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.
June 5, 2002 - Operation Enduring Friendship
For some time to come, the library will order and circulate many books about Sept. 11.
Such a staggering blow takes time to process. While some facts about the event are undeniably clear, the search for the meaning of those facts may never be over.
Our papers are full of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, political speeches in France, and potential nuclear confrontations on the border between India and Pakistan. Closer to home there are concerns about the clear need for increased security on our airlines, concomitant new restrictions on domestic liberties, and the past performance and future orientation of the FBI.
More hopefully, there are also efforts that seek to build strong new bonds between nations. Many of these are the ties of trade; others belong to cooperative humanitarian efforts, often delivered by such international service organizations as the Rotary, or Habitat for Humanity.
Over and over, all of these things focus on adults. It is the tendency in times of war to brush the children aside, to seek to shelter and protect them. Yet our children, too, are witnesses to history.
To my mind one of the most encouraging responses to Sept. 11 has been the recent effort of the Huskies Quarterback Club. On August, 24, 2002, the Huskies, the football team of Douglas County High School, are scheduled to play a game against the Lions -- the football team of the Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx, New York. The Huskies Quarterback Club is raising funds to fly the Lions all the way from the Bronx for the event.
Why? Well, in the words of a New York football commissioner, "Everything is done with adults in mind. This is done with the kids in mind." It will do the high school students in New York some good to visit the High Country. It will do our own students some good to mingle with them.
In an affecting videotape, entitled, "Operation Enduring Friendship," local football booster, Eric Wellman, asks some of the kids in New York to name one of the states that borders Colorado. After some hesitation, one of them guesses, "Arizona?"
At that, they fare better than many Douglas County athletes, asked to name any of the five Boroughs of New York. One Husky says, "A burro is a kind of mule..."
Most of the kids on the New York team have never been outside their city, much less their state. Some of the kids even wondered if they had to get passports.
But don't mistake them for innocents. Their faces are streetwise and savvy. And they certainly do look like they can play football.
Also featured on the "Operation Enduring Friendship" video are the kids' reminiscences of the attack on the Trade Towers. Some of the students had relatives in the immediate vicinity. One of their former teachers died in a rescue attempt.
The excitement the Lions feel about the trip is obvious and genuine. And as for our team, they say they're ready to play.
To contribute to this altogether worthwhile effort, please consider attending the 3rd Annual Huskie's Hoedown, on June 7, 2002, at the Wiens Ranch. Tickets are $100, and will only be sold in advance. This adult-only evening begins at 5 with cocktails, follows up with a dinner at 7, then a silent auction, then some presentations and a live auction. At 9:30 p.m., there's a Diamond Rio Concert.
More information is available online at www.eteamz.com/dchuskiesfootball and look for the Diamond Rio. Or call Jackie Padilla at 303-688-2608, Gail Wellman at 303-681-9562, or Candy Burtis at 303-688-5167.
Oh, and the answer to those questions. The states bordering Colorado are Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The five boroughs of New York are Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.