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 14, 2007 - Now, It's Your Turn
I've been writing this weekly column about libraries for 17 years. My readers know what I think about libraries. (Hint: I like them. A lot.)
Over the years, I've met thousands of library patrons. In Douglas County, they're a remarkably literate bunch. By that I mean that they're not just readers. They're writers, too, whether that's a short note, a long email, a thoughtful letter to the editor, and even their own books.
They have library stories to tell, too. Here are just a few, sent to us recently.
"We enjoy this library so much, and being on a fixed income, do not usually purchase books or subscribe to magazines ... The NEW LOOK of the Lone Tree Library is just lovely and your staff is not only helpful, but friendly too." - Judy and Paul Bodenberger.
"I am writing you today to say how important the Library and its resources are to our family. I am a Homeschooling Mom, with a daughter in 5th grade, and an Autistic son in 3rd grade. Your library is an invaluable resource for research, entertainment, and education. If I didn't have such a great facility so convenient to me, my ability to give my child a quality education would suffer." - Tammy Breeding
"We are a family of five with four library cards. We make at least two trips to the library each week to return books or pick up books ... the Highlands Ranch Library is a full package for our growing, learning, curious family." - Brent Rollings
"I take advantage of so many events and activities that the library offers that I wouldn't like to think of my life without it. The staff are helpful and knowledgeable, and the facilities are modern, well-lit and inviting. The literacy program is important, and I personally know of a student who benefited tremendously from it." - Jean Sherer
"I quit my professional job and Iím a student Ö again Ö working on an associate degree at the community college. ... Whether Iím in the reference or non reference areas, the reception and assistance that Iíve received is exceptional!!" - Tomiko Takeda
"Our grandchildren ask every week if they can go to the library, I believe particularly for the excitement and familiarity of being there, getting new books, and of course visiting the fish tank. ... Our library is a big part of our lives!!" - Tom Stanley
"Mom was a reader and because of her example and love of books, my siblings and I are all readers. We were taught if you don't know the answer, seek it out in a book. I have a deep love and respect for libraries, great or small; I find them havens of quiet knowledge and respite from a busy, crazy world." - Cris Wilson
As I've thought this over, I've decided to give more of a voice to the folks who actually use our services. To that end, I'm happy to announce a "guest columnist" program. Once a month, I'm going to give over this space to one of our patrons.
If you have a story to tell about what the library means to you and your family, drop a line to Katie Klossner, our Community Relations Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She'll send you the guidelines (basically, keep it between 500 and 700 words!). We'll keep this up for a few months and see what people think of it.
Meanwhile, thank you all for your really astonishing support of the library. It's a Douglas County value!