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 26, 1998 - DPLD Web Statistics
Tell the truth. Do you find your life interesting?
And if you do, do you think other people do?
I admit that I find the "life" of the Douglas Public Library District very interesting indeed. Recently, I've discovered that so does the rest of the world.
I mean that literally. I've been reviewing some statistics from our home page, the library's location on the World Wide Web (http://douglas.lib.co.us).
Would you believe that from July 1 through August 17, 1998 our web site was "visited" by 158 Australians, 137 Canadians, 49 Germans, 37 folks from the UK, 37 Mexicans, 24 Portuguese, 22 Israelis, 21 Malaysians and 20 New Zealanders? It's true.
Not only that, 19 people from Singapore dropped by, 18 from the Czech Republic, 13 from Slovenia, 11 from the Russian Federation, and (if I can skip down the list quite a ways) 2 from Estonia, 2 for Bahrain (a country I did not even know about), and 1 from Guyana.
Altogether, 42 countries are represented (including our own).
Another way to group the data is this: in the same period, we were visited by 11,552 people on commercial networks, 8,144 folks on other networks, 1,841 from educational institutions, 258 from governmental organizations, 168 from military institutions, and 1,331 from non-profit companies.
So you have to wonder (at least I do) -- what were they looking at?
Well, 21,095 of the "hits" were on the library's home page. Over 5,000 of them were looking at various web searching tools prepared by Missy Shock, the woman who has designed most of our internal training program, as well as various Internet navigational pages.
Well over 2,000 people were looking at various items created by the Douglas County News Press -- the Douglas County Guide at 728 and the rest sprinkled among various newspaper search pages. (We host these pages, which are just about due for an update, in an effort to make local historical information more easily retrieved.) 281 were checking out the News Press page about Douglas County courts. Let us hope the judges were kind.
1,196 people were checking out the Colorado Library Association's web page for the 1998 conference in Colorado Springs. (The web site happens to reside on our library's computer because I'm the President-Elect for the Association).
Almost 400 folks looked at our Highlands Ranch Library project page.
252 people checked out our Making Democracy Work pages.
Frankly, I'm staggered. That's a lot of attention not only from our own patrons, but from the world. It may reflect the fact that our library was one of the first to firmly establish itself on the Web. It may have something to do with the variety of information we offer, far more than many of our sister libraries.
Or it just might be that life in Douglas County is one of the more interesting spots on the planet.
Makes sense to me.