Colorado State Publications Blog

Native American Tribal Membership

How do you become an official member of a Native American Tribe in Colorado? The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs has put together a helpful FAQ document to answer your questions about obtaining membership in a federally recognized Tribe. “Each of the Tribes has its own right to determine the standards for becoming a member,” the document advises, so you must contact the Tribe directly to find out their requirements. Most Tribes will require proof of descendancy, so the document provides helpful guidance on researching and documenting your genealogy. You can also find more information in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Guide to Tracing Your American Indian Ancestry.

For additional information about Colorado’s Native American Tribes today, see the following publications:

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The WPA in Colorado

During the height of the Great Depression, as banks failed, unemployment soared, and farm prices dropped, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established as one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal projects. The WPA focused on creating and providing jobs rather than handing out direct relief. Most of the WPA jobs were aimed at civic improvements, such as public buildings and roads. Thousands of out-of-work artists and artisans, architects, musicians, writers, historians, and others who had previously been employed in creative or intellectual fields were given temporary work. Parks, trails, bridges, public buildings, artworks, and literary projects produced by the WPA continue to be enjoyed to this day.

Colorado’s division of the WPA issued The WPA Worker: A Monthly Pictorial Journal for Workers and Citizens of Colorado Interested in the Statewide Projects of Works Progress AdministrationIssues from 1936 and 1937 have recently been digitized by our library. Each issue of this amazing periodical highlights WPA projects in all corners of the state. These included many construction projects like public buildings, roads, bridges, stadiums, and parks, but also included such varied activities as

As Coloradans suffered from the effects of the Great Depression, the WPA enhanced life in every part of the state, and often undertook long overdue projects that in many cases would not have been otherwise completed. Many of the projects continue to enhance our lives today.

For more resources on the WPA in Colorado, see the following publications available from our library:

Aguilar’s city hall was constructed by the WPA.


The playground at Lake Junior High in Denver was also a WPA project.


Old infrastructure was replaced across the state.
CSL News

CSL Welcomes New State Librarian Nicolle Ingui Davies!

The Colorado State Library (CSL) is thrilled to welcome our new State Librarian, Nicolle Ingui Davies, to our CSL team and back to her Colorado home. Davies holds both a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) and a Master’s in Library and Information Sciences (MLIS), making her perfectly suited to this leadership role. Davies returns to Colorado from her position as Executive Director of the Charleston County Public Library (SC), where she has been since she left her role as Executive Director of the Arapahoe Library District (CO) in 2016.

During her 12 years with the Arapahoe Library District, Davies was named Library Journal’s 2016 Librarian of the Year, in part for her role in securing a $6 million budget increase for the district’s libraries.  The increase in funding allowed Davies and her team to maintain a high level of service, while providing increased access to resources and technology that might otherwise have been out of reach of the typical household. In this way, Davies was able to make the libraries in her district a more essential part of the community and more patron-focused than ever before.

The Colorado State Library staff would like to give a very special thanks to Sharon Morris for all her hard work while she held the position of Interim State Librarian during this transition. Though the process has been longer and more arduous than anticipated, we at the Colorado State Library are excited to take our first steps forward in confidence under our new leadership as we continue to support libraries throughout the state. So please join us in welcoming Nicolle Ingui Davies home to Colorado and to her new team at the Colorado State Library!

Colorado State Publications Blog

Government Shutdown Resources

If you or a family member are affected by the recent government shutdown, the State of Colorado is stepping in to help. Furloughed workers are currently permitted to file for unemployment benefits. See Governor Polis’s press release for an overview, and visit the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment’s unemployment website for more details and to apply. Note that if federal workers do receive back pay after the shutdown ends, they are expected to reimburse the State for their unemployment benefits.

The Colorado Department of Education has added page on their website with education resources to help families during the shutdown. Here you can find links to food assistance and other benefits. You can also find information about assistance and benefits at the Colorado Department of Human Services website. See the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website if you need information about making insurance payments during the shutdown.

Finally, Colorado 211, a human services referral agency, has a list of helpful resources on their site. Coloradans are welcome to contact 211 directly, via phone or online chat, for further assistance.


