Some Denver Public Libraries Reopening Now, Recreation Centers Soon to Follow

The Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library is one of the first in the city to reopen. Photo by David Sabados

After being closed to the public for nearly a year, some Denver public libraries are again open, including the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library near Federal and Colfax. The first group of libraries reopened on March 9th as the first part of their phased reopening plan. “We are delighted to begin to reopen our locations to the public,”said Michelle Jeske, city librarian. “Our teams have been working hard behind the scenes to determine a safe way to provide the community with access to our spaces and resources.” 

Other locations, including the Woodbury and Smiley Branches in NW Denver, remain closed to browsing but are still offering curbside pickup. Smiley has also been undergoing renovations (more on that in our next issue) and the city hopes to reopen it as soon as work is completed. Denver public libraries are also continuing their expanded online programming for the time being.

As locations reopen, they ask anyone who is not feeling well to stay home.Libraries will be enforcing social distancing and requiring all guests over the age of three to wear a mask when inside. For more information, visit You can also call the Gonzales branch at (720) 865-2370.

Meanwhile, Denver’s recreation centers are planning their own phased reopenings soon. Some rec centers are planning on opening in May, offering access to cardio and weight training areas by reservation only. Like libraries, reopening may look different at different locations; some rec centers are planning both indoor and outdoor activities at a reduced capacity, including Highland in May and potentially Rude in June. A welcomed update for many parents is that eight pools should be opening this summer, including Berkeley (at Scheitler) and Globeville-Argo. Denver kept all pools shut during the summer of 2020. Scheitler is currently scheduled to fully open in August. 

Some fulltime rec center staff were redeployed to other departments last year, helping with COVID testing sites, staffing learning centers for DPS students who couldn’t study from home, and working on other projects as needed; most of them will now transition back. Since many employees are seasonal and did not work last year, the city will have to hire and (re)train enough employees to operate the facilities, so anyone interested in season work should keep an eye out for job postings.

Like the libraries, Denver rec centers are also continuing their expanded online programing for the time being and the public is encouraged to take advantage of online classes.

Officials were quick to add that all reopening plans are contingent upon CDC guidance, CDPHE public health orders, and other regulations. In order for the city to continue to reopen, the public is reminded to continue to wear a mask when in public, continue social distancing, and otherwise take precautions to keep Denver’s COVID-19 infection rate from climbing. For more information on rec center reopenings as it becomes available, visit


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