Libraries and Spanish language materials at taxpayer expense

Is the Denver Public Library system converting libraries to Spanish language libraries at taxpayer expense? Quite possibly. In fact, according to sources with whom CAIRCO's director has spoken, yes indeed!

(Updated 2005)

Retiring Library director Rick Ashton is a member of Reforma - an organization with a stated goal of "promoting development of Spanish-language and Latino/Hispanic oriented library collections". The results of this policy can already be seen in a number of Denver Library branches, where Spanish-language materials have displaced English-language materials.

On August 4, 2005, DPL head Rick Ashton stated on the Peter Boyles' radio talk show that library staff traveled to a Guadalahara, Mexico book fair (presumably to buy Novelas and other Spanish-language books). Ashton stated that expenses were paid by the "Guadalahara, book fair," not the library. 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.

Dozens of additional questions demand answers.

On August 8, 2005, concerned citizens held a protest at the Denver Public Library. A letter was hand-delivered to the library demanding head librarian Rick Ashton's resignation. A copy of the letter was hand-delivered to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's office.

Update: An October 21, 2005 article announced that head librarian Ashton would retire.

Photos of the Novelas have been archived by CAIRCO, but are not displayed on this website which is viewable by the general public, including children.

'Novelas' in Denver public libraries - Spanish language porn

"Novela" is the name sometimes given to Spanish language pornographic comic books. These novellas have been brought into Denver Public Libraries, presumably at taxpayer expense, to replace English language books. These Novellas are pornographic and reflect serious violence against women. These have been brought into at least the following libraries: Athmar, Byers, Ross-Barnum, Woodbury, and Hadley.

This material is possibly illegal under Colorado law. See questions regarding DPL policy.

Update: in an August 24, 2005 Denver Post article, it was reported that four Novelas were discontinued because of the efforts of CAIR. The remaining Spanish-language material will be kept on the shelves.

Public Outrage

On August 8, 2005, the Coalition for A Closer Look (including the Colorado Minuteman Project, Sovereignty Colorado, and Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform) held a protest at the Denver Public Library. A letter was hand-delivered to the library demanding head librarian Rick Ashton's resignation. A copy of the letter was hand-delivered to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's office.

Public forums

Public forums were held from July 10 through July 21 at various branches. The purpose of these forums was to "soft sell" radical and dramatic changes to the Library system to the public. There were a half-dozen displays of the different library styles, with each display containing half of its material in Spanish. Here are pictures of the displays. Click on an image to for a larger view.

Central library display Childrens library display Language and Learning library display Contemporary library display Family library display Online library display

(The Denver Public Library has recently removed from their website material about the proposed library changes, and a comment form. You can still submit your comments here.)

Clandestine changes

Sources within the Denver Public Library (DPL) system told CAIR's director that:

  • Specific Denver Public Libraries are allegedly throwing out English books and replacing them with Spanish language books. This raises the question as to where the funding comes from for the new Spanish books.
  • Some of the Spanish language "books" brought in include novellas - pornographic comic books. Photos of the Novellas have been archived by CAIRCO, but are not displayed on this website which is viewable by the general public, including children.
  • The code name for Spanish language libraries is "Language and Learning Libraries".
  • It is rumored that the Blair-Caldwell African-American research library will be converted to a Language and Learning Library, and that a new Language and Learning Library will also be built.
  • By November, 2003, library staff began hearing rumors that some branches were going to be changed to Spanish language libraries.
  • On August 24, 2004, management started having meetings with staff to discuss the changes. Management also began to referring to "English speakers" and "senior citizens" as "non-dominant customers".
  • Rick Ashton, city librarian, allegedly wants a mill levy for library funding in order to move funding for the library system from under city control. Rick Ashton is allegedly negotiating with Mayor Hickenlooper to place the mill levy on the next November ballot. Mayor Hickenlooper is allegedly proposing a $40 million funding deal, with $25 million from the general fund and $15 million to be obtained from property taxes (an increase of $30/home/year). (See questions regarding funding).
  • The DPL is trying to find a way to give illegal aliens access to the library. Employees were verbally told to accept Mexican drivers' license. DPL allegedly worked for two months to be able to accept the bogus Matricula Counselar IDs - illegal to accept in Colorado - but the Denver City Attorney finally said no way.
  • DPL allegedly received a $500,000 grant. Management allegedly discussed using these funds to send staff to Mexico to "better learn Spanish". A possible source of this grant is a Carnegie Corporation 1999 grant of $500,000 for "Special acquisitions for foreign-language collections; ... The population of Denver is changing fast. The acquisition of new bilingual materials in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and English is crucial in ensuring that the library keeps pace with public demand."
  • This is all driven by federal money - according to some sources, the City allegedly falsified demographics to get LEAP money from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Raises/promotions allegedly will not be given to anyone who does not speak Spanish.
  • A DPL employee was allegedly fired for releasing information to the media.