Colorado State Publications Blog

Getting Ready for the 2020 Census

Census Day – April 1, 2020 – is just a little more than a year away. Colorado has established the State Complete Count Campaign (CCC) to help bring awareness to the census and act as a resource to help ensure Colorado gets the most accurate count possible. You can find resources from the CCC as well as the US Census Bureau on the State Demography Office website.

The Demography Office has also recently issued several fact sheets that offer quick information on the census campaign, including a fact sheet for libraries and librarians. Other fact sheets offer a timeline, information on how to get involved, and “Census 101.”Additional resources can be found at the US Census Bureau website.

Keep checking these websites throughout the coming year for updated resources.

Colorado State Publications Blog

2019 Legislative Session Begins Today

The First Regular Session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly convened today. The session will continue through May. All the information you need about the General Assembly, and how it functions, can be found at their website,

This year, almost one third of the legislators will be brand new. There are 100 members of Colorado’s General Assembly – thirty-five Senators and sixty-five Representatives. To view a directory of all current legislators, click here. To find out who your Senator or Representative is, go to the Find My Legislator map on the General Assembly’s homepage.

To find out what bills will be heard in committee and on the floor each day, see the House and Senate calendars, available on the homepage. Status sheets and journals are also available to aid you in tracking bills as they move through the legislative process. All bills, resolutions, and memorials are available to view online. Each version of the bill is retained on the website so that changes can be tracked. Before bills are heard on the House and Senate floor, they must go through committee. Find out about the different committees and their membership here.

You can watch live and repeat broadcasts of the House and Senate at or on cable channel 165. Live and archived audio of the House and Senate is also available.


Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office

Colorado State Publications Blog

Transportation Network Companies

How does the State of Colorado regulate digitally-networked transportation companies like Uber and Lyft? The Colorado Legislative Council has just published a new Issue Brief that explores this topic. Here you can learn about the many differences between transportation network companies (TNCs) and traditional taxicabs, including driver requirements, safety inspections, and how the companies set their rates. For more information on rules and regulations for transportation companies, see the Colorado Public Utilities Commission website.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Motor Vehicle Law Resource Book

Colorado Legislative Council, the nonpartisan research branch of the General Assembly, has just updated their Colorado Motor Vehicle Law Resource Book. This handy online guide can answer many of your questions about Colorado’s various motor vehicle laws. Among the topics covered are

  • taxes and fees
  • chain laws
  • distracted driving laws
  • HOV and express lanes
  • emissions
  • photo radar and red light cameras
  • titling and registration
  • minor drivers
  • commercial vehicles
  • low-power scooters and electric bicycles

and much more. You can find further information on Colorado motor vehicle laws by visiting the Transportation & Motor Vehicles section of Legislative Council’s website and the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles website. Also, search our library’s online catalog for additional resources.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Constitutional Convention

3-storey brick building
The site of the convention later became known as Constitution Hall. Photo courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Department.

This Election Day, as we vote on changes to our Colorado Constitution, you might be wondering how the original state constitution came about. Colorado became a state on August 1, 1876. But several months prior, in December 1875, leading Colorado citizens gathered to draft a state constitution. The site of the convention later became known as Constitution Hall.

Delegates to the convention came from every district in the soon-to-be state. They met at the Odd Fellows Hall, upstairs from the First National Bank, on Blake Street in Denver (which burned to the ground a century later, in 1977). Attorney and Pueblo Chieftain editor Wilbur F. Stone was elected president of the convention. Other members of the convention included Byron Carr, who would later become Colorado Attorney General; Henry C. Thatcher, the first chief justice of the Colorado supreme court; long-serving legislator Casimiro Barela; Indian agent Lafayette Head, who became Colorado’s first lieutenant governor; and others.

