Denver Public Library considers the entire spectrum of knowledge to be its purview, and it considers the entire spectrum of the community as its user population. The public library is particularly sensitive to the information needs and flows in the community; its funding base is that of the total community; and it is unfettered by the impingements of a parental organization. Every attempt is made to establish programs that provide outreach and visibility in the local community.
The public library meets broad social needs, but its characteristic mode of operation is individualized whether the user is a person, a group, an organization, a business, or a government. It is therefore essential that the public library focus not only on major social trends but also on techniques to identify and meet unique individual needs. Society needs an agency to guide the user at all levels to the most significant representative materials to meet each individual's need for information, knowledge and ideas. In order to meet those needs, society needs an agency to digest, evaluate, and make responsible decisions to retain or erase the materials produced. Society needs an agency with accountability to the whole community to assume leadership in coordinating the numerous agencies and institutions which generate, preserve, and disseminate the current record of experience. Society needs an agency to maintain certain portions of the record and to develop effective networks capable of supplying the record when and where it is needed.
The specific role of the public library in responding to the broad needs of society grows out of its existence as a public agency, with broad tax support and the responsibility to serve the total community rather that a specific clientele. For the user with specialized information needs, the public library must continue to act as a point of entry into the national network of libraries and information resources. For individuals or groups in their life roles, the public library must continue to act as a popularizer, making the human record accessible, alerting people to it, and stimulating its use. As the one type of library accountable to the total community, the public library of the future must play a strong coordinative role, leading all libraries in their response to today's new social needs.