Superlative Colorado libraries
making a mark in the world
with a stunning array of firsts and other superlatives

Colorado’s libraries and librarians: a world center for innovation. Ever since 1889, when one of the pioneering giants of librarianship, John Cotton Dana, became director of the Denver Public Library, Colorado has been a hotbed of library developments. For a state with a relatively small population, its contributions to librarianship have been extraordinary. Now into the 21st century, the Colorado library scene continues to be in the forefront  of innovation and leadership.

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Remarkably, this library system has been rated America’s number one a national-record three times.

This Colorado library was one of the first three libraries in the world to be part of a breakthrough international library link

This library stands highest among the world’s libraries: This library is the oldest alpine research facility in the US, containing one the largest mountaineering collections in the world.

This library had the world’s most famous catalog, the first to be accessible by home computer

In 2006 this library system was the first in the nation to offer downloadable videos

The first statewide, multiple-agency, decentralized digitization project was implemented in 1999 with the help of this library

The first open-shelf system, allowing patrons direct access to the stacks, is credited to the Denver Public Library.

A national publication rated the Denver Public Library in the top ten of public libraries in the area of genealogy.

This library is world-renowned for its Western History collection, considered by some to be in the top five nationally.

This library created the nation’s first picture collection, which also was allowed to circulate.

These libraries were part of groundbreaking developments in terms of library collaboration/resources sharing and integrated library systems.

This was the world's first multistate library cooperative and regional library network.

The world’s first and largest Web-based library union catalogue, and the first Web-based statewide information network when it was launched in 1992.

This library boasted the nation’s highest percentage of registered borrowers in 1995.

This is the largest public library between Los Angeles and Chicago.

This library opened the nation’s first children’s library.

This library implemented the first remotely hosted integrated library catalog and circulation software in a U.S. prison system.

This library’s collection is a nationally recognized center for environmental history. The nation’s environmental and conservation organizations have designated this library as their official depository.

This college library was believed to be only the second library in the nation to have installed computer hookups for its users.

This pubic library has been described by one architect as the “most spectacular building between the Mississippi and the Pacific.”

This library is attached to the university that started the world’s first master’s degree program in library science.

Describing this library, this nationally-prominent architect said: "I've never seen this degree of craftsmanship in stonework and millwork in a public building. The work in my own house isn't as good."

These libraries were part of the world’s first linking of dissimilar local library computers into a historic library network.

These libraries and entity were part of groundbreaking developments in terms of library collaboration/resources sharing and integrated library systems

This was the first library in the US to install a Web-filtering “smart card” system.

This specialized collection makes this the only library of its kind between Detroit and Oakland.

This library is unique in the world in that it serves three separate institutions of higher learning.

This library was at one time under the direction of arguably one the most influential and innovative librarian in the history of librarianship.

This library is the second-largest man-made stone structure in the nation.

This library is only among seven public libraries in the country to have display space and a formal exhibit program.

This library ranks in the top five of North American libraries as a tourist attraction.

This library has put itself on the world map as a model for creating a paradigm shift in the new business model of merging libraries with e-publishing.

This library’s exterior has been described as one of the world’s foremost libraries architecturally, as most strikingly unusual, described as “odd” as well as “spectacular” by admirers, but as “ugly” by detractors.

This library suffered the largest water-related library disaster in U.S. history, resulting in an unprecedented restoration project that would be a model for libraries.

Amazing transformation: From worst library system in Colorado, to a revolutionary national model in a quick and stunning turnaround.

This library is believed to be the first carbon-postive library in the US.

These Colorado library systems devised the first catalog-integrated downloads of free public domain e-books and audiobooks

A pioneering library courier system that revolutionizes interlibrary loan deliveries between states.

This elementary school library was the first in the US to switch from the Dewey system to the bookstore model 

This library was the first in the US to purchase an Adobe Content Server to host a digital book collection.

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"Colorado is hot stuff in Libraryland" - Library Journal's Rebecca Miller

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