About Auraria Library

Auraria Library is the only tri-institutional academic library in the nation, serving the students, faculty, and staff of three leading urban institutions: University of Colorado Denver; Metropolitan State University of Denver; and Community College of Denver. One in six college students in Colorado attend the Auraria campus. Because the vast majority of the student population are commuters, the Library aspires to be the heart of the campus and a student's home away from home.

Visitors: When the Library first opened in 1976, it was designed to serve a maximum of 15,000 students. Today, it is the intellectual home of over 51,000 students in the same 180,000 square-foot space and welcomes over 900,000 visitors each year. Weekly, as many as 25,000 people walk through the front door, an increase of 21 percent from just five years ago. The Auraria Library website receives upwards of 23,000 unique visitors monthly when classes are in session.

Holdings: The Library houses approximately 650,000 print books and provides access to 140,000 ebooks, 60,000 ejournals, and 280 million electronic resource records through our Summon Discovery service. The Library maintains 580 journal and newspaper subscriptions and 350 database subscriptions. The film and videotape collection has over 22,000 titles. (All numbers are approximate.)

auraria library courtyardBuilding: The Auraria Library building was designed in 1974 by internationally recognized architect Helmut Jahn, completed in 1976, and received a 1978 Excellence-in-Design award from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The building is two stories with a partial basement, totaling 180,000 square feet. It is a classic Free Plan building, characterized by exposed concrete structure, a regular column grid, and other building elements floating free of the columns. The building exterior consists of anodized aluminum and a glass curtain wall system with distinctive white metal louvers on the south and west elevations. In recognition of its continuing design merit, in 2009, the Auraria Library received the 25 year award from the Denver chapter of AIA. This award recognizes the enduring quality of architectural design that has withstood the “test of time” and still functions in its original capacity.

Administration: The Library is administered by University of Colorado Denver and the facility is owned by Auraria Higher Education Center. Funding for the Library’s annual operation is provided by all three higher education institutions based on a specific formula considering such factors as size of the student population and type of library needs.

Auraria Library Scenario 2030


We embrace the roles of convener, communicator, creator, collaborator, and connector of innovative spaces for communities beyond the home campus - expanding conservation roles into generative and creative roles. We enhance the curriculum with scalable and seamless user services. We create and build upon tools that facilitate and encourage a culture of participation and collaboration, forming new links between people and information. We practice cooperative and anticipatory collection management and procurement strategies. With campus partners, we design environments and experiences that facilitate productive teaching, learning, and research.

Key Elements

  • Open, seamless, linked, ubiquitous, and agile enterprise
  • “Boutique” services
  • Active partners in student and faculty success
  • Responsive collections, including locally relevant special collections
  • Designers of inspired learning experiences and community environments
  • Knowledge creation and curation
  • Developing impactful relationships within and across campus, disciplines, and beyond
  • High-performing, fully-engaged learning organization
  • Robust, technology-enabled learning environments
  • Sustainable practices, including but not limited to environmental, social, and economic