In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
First, my thanks to the literally thousands of people who have responded to recent library mailings about our consideration of a proposal to add additional library space and materials around the county. I appreciate it.
Second, some of our citizens have asked pointed questions. I'd like to answer them.
Question: in Parker, why don't we just buy and renovate the vacant King Soopers, as we did with the old Safeway in Castle Rock?
Answer: the building isn't for sale. The owners have other plans for the property. We can't buy what isn't on the market.
Question: "are you idiots aware that there's a recession?"
Answer: we have got to do something about the quality of public discourse in this county.
No, we're not idiots. Yes, we are aware that some of us are spending up to $30 more a week to fill up our gas tanks -- for which we receive absolutely NO increase in value.
Libraries- Necessity or Luxury?
by Sharon Nemechek, Manager, Lone Tree Library
[I was having a conversation with the manager of our Lone Tree Library recently. The topic was "what do people need?" This literate and engaging essay is Sharon's eloquent answer. - Jamie LaRue]
Can you identify the necessities in your life? Stop and think….are you able to distinguish the necessities from the conveniences and the luxuries? Most of us would agree that our basic needs include air, food, water and shelter. But, what about books?
In "Man’s Search for Meaning," Viktor Frankl, who was imprisoned in four different concentration camps during WWII, observed that it was not necessarily the strong, fit laborers who survived the starvation, torture and hard physical labor in the camps, but those prisoners who had travelled and read books. For the few hours they were idle they escaped the daily horrors of the camp and in their minds visited the places they had seen in life or in literature. That mental escape was essential to their survival.
[This week I wanted to highlight the business development work of the library and its partners. Our "reporter" is Rochelle Logan, my wonderful Associate Director of Research and Collections.]
I recently attended the National Economic Gardening Conference in Steamboat Springs where participants from twenty states, Japan and Australia came together to discuss ways to support small businesses in their communities. The concept of Economic Gardening started in Littleton, Colorado some twenty years ago. In addition to attracting new business from outside your city or county and keeping them, Economic Gardening (EG) helps local entrepreneurs thrive and grow which brings more resources to the community.
"Economic Gardening is a great opportunity for smaller businesses. It provides access to resource channels that they might not be aware of or otherwise be difficult to engage." Christian Eppers, Manager of Economic Gardening, Chamber of Commerce at Highlands Ranch.
A few weeks ago, I put out a call for stories about how the library changed lives. I'd like to give you a taste of some of the wonderful responses we've gotten. This one is from Hannah Fenstermacher: "I grew up with the library having a consistent presence in my life. My mom was a library fan, and I remember going to our small town library each week to pick out new books. I continued to enjoy libraries as I went on to college - and then when I moved to Castle Rock - the library was one of the first places on my list to visit.
I've learned a few things over the years.
1. Almost everything important requires teamwork.
2. Significant achievement should be celebrated.
3. Nothing is ever finished.
In light of these three principles, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge a big moment: a new library website.
When I was a kid (one of five), my parents could afford only one vacation a year: a car trip from north of Chicago to my mother's folks in Ohio. It was usually in the hottest month of the year.
The interstate highway program was still under development back then. For years, the trip took 10-12 hours, as we stuttered, stoplight by stoplight, on the two lane roads through Chicago, then Gary, Indiana (whose sky was always red, even at night), and across Indiana.
Eventually, with I-94 and I-80, the trip got whittled down to six hours, allowing no more than two potty breaks.
Imagine five kids in the back of a Ford four-door. No seat belts. Six hours. Pre-air-conditioning. Parents who smoked more or less constantly, interrupted only by the usual threats: "Don't make me stop this car! Do I have to come back there and separate you two?"
It's a wonder any of us survived.
I brought comic books and science fiction novels, because it didn't bother me to read in the car. But we usually had to fall back on dumb Interstate games -- finding a license from the farthest away state, looking for words on billboards, extra points for being the first to spot a VW bug, and so on.
Back when I was in library school, I did a research paper on the founding of Illinois libraries. It turned out that over 97% of them were formed by women's groups, mostly in the late 1800s.
Women's groups, as a whole arm of societal effort, were mostly the result of women's being locked out of the work force. There was a lot of untapped intelligence, energy, and organizational expertise in those women. But there were few approved outlets.
Libraries change lives. They sure changed mine, and more than once.
For instance, back at the end of fourth grade I went to the downtown library. I saw Mrs. Johnson, the first librarian I had ever met (way back at the bookmobile, which was another life-changing experience). We got to talking, I don't remember what about, but I do remember that she gave me a book called "The Dialogues of Plato."
That might seem like an odd thing to give a 10-year-old. But there are at least two explanations.
First, I was an odd 10-year-old.
Second, Mrs. Johnson believed in the Great Books. "You can read?" she thought. "Then you should read about Socrates!"
She was right.
The first dialog I read posed a deceptively simple question: "What is wise?" Then followed the most amazing conversation. Everything the student said was questioned, and questioned again, and again.
Until then, I had no idea that thinking, that talking, could be so much fun.
The other kids in my class were interested in ... well, I'm not sure what they were interested in. TV? Sports, some of them. But I know what I was interested in.
The examined life.
For our 25th wedding anniversary, I gave my wife a framed version of a beautiful photograph she took of a pond in Berlin.
She asked what I wanted. I said I wanted to have my DNA tested. After 25 years, I said, you deserve to know who I am.
So she ordered the testing kit from National Geographic's Genographic Project (see www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic), and I dutifully swabbed the inside of my cheeks with the scraper. It will be some four to six weeks before I hear back. It cost about $100.
So those rumors about Indian ancestry -- truth or myth? Are there any other surprises? I chose to follow the paternal line (my paternal grandmother's father was supposed to be full-blooded Cherokee).
National Geographic also sent a quite wonderful DVD about the genetic history of the human race. Dr. Spencer Wells is a most engaging host, who gallivants around the globe exploring and explaining human genetic change.
Here's the broad thesis of modern genetics: we are all Africans.
I want to tell you about a magical book. It's a book that tells several stories at once, filled with tragedy and humor and love. It does this utterly without words.
The book is called The Arrival, by Shaun Tan. It is, technically, a "graphic novel" -- a sort of hardbound comic book.
The cover looks like a worn leather folio, with a drawing of a man encountering some kind of bizarre animal. Just inside the covers is another arresting image: 60 faces, of every ethnicity.
The story begins in what I think of as "the old country." A man is packing up a photograph of his small family. Soon, we see them all walking through the city. Around them there are shadows: the tails of dragons, snaking through the gray streets.
The man boards a train, pulling away from the fingers of his wife and daughter.
Soon he is on a ship, along with many other emigrants. For several pages, we see nothing but clouds. Finally, he arrives to a country that is utterly bewildering. There is a big harbor, with statues in the water. There is an enormous hall.