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.
March 16, 2006 - IB Students Win Scholarships
It could be that I hung around with the wrong kind of kids in high school. Now that I think of it, I probably WAS the wrong kind of kid in high school, and that's why they hung around with me.
My daughter's experience has been different, and almost certainly better. She's a senior at Douglas County High School. She's also in the International Baccalaureate program.
I have to say, when I watched her, for 2 years now, bring home some 4 hours of homework each night, I wondered if that was altogether good.
Of course the only time I had 4 hours of homework was when I had a big paper due the next day.
Back then, I thought school was totally irrelevant. When, I used to ask people, was I ever going to have to crank out big projects, involving both research and writing, by some arbitrary deadline?
Answer: for the rest of my life.
But what I learned slowly, Maddy seemed to know instinctively. And it's even better than that.
Maddy loves to learn. The only time I've ever seen her really frustrated is when some teacher or class asks too little of her. She thrives on academic challenge -- always has.
Where I learned the rules by breaking them, Maddy learned them by careful observation, followed by disciplined application of effort.
This, I believe, best explains the significant difference between our Cumulative Grade Point Averages.
Like her mother, Maddy has the itch to travel. She's been to Europe twice already on school tours, and is slated to go again for a theater competition in Scotland this summer. Maddy also has my wife's gift for languages.
So we weren't surprised when Maddy told us she wanted to go to university in Europe.
True to form, she did her research, followed by all the paperwork.
And one by one, every college she applied to scrambled to accept her. Then, Maddy started downloading the financial aid forms.
Note to other parents: college is expensive. European colleges aren't much better. But they aren't much worse, either.
Here's the kicker. Just last week, Maddy learned via email that she seems to have been awarded a full ride to the International University Bremen, Germany.
She's not the first Douglas County High School student to pull this off. About a month earlier, another International Baccalaureate student, and one of Maddy's many bright and accomplished friends, got the same 3 year scholarship to the same school. (It's a 3 year program.)
This friend, Lauren Greyson, reminds me of Maddy quite a lot. Both are not only frighteningly smart and focused, they are cute, charming, and very funny.
They will have a wonderful time in Europe, however programs, scholarships and parental separation anxieties finally play themselves out.
I would like to say that the well-deserved, thoroughly earned achievements of these remarkable young women had something to do with the library. About the best I can come up with is that Maddy told me about her scholarship in one of our study rooms, in the company of several of her cohorts.
No, maybe I can do better than that.
All of Maddy's life, she has been showered in the fountain of human knowledge. The library has always been there, a resource, a sanctuary, and a stimulus to further exploration.
One day, I have no doubt, she will have her own unique contributions to that vast memory that is the birthright of our species.
Maddy, you have once again overwhelmed your father with pride. Well done!