You are here

Definition of a Public Library in Colorado

← Return to the Standards


The legislative declaration in the Colorado Library Law, C.R.S. §24-90-102, states that it is the policy in Colorado to ensure equal access to information and materials. Colorado Library Law, C.R.S. §24-90-105 directs the State Librarian to develop service standards to guide library development. Any entity wishing to be defined as a public library in Colorado must meet or exceed the following criteria.

Legal Responsibilities

  • Be legally established under Colorado Library Law (CRS §24-90-101 et seq.)
  • Comply with Colorado Library Law rules and regulations, and any other local, Colorado, or federal laws that affect library operations.
  • Have dedicated space that meets the criteria of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to libraries.
  • Have a “Library Governing Authority" (e.g., board of county commissioners, city council, town board, or library board of trustees, as the context requires) or “Governing Authority” submit statistical data for the Public Library Annual Report in a timely manner.

Library Administration and Management

  • Provide free access to basic services as defined by written policies regarding lending, borrowing, and circulation services as approved by the library’s Governing Authority.
  • Have paid staff present during all hours of service. Pay of staff must be based on cost of living standards within the community.
  • Prepare and utilize a long-range strategic plan for continuing improvement.

Access and Services

  • Have an ongoing collections budget from local tax funds and a collection management plan for the purchase of materials and electronic access.
  • Provide at least one device with public access to the Internet, a printer, an email address, a website, an online information catalog, and databases.
  • Be open to the public a minimum of 20 hours each week. These hours will include morning, afternoon, evening, and/or weekend hours based on users’ and potential users’ disposable time. All service outlets of libraries providing multiple access points must be open to the public for no fewer than 20 hours a week.

Resource Sharing