Online via our library you can find two publications that tell the story of Colorado’s original constitutional convention. The first, dated July 1, 1876, contains the constitution as it was drafted along with an Address of the Convention to the People of Colorado. The second is the proceedings of the December 1875 constitutional convention, compiled into a book in 1907. The original handwritten Colorado constitution can also be viewed online. It was digitized by the Colorado State Archives.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Fiscal Impacts of Ballot Measures

How will this year’s ballot measures affect state taxes and spending if passed? While much of this information is detailed in the Blue Book, the Colorado Legislative Council has also issued fiscal impact statements for each ballot measure. These statements include more detailed analysis of each measure’s fiscal impact, including tables and side-by-side comparisons of revenues and spending with or without passage of the measures. The fiscal impact statements are also available in Spanish.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Amendments Y and Z, Congressional and Legislative Redistricting

redistricting, reapportionment, Amendment Y, Amendment Z

Two of the amendments on this year’s ballot are Amendments Y and Z, which deal with how congressional and legislative districts, respectively, are determined. Every ten years, following the U.S. Census, both sets are redrawn to ensure that all districts include equal numbers of people.

Under the current system, the state legislature oversees the congressional redistricting, while the legislative districts are redrawn by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission. This commission includes eleven members who are all appointed by either the Legislature, the Governor, or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The new system proposed in Y and Z would instead create two new, independent commissions – with equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters – comprised of members who must not be elected officials, candidates, or lobbyists.

The Colorado Blue Book outlines arguments for and against the two proposals. You can also find out more about the current system and how it functions by visiting the State of Colorado’s official redistricting website, which includes resources on the processes for both congressional and legislative redistricting. On this website you can also find maps of the final approved districts. Finally, be sure to see A Citizen’s Guide to State House and Senate Redistricting, which outlines the process used in the most recent (2011) redistricting.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community

A recent news story discussed a new state audit report assessing the Fort Lyon residential facility – but the news report failed to actually link to the report. You can view the report here. The report provides a cost-benefit analysis of the facility and an assessment of success rates.

Fort Lyon, in Bent County, served as a U.S. Army fort from 1867 to 1897. In the twentieth century it was used as a veteran’s hospital, and then as a minimum security prison from 2001-2011. In 2013 the site reopened as a rehab facility for homeless persons. The facility includes not only housing, but programs to help residents overcome substance abuse issues. It is not a correctional facility – residents live there by choice.

Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community is run by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. To learn more, visit the facility’s website.

Residents of Fort Lyon get to live in the campus’s historic buildings. Photo courtesy DOLA.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Community Corrections in Colorado

Felonies for controlled substances and assault increased in 2017 over the previous year, while theft and forgery were slightly down, according to the 2017 annual report of the Office of Community Corrections, which was released last week. A part of the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS), the Office of Community Corrections works to “enhance public safety by working to improve the supervision and rehabilitation of offenders assigned to community corrections across Colorado.” Community corrections refers to parole, probation, behavioral health, etc. The annual report offers statistics on offender types, demographics, treatment, escapes and violations, employment, length of stay, criminal history, discharges, child support, and much more. You can find the annual reports going back to 2000 available online from our library.
CDPS also recently released a new research and statistical report, Community Corrections in Colorado: Program Outcomes and Recidivism. The also recently updated their Community Corrections Standards. Other community corrections reports available from our library include:

For additional resources visit our web catalog.


Colorado State Publications Blog

Public Transit in Colorado

With so many people moving to Colorado, and with so much development, transit has become an important issue. Transit, or public transit, refers to multi-modal transportation systems that can move large numbers of passengers – i.e., buses or passenger rail.

The state’s two major planning documents for transit are the Statewide Transit Plan, which “identifies local, regional and statewide transit and passenger rail needs and priorities,” and the Colorado State Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, developed “to provide a framework for future freight and passenger rail planning in Colorado.” Learn more about the two plans, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)’s other transit policies, on their Division of Transit and Rail webpage.

Additional documents relating to Colorado’s transit and rail planning include:

To learn about Colorado’s safety laws for rail and transit, visit the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s  Rail/Transit webpage. The state also recently conducted an audit of bus and light rail operator safety practices.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Colorado State Publications Blog

Open Educational Resources

Good news for students and professors! On Monday Gov. Hickenlooper signed HB18-1331, a bi-partisan bill that encourages “expanding the use of open educational resources at public institutions of higher education.”  Open educational resources, or OERs, are “high-quality teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits free use or repurposing by others and…[are] available to students for free or very low cost.”

