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.
October 29, 1997 - Programs, Making Democracy Work, Francis McGuire
This week I have several items.
First, at our Parker Library, on October 30, we'll be holding our traditional (seven years in a row) evening of Scary Stories. At 7 p.m. we have our "Tales for the Fainthearted," designed for children ages 3 to 8 and their parents. This session has lots of audience participation and some guaranteed laughs.
At 7:30 comes our "Tales for the Stouthearted." Intended for older children and adults, drawn from folklore, these stories have a different guarantee: they'll creep up on you. The Friends of the Parker Library will provide cookies and apple cider -- ample fortification before a night of trick 'r treating.
Second, just after Halloween, at all of our libraries, we'll be launching our 1997-1998 Winter Reading Program. Public libraries usually offer just one reading program a year, almost always in the summer. The Douglas Public Library District hosts 3 reading programs in twelve months. Given that Douglas County Schools are also year-round, this keeps children involved in books through every season.
This year's winter program is called "Stampede to Read." It begins November 1, and will end on January 31. Registering for the program is simplicity itself. Ask about it at the circulation desk beginning November 1. Participants must read (and record in a provided reading log) at least 15 books. Readers may also enter a drawing for free general admission tickets to the national Western Stock Show. Not only that, there's a prize for the successful completion of the program. (Frankly, reading is its own reward. But some young readers don't figure that out right at the beginning.)
Third, those of you scrambling to make up your minds about various issues on the November ballot should know about a program called "Making Democracy Work." In conjunction with the League of Women Voters of Douglas County, and with the particular support of the Douglas County News-Press, the Douglas Public Library District has assembled two sources of political information. The first can be found in notebooks at the reference desks at our libraries in Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, and Parker. These notebooks contain (for instance) newspaper profiles of school board candidates, as well as information about state-wide issues.
The second source of information is on the World Wide Web. Available at http://douglas.lib.co.us/mdw/ (for Making Democracy Work), our web page offers comprehensive links not only to local news stories, but to state and even national web sites.
This is very much an experiment for the library. Our aim is to offer one-stop shopping for the person determined to cast a knowledgeable vote. We plan to continue the effort. Next year should be even better.
Fourth, although at this writing we haven't nailed down the details, I think we have good news for patrons of the Oakes Mill Library. Last week I reported that our plans for a temporary building fell through. If all goes well, by the middle of November we\'ll have a small bookmobile parked at the site of the new Oakes Mill Library. It won\'t have as many items as we\'d originally planned. But it will enable local residents to order and pick up materials from the rest of the district, and provide a continuing library presence throughout the construction project.
Fifth, finally, but far from least, is the recent death of a dear friend and former library trustee. Francis Maguire died on October 16, 1997. A trustee from 1980 to 1984, Francis was an original. Those of you who knew him, know why. Those of you who did not, have no idea what a splendid person you missed. Memorials in his name may be made to the Douglas Public Library District, or the Douglas County Land Conservancy.