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 6, 2001 - Parker Library Legacy
In 1995, we opened our renovated Parker Library in a former bowling alley. Our architects, Humphries Poli, did a brilliant job of responding to a key public concern: how to make a building on the west side of Parker Road feel like part of Mainstreet.
How did they do it? By making the first internal corridor of the library feel like a street. We had lamp posts and storefront windows and cafe tables.
And we had paving bricks.
The bricks were sold as fundraisers for the new building, and funded a host of library amenities. On those bricks were various sayings. One, pulled I think from a Batman movie, was "Never rub another man's rhubarb." Others used the bricks as memorials. A few used them as advertisements.
My wife and I bought a brick for our kids. It has their names on it, and a statement appropriate to the children of two librarians. I was proud to make a personal contribution to a key civic structure. But there's another dimension to this. Now the library feels like home. When I walk in the building with my daughter and son, the first thing they do is run to find their names. The Parker Library has become a touchstone for them.
Well, over the past five years, we've filled up the Parker Library. Now we're going back to do something we planned from the beginning: finish some internal space we "banked" for the future. Over the next several months, we'll be shuffling things around as we add some 4,000 square feet to the library. We do ask for your patience. Internal construction can be a little messy.
By the end, we'll have an expanded and much improved children's area, as well as various other amenities.
Because our fundraising efforts were so successful last time, we'd like to give the community the opportunity to make a difference again. Ask at the library for our Parker Gift Catalog, also available online at www.dpld.org/about_us/parker/.
In brief, these are the projects we're looking to add, and how much money we need to do them.
Children's Room - $20,000. Your gift can significantly enhance what we offer here. The children's room, incidentally, will have its own story time area, which will free up another community meeting room.
Reading Sanctuary - $15,000. Think plush chairs.
Life-size reading sculpture - $13,500. We've had a charming sculpture on display that shows a young girl reading on a bench. Why not make it a permanent part of our collection?
Children's Fantasy Wall - $12,000. This one is taken! Thank you, to our stalwart Friends of the Parker Library. (An aside: I've noticed that there's a growing interest in public art. What better combination than art and reading?)
Conference Room - $2,500. This is a quiet meeting area, suitable for small gatherings and presentations.
Outdoor reading benches - $1,000. Our Reading Garden is a lovely place to sit. It is an excuse to linger even longer at the library.
Bike Rack - $750. Let's make it easier, and safer, for people to bike to the library.
Personalized brick - $150. We're offering, again, this wonderful chance to put your name, or the name of people you love, in an enduring public place. (Note: the deadline for this has been extended through September, 2001.)
So whether you're interested in creating a quiet family remembrance, or your business would like to make a statement about its continuing investment in the community, the Parker Library will welcome your attention.