OERs have gained popularity due to both the rising costs of textbooks and to professors’ desires to adapt and create content for their classes using a variety of mediums, such as streaming videos, software, online course modules, etc. The expanded use of OERs not only helps students save money on textbooks, but may help them academically, too — “research…indicates that, because of the cost of textbooks and other materials, students often do not buy [them], resulting in poor academic performance…Other studies indicate that students take fewer courses or drop courses because of the cost of textbooks and materials, extending the time to graduation,” according to the bill’s Legislative Declaration.

So what are those studies that the bill is referring to?  During last year’s legislative session, SB17-258 created the Open Educational Resources Council, which included representatives from higher education institutions and academic libraries across the state. The council issued their Report to the Joint Budget Committee in November 2017. This report cites the studies used to develop the reasoning for the new legislation. The bill signed this week continues the OER Council until at least 2021. It also provides for a new grant program “to support the creation and use” of OERs in Colorado public colleges and universities, helping save students money and giving teachers new options.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The State Board of Land Commissioners

One of Colorado’s oldest state agencies is the State Board of Land Commissioners, known informally as the State Land Board.  The Land Board was established in 1876 at the time of Colorado’s statehood.  Its purpose is to manage lands granted to Colorado by the Federal Government in public trusts that financially benefit public schools and institutions.  The Land Board is the second-largest landowner in Colorado, after the Federal Government itself.  The money to fund schools and other public institutions is raised through leasing the land for agriculture, resource extraction, renewable energy, and recreational uses.

Our library has digitized the Land Board’s annual/biennial reports back to 1903. In these reports researchers can find detailed lists of land transactions, statistics on funding to schools and institutions, and data on mineral leases, timber sales, and other revenue-generating activity. (To see more recent reports up to the present day, click here.)  For historical information on land laws, see another Land Board publication that has been digitized by our library, Colorado’s State Land Laws (1917). Finally, check out this fun interactive timeline that the Land Board has posted on their website.

Colorado State Publications Blog

State Government Facilities Planning

What is the State of Colorado’s vision for the future of its buildings?  Although sometimes overlooked, buildings are one of the state government’s most important assets.  Running the government requires offices and a Capitol building.  Colleges and universities couldn’t exist without classrooms, libraries, labs, athletic facilities, and community spaces.  So maintaining these structures – and building and acquiring new ones as our state’s population grows – require significant planning.  The various “campuses” of state buildings – including higher education campuses and the Capitol Complex – have developed Master Plans that include building inventories, maintenance needs, new development, and projected associated costs.  Many of these Master Plans are available from our library:

  • In 2014 a new Capitol Complex Master Plan was released.  The Capitol Complex is the campus of state buildings including the State Capitol and the various satellite state office buildings.  The State of Colorado previously issued master plans for the Capitol Complex in 1966 and 1989.  These plans can be checked out in print from our library or through Prospector.
  • The University of Colorado’s current (2011) master plan for its Boulder campus can be viewed here, and for comparison its previous (2001) plan can be viewed here.
  • Colorado State University’s current (2014) master plan can be viewed here. CSU also issued a separate Parking and Transportation Master Plan.  Older CSU master plans from the 1970s and 1980s are available in print from our library.
  • The Auraria Higher Education Center updates its master plan about every five years. The 2017, 2012, 2007, and 2001 plans are all available online.  See also the campus’s Strategic Implementation Plan (2012) for more facilities planning information. To see the campus’s earliest planning report see the campus Concept Report (1968), which has been digitized by our library.
  • Although a part of the Auraria Campus, the University of Colorado Denver also issued their own master plan in 2017.
  • The Anschutz Medical Campus’s 2012/2013 Facilities Master Plan can be viewed here. For historical purposes a 1998 master plan for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center’s old 9th and Colorado campus is also available.
  • Planning for the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley is divided into several different master plans covering different areas, all available to view here. A previous (1981) plan is also available in print from our library.
  • The current (2012) master plan for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs is available online here.
  • Planning documents for the Colorado Mesa University campus in Grand Junction are available here.
  • Fort Lewis College planning documents can be viewed here.
Colorado State Publications Blog