(The Denver Public Library has pulled material about the library changes, and the public comment form from their for these changes from their website. You can still submit your comments here.)

Articles - mismanaging the Denver Public Library

Library's Spanish outreach criticized
By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, August 1, 2005

A plan to redesign seven Denver Public Library branches with a Spanish-language focus has created a row over the library's role in light of the city's growing Spanish-speaking population.

At a series of public meetings last week, library officials said the "Language and Learning" branches would feature an increased Spanish-language book and periodical collection, a bilingual staff and classes for Spanish speakers on subjects such as English acquisition, high school equivalency and computers.

Head librarian Rick Ashton said the Language and Learning concept, which is being reviewed by the Library Commission and a 50-member advisory board, was required to address the needs of Denver's growing Spanish-speaking population....

...Language and Learning idea has met with resistance from those who say that the proposal is another step toward placing Spanish on an equal footing with English as the national language.

"The library is a purveyor primarily of written information, and it should be provided largely, say 95 percent, in the native language of our country, which is English," said Fred Elbel, president of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform....

The Library Commission and advisory board are slated next month to give final comments, but critics contend that the plan is already in place.

Few Latinos attend Denver Public Library meetings
La Voz, July 27, 2005

Few monolingual Spanish-apeaking people attended the recent series of meeting organized by the Denver Public Library (DPL) to explain the new plan to expand services in Spanish. The lack of support could mean changes in the plan, and perhaps even its cancellation....

"I am truly sorry that, in sipte of our best efforts, so few Latinos came to our mettings," said Agnes Talamantez Carroll, an independent consulting helping DPL to promote the new plan...

Checked Out - Members of the Friends Foundation donated their lives to the library. Those days are over
By Stuart Steers, Westword, August 7, 2003

This article discusses mismanagement of the Denver Public Library by administrator Rick Ashton. It covers budget problems, abolishment of book sales, and throwing out of library books. This article provides an excellent background for understanding Ashton's intent to convert Denver's libraries to Spanish-language libraries.

Questions - Cooking the books?

Is the public being mislead about how funds are being used for Spanish language acquisitions? Here are questions that need to be answered.

Items of interest

  • Proposed library styles Proposed library styles - handout at public meetings during the week of July 10, 2005.
  • Proposed service plans Proposed service plans - handout at public meetings during the week of July 10, 2005
  • Denver demographics Denver demographics - handout at public meetings during the week of July 10, 2005
  • June 21, 2005 letter from Congressman Tom Tancredo to Denver Mayor Hickenlooper on the issue of Spanish language libraries at taxpayer expense.
  • June 22, 2005 response by Denver Mayor Hickenlooper to Congressman Tom Tancredo on the issue of Spanish language libraries at taxpayer expense.
  • Congressman Tom Tancredo's response to Denver Mayor Hickenlooper's June 22, 2005 letter.
  • Corona Research conducted focus groups in February and March 2005. Their findings were likely disappointing to the DPL. Current library patrons are not the intended beneficiaries of the "Language and Learning Libraries" and the findings indicate that the DPL will have to take additional steps to deal with their resistance to the proposed changes.
  • REFORMA is an organization whose mission is to promote development of Spanish-language and Latino/Hispanic oriented library collections and to support active recruitment of bilingual, bicultural library staff. Rick Ashton - Denver Public Library, is one of the dozens of metro-Denver members.

(The Denver Public Library has pulled material about the library changes, and the public comment form from their for these changes from their website. You can still submit your comments here.)

Library articles

Head librarian Ashton to resign, by Karen E. Crummy, The Denver Post, October 28, 2005
Library's Spanish outreach criticized, by Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, August 1, 2005

A plan to redesign seven Denver Public Library branches with a Spanish-language focus has created a row over the library's role in light of the city's growing Spanish-speaking population.

At a series of public meetings last week, library officials said the "Language and Learning" branches would feature an increased Spanish-language book and periodical collection, a bilingual staff and classes for Spanish speakers on subjects such as English acquisition, high school equivalency and computers.

"The library is a purveyor primarily of written information, and it should be provided largely, say 95 percent, in the native language of our country, which is English," said Fred Elbel, president of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform....