By Jennifer Simms 

Library Considers Gunbarrel Branch


October 14, 2017

Photo credit: Jennifer Simms

Niwot Elementary School fourth grader Hannes Maute was all smiles at the thought of a new branch library opening down the street from his home in Gunbarrel. Maute was one of several community members who attended the Boulder Public Library’s open house on Oct. 5.

Imagine a place in Gunbarrel where neighbors can chat, check out the latest books and even create objects with a 3-D printer. Boulder Public Library is currently drafting its 10-year Master Plan, which includes plans to open a branch library in Gunbarrel.

On Oct. 5, the library hosted an open house at the Boulder Rural Fire Rescue station to give community members the opportunity to preview the goals for the master plan and provide their feedback. The event was one of several, which have been held in various locations throughout Boulder over the last several weeks.

“The purpose of tonight is to have the community talk to the staff about the goals and see if we heard them,” said Boulder Library deputy Jennifer Phares, who is the head of the master plan project. “We’ve gotten lots of positive responses and thank yous for doing this work.”

One attendee was Gunbarrel resident and Niwot Elementary fourth grader Hannes Maute, who came with his mother and sister. “It would be really great to have a library here,” Maute said. “I hope it will give us books so we don’t have to drive the one hour trip to Boulder and back.”

According to Phares, many people in the community agree with Maute. Increasing the size of the current North Boulder Corner Library and adding a new “corner library” in Gunbarrel were top master plan requests from a survey of cardholders sent out in the spring of 2017.

The vision for the new branch was further developed by a Gunbarrel-specific focus group that met in the summer. “They want to be able to have books, and have a place to meet and talk. They want to request books and pick them up. They want programs for families and kids,” Phares said, summarizing the group’s feedback.

Phares said the new Gunbarrel branch would likely be larger than the current North Boulder location, possibly next to a space that can be used as a meeting facility. She hoped to select a location that’s easily accessible by foot, by bike and by bus.

Residents eager for a new library must be patient, Phares cautions, as the end-date for this project is still several years out. First, the library will need the rest of 2017 to complete its master plan, which will contain goals for all changes and improvements in the library system, such as the expansion of makerspace offerings and the upkeep of existing buildings. Projects must be included in the master plan to receive funding over the next ten years.

Next, the library must have the final draft of its master plan approved by Boulder City Council, which will take place in March 2018. The library will then request funding from the city council in 2019, with construction starting in 2020 if approved. As a result, 2021 is likely the earliest a Gunbarrel library can become a reality.

Phares welcomes feedback on the proposed Gunbarrel branch as well as any aspect of the library’s master plan. Community members who were not able to attend the open house are invited to review the master plan goals and provide their feedback by visiting the library’s website  at and entering their comments in the online comment form.



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