2018 Legislative Session is Underway

The Second Regular Session of the Seventy-first General Assembly began Wednesday with speeches, ceremonies, and the introduction of many bills.  Among the bills introduced yesterday include hot topics such as:

And much more.  Many more bills will be introduced in the coming weeks, including legislation addressing state finances.  You can track all of the bills on the General Assembly’s website, where you will also find information on Senators and Representatives; committees; legislative service agencies; and the legislative process — including how you can participate.

Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: State of the State Speeches

The 2018 legislative session begins tomorrow, and traditionally the first week of the session includes a “State of the State” speech from the governor to the legislature as well as a “State of the Judiciary” speech from the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.  Looking back on historical speeches provides valuable insight on the economy, politics, and culture of the state at that time as well as on the processes of state government.  You can find many of these speeches online from our library.

Trivia:  Which Colorado governor said the following in their State of the State address?  (Answers below).

1.  “It’s inspiring to stand here with you at the state of a new legislative session.  Actually, it’s a little like fly fishing.  Fly fishing is about hope and possibilities.  Every time you cast a line, drop a fly onto the water or move to a new spot, there’s a new opportunity for a promising return.”

2.  “This is serious business which is committed to you and to me.  We cannot do it creditably unless we have sufficient breadth of view and strength of character to keep on terms of mutual respect.”

3.  “Amid a storm of invectives such as no previous governor of the state has ever encountered, and which insisted that the present state executive should violate his oath of office and surrender his conscience into the hands of a moneyed aristocracy, a special session of the general assembly was called and held one year ago.”

4.  “Balancing the books is not the sexy stuff, but if the budget is wrong, nothing else can be right.  Just ask Congress.”

1.  Bill Ritter, 2009.  
2.  Henry Buchtel, 1907.
3.  Davis Waite, 1895.
4.  John Hickenlooper, 2014.

Colorado State Publications Blog

New Laws in Effect January 1

On New Year’s Day several new laws, passed during the 2016 and 2017 legislative sessions, went into effect.  The new laws are:

The 2018 legislative session will begin on Wednesday, January 10.

    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Renovations at the Capitol

    If you work or live near the State Capitol you have probably seen all of the scaffolding and construction work that has been going on this summer and fall.  According to Legislative Council, the exterior work includes roof work, gutter replacement, and the recreation — using old plans and drawings — of historic chimneys that were removed some time ago.  Inside, there is a great deal of work going on as well, including renovations of some of the committee rooms and the basement.  Historic mouldings and archways are being uncovered as part of the project.  For details on the work that is going on through 2018, see the Legislative Council’s LegiSource blog post, which includes some great pictures of the renovations.
    The current renovations follow the highly-praised restorations of the House and Senate Chambers over the last several years.  Work on the chambers included removal of 1950s acoustic tiles, recreation of historic wall stencilings, and restoration of the huge chandeliers as well as the stained glass windows and skylights.  See the Capitol Building’s historic structure assessment here.
    To learn more about preservation and restoration of the Capitol, see the webpage for the General Assembly’s Capitol Building Advisory Committee as well as the Office of the State Architect’s Capitol Complex Master Plan.  For the history of the State Capitol Building, check out the following books from our library:

    • Art of the House: Paintings in the House of Representatives, State Capitol, Denver, Colorado (1990)
    • The Colorado Capitol Building (1960)
    • Colorado Capitol Buildings (1951)
    • Colorado State Capitol (1983, 1992)
    • The Colorado State Capitol: History, Politics, Preservation (2005)
    • Visitor’s Guide to Colorado’s Capitol (1990, 1991, 1994, 2004, and 2005 editions)
    The Colorado House Chambers following restoration. Photo by Tony Eitzel courtesy of Colorado General Assembly.