For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
August 13, 1997 - The World in 1967
I have before me a book called The World in 1967, by the writers, photographers and editors of the Associated Press. The Forward to the book states, "Certainly 1967 ... made more news than any other year since World War II."
Here's a sample:
January. Jack Ruby, assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald, dies in prison. Three American astronauts (Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, Edward White) die trapped in a spacecraft fire, just before launch.
Timothy Leary tells 15,000 "youngsters,"\"Turn on to the scene; tune into what's happening; and drop out -- of high school, college, grad school ... and follow me." Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, is convicted of 13 acts of homicide over an 18 month period.
February. Newspapers report evidence of CIA infiltration and subversion of various student organizations over the past 15 years, which "used students to spy."
March. Jimmy Hoffa goes to prison, convicted of accepting a $1 million payoff from a trucking firm to assure labor peace. In prison, he gets a job in the laundry for $5.60 an hour -- the average minimum of his union (the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) is then $3.50 per hour.
The supertanker Torrey Canyon rams into the Seven Stones, a reef near the southwest tip of England: the first big oil spill.
April. The daughter of Stalin, Svetlana, defects to the West. Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in space.
Richard Speck is found guilty of the murder of eight women in a Chicago student nursing dormitory.
May. Elvis Presley (32) weds Priscilla Beaulieu (21). Justice Thurgood Marshall is appointed to the Supreme Court.
July. The beginning of "the longest summer." Racial violence occurs in 114 communities in 32 states. At least 88 people die, 4,000 are injured, and more than 12,000 arrested. Damage is estimated well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
A report by the U.S. Public Health Service states that cigarette smoking has a significant relationship to the incidence of various types of cancer, lung ailments and heart disease. The findings are hotly contested by the tobacco industry.
The "Red Guard" in China continues its reign of terror, part of the so-called "Cultural Revolution."
It's the "summer of love" in San Francisco. The amphetamine "methedrine" is introduced. The rumor that "smoking bananas can get you high" is exposed as a hoax: an attempt to get the Federal Food and Drug Administration to outlaw a fruit.
September. Two million children do not start school due to widespread teacher strikes. Hurricane Beulah hits Corpus Christi.
November. United Auto Workers win a Ford contract that sets precedents in labor negotiations: a dollar an hour increase in wages and fringe benefits (to $5.70 an hour), a significant increase in unemployment benefits, and an increase in pensions.
December. The first heart transplant.
Throughout the year, there were many stories connected to Viet Nam: a march on Washington here, and in Viet Nam, 24,000 civilian deaths, versus 19,000 deaths of American and South Vietnamese soldiers. Mohammed Ali is convicted of draft evasion (he sought conscientious objector status as a Muslim priest).
And in less serious news, Twiggy (5 foot 6 inches, 91 pounds) is hailed as the new fashion ideal. Five hundred people hold a "Fat-In" protest at New York's Central Park. Their motto: "Help cure emaciation: take a fat girl to dinner."
Some motion pictures of the year: A Man for all Seasons, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Bonnie and Clyde.
Some Grammy Award winning songs: "Strangers in the Night," by Frank Sinatra; "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band; "Eleanor Rigby," by the Beatles; "Monday, Monday," by the Mamas and the Papas. Best female vocal performance: Eydie Gorme's "If He Walked into My Life."
Against this backdrop: the Douglas County Public Library begins its first year of operations.
And that's the news from 30 years ago.