not recall the last time we read the book or saw the movie. It’s iconic. It celebrates the spirit of generosity and the power of redemption.

But how could we put a fresh spin on A Christmas Carol for our Read Like the Dickens benefit? Well, that’s where Red Rocks Community College’s Theatre Arts & Dance Department comes in. We met with David-Matthew Barnes, the Program Director, and Kelli Krieschel, the program’s costuming maven, and asked just that question: How do we put a modern edge on a classic? What they came up with is amazing.

A Christmas Carol in Six—No Five Parts

First, A Christmas Carol in Six—No Five Parts, written by Kelli Krieschel, is about fifteen minutes long, and yet, tells the whole story. Second, the language is modern and colloquial. Third, the audience is encouraged to participate in the telling.

“My thinking about making it an abridged version to be presented as a short performance piece led to a vision of condensing scenes into humorous situations that most of us can relate with,” explained Kelli. “And as a firm believer that laughter is good medicine, I am hoping that I can share this vision with everyone that is involved.”

Transforming A Christmas Carol from something we all know and (generally) passively engage in, to something we share and collectively tell, this “abridged version” is something JCLF Executive Director Jo Schantz calls, “playful and fun.”

More important to Schantz, however, is the generosity of RRCC. “I’m just honored that they wrote something especially for Read Like the Dickens and will perform it exclusively for our guests.”

Catch this modern interpretation of a holiday classic only at Read Like the Dickens—A Rare & Novel Event, on November 12, at Baldoria on the Water. Tickets can be purchased here.

The original Dickens Carolers in Victorian Dress at Belmar

This year’s Rare & Novel Event, Read Like the Dickens, is going to be quite the party. We will not only present an original, audience-interactive performance by the Red Rocks Community College Theatre Arts & Dance Department, but also cocktail hour, which starts at 6 p.m. and kicks off the silent auction, will be serenaded by the charming sounds of the Original Dickens Carolers.

The Who? No. The Original Dickens Carolers. This is one of the oldest caroling groups in Colorado. The same brilliantly costumed quartets locals often see filling Larimer Square with holiday cheer and kicking off the tree lighting ceremony at Cherry Creek Shopping Center for more than 20 years.

There’s more than just song, there’s theatre. Each Original Dickens Carolers Quartet consists of four Victorian-period characters, which will bring another dimension to the musical performance.

“We are thrilled to lend our voices to this event in support of the Jeffco Libraries,” said Becca Fletcher of the Original Dickens Carolers. “The libraries provide vital support to the community well beyond the books on the shelves, and we are pleased to take part in an event which will raise awareness and funds that can go towards the many programs offered by Jeffco Libraries.”

We are just as honored to have them. With the Original Dickens Carolers, we may just have to rename our event—Read Sing Like the Dickens.

Get a jump on the holiday spirit and get your tickets now.


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large_candy-canes4Join us for a three-day book and gift sale at the Evergreen Library, 5000 Highway 73, Evergreen CO.

Open house hours are:

  • Friday, December 11: After 5:00pm
  • Saturday, December 12: 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Sunday, December 13: Noon – 5:00pm


Charles_Dickens-A_Christmas_Carol-Cloth-First_Edition_1843The end-of-year holidays are always the very busiest of times. For many of us, the season involves constant shopping, running from one party to another, making lists, writing cards, stamping envelopes, wrapping gifts and decorating the house. It can be extraordinarily fun, and yet incredibly stressful. I don’t want to admit it, but even I—despite being surrounded by the season of joy—have given in to the Scrooge within and muttered a few Bah-Humbugs.

Dickens is the perfect antidote to the Bah-Humbug blues. A Christmas Carol reminds me that the season is not about the largest gifts, the free shipping or the grandest party; it is about generosity of spirit, compassion and kindness. The holidays are about appreciating what you have and sharing what you can others. This time of year is all about simple gestures and spreading good cheer.

When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, it was to earn some extra money for himself, his wife and their four children (a fifth was on its way during the Christmas of 1843). He had more plans for the book than just sales. He wished for the book to be a gift—both inside and out. The author insisted upon an ornate binding and spine, a red and blue title page, a blue half-title page, and yellow endpapers, all of which drove the book’s production expense up. He then insisted upon a sales price of just five schillings. This made the book affordable to the masses, who responded by snatching the book off the shelves. Though A Christmas Carol was hugely popular, it didn’t earn much for Dickens and his family.

But the story continues to be a gift, generation after generation. With every winter holiday season, I am reminded of Dickens and his desire to share this particular work with the world—even by sacrificing his profits to reach the largest readership possible. It’s almost as if he knew A Christmas Carol would invariably lift the spirits of weary souls.

Dickens understood the power of books, and year after year, his iconic story of Ebenezer Scrooge reminds us all to be charitable, caring and supportive of others. I hope you will join us for this year’s Read Like the Dickens – A Rare & Novel Event, to help us celebrate and share happy holidays together, just as Dickens imagined.

bike-rack-belmarGet a jump on your holiday shopping at the Belmar Holiday Sale.

“We work all year long to put the best books aside for the Belmar Holiday Sale,” said volunteer and Friend, Linda Abbott. “These are all new or nearly new books—Books that make good gifts.”

Bargain hunters will find brand new DVDs still in shrink wrap for just $2.50, hardback coffee table books for less than $10 and children’s books starting at $1.

The Belmar Holiday Sale will take place Friday through Sunday, November 20-22, 2015, at the Belmar Public Library (555 S Allison Parkway, Lakewood). The sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Read-Like-the-DickensWhat better way to usher in the holidays then celebrating the work of master author Charles Dickens? Join JCLF and JCPL Friends at Baldoria on the Water, in Lakewood, on Thursday, November 12, 2015, for an evening of merriment benefiting JCLF. You’ll be delighted by the sounds of the Original Dickens Carolers, entertained by a performance from the Red Rocks Community College Theatre Arts and Dance Department, fill up on our Olde English-style buffet and get a jump on your holiday shopping with our amazing silent auction and wine pull—all this while supporting the good work of Jefferson County Library Foundation.

Tickets are just $65 per person and $120 per couple. For event sponsorships, contact Sarah Whelan at (303) 403-5078 or Sarah.Whelan@JeffcoLibrary.org.  Buy your tickets now!

Choose Individual or Couples Ticket and click “Buy Now” to Purchase: