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.
November 12, 1997 - Merging of Newspapers: DPLD Overview
As previously reported by this paper, the owners of the Douglas County News-Press recently acquired the Highlands Herald.
For News-Press readers, my column is familiar. I've been writing it for the past seven years. Readers of the Herald, however, are probably wondering what happened to Cindy Murphy's column. Cindy has been writing for the Herald for ten years about library goings-on, all of her columns packed with useful information.
Fear not. Cindy is still working for the library, still buzzing around the county, still baking brownies as necessary (and it's surprising just how often it IS necessary). She's still writing newspaper columns, too, just not here.
It happens that Cindy and I used to alternate columns for another Douglas County newspaper (Parker's Weekly News Chronicle). When my column got merged across two papers, she inherited the other one full-time.
So since my column is new to some people, and since it's always the case that some people are new to Douglas County, I thought I'd take the time to say what the Douglas Public Library District is, and what you're liable to find in this column.
DPLD (the Douglas Public Library District) is, like many Douglas County entities, fairly young. We were formed, by taxpayer vote, as an independent taxing district in November, 1990. Before that time, we were an impoverished department of Douglas County government. The district includes the following service locations:
Highlands Ranch Library (791-7703), 48 W. Springer Drive, Highlands Ranch;
Louviers Library (791-7323), Louviers Village Club House;
Oakes Mill Library (under construction through next summer, although we should shortly have a bookmobile at 8827 Lone Tree Parkway, Lone Tree);
Parker Library (841-3503), 10851 S Crossroads Drive, Parker;
Philip S. Miller (688-5157), 961 S. Plum Creek Blvd, Castle Rock;
as well as "satellite" operations at the Roxborough and Cherry Valley Elementary Schools. We also operate a Books by Mail program for residents of the community of Deckers.
With the exception of Louviers, Roxborough, and Cherry Valley, our libraries are open 7 days a week: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Most of our libraries offer children's story times every week day, and in some cases, several times a day. Call for exact schedules, or look for the calendar elsewhere in this paper.
All of our libraries also offer, in addition to hundreds of thousands of new materials, the ability to place those materials "on hold," either in person, or by connecting your computer to ours. Patrons (that's you) can direct that the items be sent to a particular library for convenient pick-up. Speaking of computers, we have an always developing World Wide Web site, too, at http://douglas.lib.co.us.
Yet another service is "reference." Yes, we pay people to answer your questions, by phone or in person. For free. Whether it's a consumer question, a homework resource, or a business question, you'll find that our reference staff are eager to track down the right answer.
DPLD is the 7th busiest library in the state. Our population is far from the 7th largest. What that means is that our patrons are among the heaviest library users you'll find. But we also offer a free literacy tutoring service.
What will you find in this column? I promise to use the word "library" at least once each week. Beyond that, I might talk about new services, issues library staff are grappling with, or any of a number of things I've been reading or thinking about that have some bearing on the role of the library in Douglas County.
If you want to contact me, my phone is 688-8752. You can also write me care of Philip S. Miller Library, or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Generally speaking, I also try to have some fun. After all, I'm the director of a library. Libraries are the best places in the whole world. Why shouldn't I be enjoying myself?