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.
September 11, 1997 - Rindercella
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading to Mrs. Roisun's 2nd grade class at Rock Ridge Elementary. The day before, I had happened across a very funny story called "Rindercella" on the Internet. As a lad who could not pronounce "bathtub" (I said "tathbub" well into elementary school), I found this strangely compelling.
Well, the kids at Rock Ridge loved it. I'd pause after every mangled phrase and wait for them to untangle it, then call out the right words. It was as much fun for me as it was for them. (And never forget that 2nd graders are plenty smart about language.)
I thought my readers -- parents with small children at home or not -- would enjoy this fractured read-aloud, too. Attributed by one Jerry Mansfield (the Head of Public Services of the U.S. Postal Service Library), the Story of Rindercella goes something like this.
Once upon a time in a coreign fountry there was a geautiful birl named Rindercella. Now, Rindercella lived with her mugly other and two sad blisters. Also in this same coreign fountry there lived a very pransom hince who was going to have a bancy fall.
The pransom hince had invited people from riles amound to the bancy fall especially the pich reople. Rindercella's mugly other and two sad blisters were invited to the bancy fall but poor Rindercella could not go because all she had to wear was rirty old dags. So Rindercella cat down and shried. While she was citten there shrying her gerrymodfather appeared. Her gerrymodfather waved her wagic mand and Rindercella's rirty old dags became a geautiful bown. Then she waved her wagic mand again and before them appeared a cagestoach and whix hite sorses. So, Rindercella was off to the the bancy fall as her gerrymodfather shouted, "Be sure to be home by nidmight or you will purn into a tumpkin!"
As Rindercella ceached the rastle, who should meet her at the gate but the pransom hince himself. Rindercella and the pransom hince nanced and nanced all dight and lell in fove. Suddenly, the clock mruck stidnight. Rindercella staced down the rairs and just as she beached the rottom, she slopped her dripper.
The very next day the pransom hince searched all over the coreign fountry for the geautiful birl who had slopped her dripper. Finally he came to Rindercella's house. First the pransom hince tried the dripper on Rindercella's mugly other and it fidn't dit. Then he tried the dripper on Rindercella's two sad blisters, and it fidn't dit. Then he tried the dripper on Rindercella and it fid dit. It was exactly the sight rize!
So, Rindercella and the pransom hince got married and lived happily tever nifter ...er, sloppily never hifter ...er, hiftily sever clifter ...well, they were happy anyway.
The storal of the mory is "If you want to go to a bancy fall and nance all dight with a pransom hince and lall in fove and met garried, then DON'T FORGET TO SLOP YOUR DRIPPER!"