Cooking the books? Questions about funding of Spanish language books at Denver Public Libraries
The following questions are only a few of the questions that need to be investigated and answered.
- The Denver Public Library (DPL) says that Denver is 34.8% Latino. However, what is not said is that at least half of these Latinos are not citizens or legal immigrants - they are illegal aliens with no rights to use taxpayer-paid Denver Public Libraries. Is the Denver Public Library allowing and encouraging illegal aliens to use their facilities?
- What is Rick Ashton's and the DPL's involvement with the Reforma organization - an organization that, among other things, lobbys for Latino material in public libraries? Ashton is a member of Reforma. To what degree is Reforma driving the effort to bring in Spanish-language pornography and Spanish-language books into the DPL system?
- Because of limited shelf space and the current budget crisis (with many libraries closed on Wednesday), in practice, Spanish-language books that are brought in replace English-language books. How many Spanish-language books have been brought in and how many English-language books have been displaced? Have these English-language books been thrown out as claimed by library eployees?
- Are non-taxpayer sources of funding for Spanish language conversion contingent upon the understanding that a certain percentage of Denver is Hispanic? Is this percentage being manipulated in order to secure such funding?
- The DPL says that "6.8% of the budget is used for Spanish language acquisition". Is this a percentage of total library budget or a percentage of the materials budget. What is the specific dollar amount used for Spanish language acquisition?
- The DPL says that "70% have library cards". Does this refer to Denver residents or is this a statistic that reflects metro Denver or all of Colorado?
- Sources within the DPL say that the Spanish language porn "Novellas" were brought in beginning in 2001 when the DPL started making the transition to Spanish language material, because they are so popular in Mexico. These were placed in the books section in order to bolster overall circulation numbers for library books. Specifically what are the circulation numbers for Novellas as compared with other English and Spanish books?
- What sources and exact amounts of funding are used for Spanish language acquisition? Taxpayer funds, corporate donations, government grants, private contributions, the Mexican Consulate?
- Are non-taxpayer sources of funding such as government grants and corporate donations considered "non-public" money, and does the DPL therefore believe it is not to be held accountable to the public for how such funds are used?
- On August 4, 2005, DPL head Rick Ashton stated on the Peter Boyles' radio talk show that these Novelas had been brought into the DPL system starting 10 years ago. He also stated that DPL staff traveled to the Guadalahara, Mexico book fair (presumably to buy Novelas and other books). He stated that expenses were paid by the "Guadalahara, book fair." Were all expenses paid? Was the staff on the clock for the entire trip?
How many trips have been made by DPL staff to Mexico? How many total staff? What was the purpose of each trip? What percentage of each trip was spent directly on Library business? What is the justification for these trips? Specifically who paid for part or all of each trip - the book fair? the Mexican Consulate? How many such trips are planned for the future?
A KHOW radio investigation discovered that Denver Public Library spent $12,472.98 on trips to the Guadalajara Book Fair in Mexico over the just last four years. Yet on the Peter Boyles show Thursday, August 4, 2005, City Librarian Rick Ashton claimed no tax payer dollars were issued for the trip. Here is a library employee travel request for the trip.
- According to sources at the DPL, in 2001, the Mexican Consulate donated a significant number of books to Colorado library systems, including the DPL (with then Mayor Wellington Webb's approval). What is the nature of these donations, specific recipient libraries, and the dollar amount of each?
- Sources within the DPL say that probably only 1% of the books at a number of library branches are being checked out; the vast number of checkouts are videos and DVDs - which can obviously be obtained by the public at other commercial sources. What percentage and total number of books, videos and DVDs are being checked out at each library?
- Sources at the DPL say that review and culling of Spanish language books is not permitted. English language book usage is reviewed every 90 days. What is the usage review cycle for Spanish language books? Is a double standard in place?
- At what libraries will English language books be replace by Spanish language books? What is the specific number of books and percentage of shelf space at each of the branches?
- What is the average reading level of Spanish language books being brought in? What is the average reading level of English language books that are being replaced?
- Is it true that English language books have been thrown out instead of being donated or sold? What number of books have been thrown out at each library?
- When is the Library commission going to decide on adapting the Spanish language styles? Will public comment seriously be accepted? Will the meetings be open to the public with adequate advance notice?