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 21, 1998 - Election Follow-up and Thanks
Well, the elections are over (for now).
I admit that on the day of the Primary, I still hadn't made up my mind about a few races. So I devoted some private time not only to reviewing the library's Making Democracy Work folders, but to finding out what was available on the World Wide Web.
In keeping with observations I've made in previous columns, I found newspapers to be the definitive information source. But now they're online: the Douglas County News Press, the Denver Post, and the Rocky Mountain News.
When I was done with my research, I was so impressed that I linked to these resources from our Making Democracy Work website. Remember this site in November: available from any library Internet workstation, or from your own home (if you've got Internet access), this is one stop shopping to review in-depth information about issues and candidates.
I didn't get around to looking at Primary results until the following morning. (The best source for Douglas County, incidentally, was Douglas County -- at its recently expanded website: http://www.douglas.co.us. You'll find that link at our website, too. It's worth a look.)
One of the races I was following with particular interest was State Senate District 30. According to the Post, John Evans won, although the Post's tallies didn't add up (it turns out that the AP had added an inadvertent zero to the count). The Rocky Mountain News proclaimed Ted Harvey the winner. The News Press, incidentally, got it right: Evans.
I was also struck by Chuck Herman's comment about how he'd never appreciated what candidates went through until he actually had to campaign. As a veteran of two hard campaigns (one of which Herman opposed), I entirely sympathized.
Another important piece of the democratic puzzle happens behind the scenes, in the Elections office of the Clerk and County Recorder's Office. I think at this point I've worked every part of it that a member of the public can: as election judge, as supply judge, as write-in recorder back at the main office, and as general hanger-on as the old cards were batched and run through the machine (and this year's election equipment upgrade was clearly an improvement).
While many people have worked as judges through the years, many more have not. So they don't know what the rest of us do: Reta Crain has run a very tight ship, so clean it squeaks. She and her staff are invariably well-organized, responsive to the public, and painstakingly correct in every procedure. Reta has maintained these high standards through a period of explosive growth, and sweeping changes in campaign regulations. I'm sure Carole Murray will do a grand job. But when she does, that will be part of a well-established tradition.
It's easy to focus on the winners of a campaign, the fresh new faces, glowing with victory. But I'd like to take the time to congratulate, first, all the candidates. Whether you won or lost, thanks for participating in our democracy, thanks for giving the electorate some choices, and thanks for caring enough in the first place.
Second, I'd like to thank those who have served in the past, but through term limits (Dick Mutzebaugh, Jeanne Adkins) or personal reasons (Reta Crain) have moved along. We are in your debt.