History of PPLD

1903 – The Free Public Library of Colorado Springs was established. The former Reading Room and Library Association had outgrown its facilities and transferred its books and property to the newly organized Board of Directors for the Public Library.

1905 – March 11: the Colorado Springs Public Library at 23 West Kiowa is dedicated and opens. It was built on land donated by General William Jackson Palmer using $60,000 from Andrew Carnegie. The collection had 12,000 volumes.

1917 – Colorado Springs annexes Colorado City. The West End Carnegie Library at 2418 W. Pikes Peak Avenue becomes a branch library.

1954 – Library begins to provide bookmobile service.

1955 – The Friends of the Library organizes with 73 charter members.

1962 – Voters approve a regional library district.

1968 – July 15, the Penrose Public Library is dedicated and opens. The facility is built with funds from the El Pomar Foundation during H. Chase Stone's tenure as president.

1974 – The Jail Branch opens.

1975 – Monument Hill Branch opens and Ute Pass Library becomes a part of the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD).

1977 – Broadmarket Square Branch opens on South 8th Street. Calhan Branch in Calhan, Colorado, opens; closes in 1982.

1979 – Fountain Branch in Fountain, Colorado, opens.

1981 – PPLD offers public access to the library's computer system, Maggie's Place.

1984 - PPLD implements the floating collection (one of the first libraries in the nation to do so), saving money and providing patron-driven collections.

1987 – The East Library and Information Center opens on January 11th. The district's second major facility is constructed with a $10 million bond issue approved by the voters in 1985. Also, the Ruth Holley Branch in the Murray Plaza Shopping Center opens.

1988 – The Sand Creek and Criminal Justice Center branches open.

1989 – The Rockrimmon Branch Library opens.

1993 – The Cheyenne Mountain Branch library opens, expanding services and replacing the Broadmarket Square Branch.

1994 – District sells Antlers Garage to the El Paso County Retirement Plan and purchases Sand Creek Branch.

1995 – Voters turn down request for mill levy increase from 4 to 5 mills for operations and capital improvements. Renovation on the 32 year-old Penrose Public Library begins.

1996 – Antlers Garage is purchased from El Paso County Retirement Plan. The 1905 Carnegie Library building is placed on the National Register of Historical Places.

1997 – A grant from the Colorado History Fund allows the library to develop a Comprehensive Preservation Master Plan for the restoration of the historic 1905 Carnegie Library building with an appropriate environmental setting for preservation and use of important historic materials.

1998 – Criminal Justice Center branch libraries close. The Board of Trustees, staff, and citizens develop the library’s Strategic Plan to include a library Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Goals, Objectives, and Activities. It was designed to be flexible and to measure progress towards goals and accountability to the patrons and taxpayers of the district.

1999 – Renovation of Penrose Public Library is completed with a new floor plan, west window reading bays, a new Children’s Section, Internet stations, and expanded Reference and Nonfiction sections. Penrose Public Library opens on Sundays. The Monument Branch Library is relocated to a facility five times its original size. In response to patrons’ requests for more hours in the branch libraries, hours are increased by 9 percent.

2000 – The Gates Computer Lab, with 11 computer stations, is opened at Penrose Public Library with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The library continues the Long-Range Facilities and Technology planning process to develop plans for additional facilities. Branch hours are increased by 7 percent.

2002 – Renovation of the 1905 Carnegie Library is completed.

2003 – Events and programs were planned throughout the year to celebrate 100 years of libraries in the Pikes Peak region, to heighten awareness of the District’s 11 locations and 2 Mobile Libraries, as well as to encourage patrons to become familiar with the District’s numerous resources. In November, voters defeated two ballot issues seeking funds to build and operate six new libraries, expand six existing libraries, and improve the remainder.

2004 – The District reached an important benchmark in 2004, exceeding 6,000,000 circulations and maintaining a turnover rate of 6, outstanding achievements for a public library system. PPLD also realized modest expansion, adding 1,000 square feet to the Rockrimmon Branch Library and relocating the Ruth Holley Branch, increasing its space by 40%.

2005 – PPLD opened its first new branch library in 16 years in 2005. The Briargate Branch Library serves the north-central section of Colorado Springs. The Ute Pass Branch Library in Cascade, Colorado, was expanded to just over 2,000 square feet and the first phase of the preservation project underway at the Old Colorado City Branch Library was completed.

2006 – PPLD expands the Fountain Branch Library, a partnership project that brought expanded library service to Fountain, one of the fastest-growing communities in the region. The 9,582-square-foot branch houses the District's first community room with extended hours of use and offers patrons a larger collection and greatly improved computer access. The Cheyenne Mountain Branch was relocated and expanded to 8,900 square feet. Also, PPLD launched the eBranch, a collection of electronic books and audios that can be downloaded to personal devices, and expanded self check out throughout the District. Wireless technology was also introduced and became available at East Library and Cheyenne, Fountain, Monument, and Sand Creek branches.

2007 – The District completed renovation of the Old Colorado City Carnegie Library, a busy branch library dedicated to serving the city's west side. The project brought the historic building into the 21st century both technologically and structurally, while maintaining the integrity of the original design. In August, PPLD opened the East Teen Center in the East Library. The ETC provides a space for teens that includes teen books and magazines, study rooms, computers, a gaming area, and a safe, fun place to hang out in the library.

2008 – PPLD purchased a van, funded primarily by a grant from The Colorado Trust, to be used for a mobile services program to various senior facilities throughout the region. PPLD also purchased a new bookmobile, funded primarily from a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The new bookmobile is used to service rural county locations.

2009 – Work on the Sand Creek Branch renovation was completed early in the year, providing increased computer access, PPLD's first drive-thru holds pick up, and expanded collections and meeting space. The District also broke ground on the High Prairie Branch Library in Falcon, a project funded in the majority by granted funds and donations.

2010 – PPLD incorporated radio frequency identification technology into its collection and all facilities. The District also opened the High Prairie Branch in Falcon.

2011 - Library Express, a vending machine stocked with popular books and DVDs, begins operation in the First & Main Town Center, giving PPLD its first presence on the Powers Corridor. The Library District is able to open the new facility at a minimal cost due to Nor’wood Development’s generous donation of the space near the entrance to Cinemark Theatre. (Library Express was taken out of commission in 2017 because limited usage did not justify the cost and time of maintaining the facility.)

2013 - Manitou Springs Public Library joins Pikes Peak Library District following a ballot initiative which was passed by citizens of Manitou Springs in the November 2012 election.

2014 - Library 21c opens on June 21. The facility is the first of its kind in the country, with makerspaces, a video and recording studio, business and entrepreneurial center, cafe, and performance venue in addition to traditional library materials such as books and movies.

2019 – The Library District officially eliminated overdue fines for books and some other items in February.

2019 – PPLD opened its 15th library in Calhan, Colo., on Nov. 4.

2019 – The Library launched PowerPass with School District 11 in El Paso County, a program partnership that provides K-12 students with easy digital access to Library materials and other resources, as well as services like homework help. Since then, the Library has expanded it to include other school districts like D2, D20, D49, and Calhan.

2020 – PPLD launched the Pikes Peak Culture Pass in March 2020, which lets library cardholders check out a digital pass and visit area museums and attractions at no cost.

2020 – PPLD reopened Knights of Columbus Hall as a space for and by the community, making it the District’s 16th facility.

2020 – The Library District launched curbside services, along with virtual services and programs, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such services continue to be offered today.

2021 – As part of a new co-location partnership, Manitou Springs Library opened inside of the Manitou Art Center on March 5.

2021 – PPLD relaunched the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Project.