In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
Since September 2, 2010, the column moved off the library site to laruesviews.blogspot.com.
I don't know what you're thinking about at the end of the year, but here's what's on my mind. What is the evolutionary advantage of music?
You can understand that there are a host of desirable characteristics that influence your selection of a mate. Intelligence. Strength, either physical or emotional. Beauty. (Although, hmm, one might also ask, what's the evolutionary advantage of curly hair, when in the man, it's liable to fall out?) There is the equally mysterious power of the pheromone.
For the past several years, I've been reprinting what I've come to think of as "my Christmas column" -- a tradition. I hope you enjoy it.
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody. It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
It seems like just yesterday when all our kids were small. They were so cute then! There were puppets on the carpet, and just a sprinkle of new children's books on the shelves. The little ones are so wide-eyed and eager to please.
And they're grateful for their one computer -- not like the older kids with their BANKS of PC's, network printers, and wireless connections. Time flies!
When my wife and I travel, we rate the towns we pass through. There are all kinds of criteria. How walkable is it? -- a complex calculation that considers the width of streets, the width of sidewalks and their distance from the thoroughfare, the quality and frequency of parks, the height of trees, the mix of commercial and residential properties, and much more.
How good is the public library? We can just stroll through the building once and have a good sense of how much care is given to the collection, and how customer-oriented the staff is.
As anyone reading my last batch of columns knows, I'm thinking a lot about a deep redesign of some longstanding library practices. Why?
Because our own success has led us to a spot where I can see the end of our capacity to grow. Case in point: what we call "holds."
As I've written before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The message is so simple: let us be thankful.
For all the acrimony that surged around our election season, most of the people in Douglas County are free of so many of the ills of humanity. Few of us go hungry, are tortured or enslaved, are trapped in brutal, dangerous jobs, or suffer outrageous physical challenges. Plus, we get turkey.
The beautiful thing about ignorance is that everything is so simple.
You can spin out love advice to people you've just met. You can consult for somebody else's company, and whip up a detailed long range plan after just a couple of meetings.
Why? Because you don't have time to know ... all the little things.
Sometimes that means you actually do give good advice. You aren't distracted by things that may seem pressing, but really aren't important. That lets you see to the heart of an issue.
I do a lot of reading about technology. And philosophy. And management. They're all connected.
Take, for instance, Linux, the computer operating system. It began as the hobby of a Finnish college student. Linus Torvalds wanted to wring a little more work out of his new DOS-based computer, so tried to program a free clone of Unix. He launched this project on the Internet.
Today, Linux is a collaborative, truly international project. It runs the web servers of Amazon, Google, and IBM.
First: this column is not about politics. Isn't that refreshing?
Second, this week I wanted to air an internal library discussion. We're trying to figure out what percentage of our collection should be "AV" -- audiovisual formats, including DVD's and VHS films, books on tape, books on CD, CD-ROM's and music CD's.
Suppose everything you know about libraries is wrong.
For instance, suppose we have way more than books. The books we do have aren't hidden spine-out on metal shelving. It's OK to carry around a cup of coffee or can of pop. (Yes, for those of you paying attention, we already made those changes!)
Now, suppose libraries don't need service desks. Suppose you don't have to look for staff to ask a question. We look for you.