In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
Back at the end of March, I wrote about something I was calling "community reference." The idea was as radical as it is obvious: people with questions may not think to ask a librarian, so the library needs to send the librarians to the people.
Sometimes, those questions are big -- so big that whole neighborhoods or municipalities wrestle with them. Here's an example: how do you build and sustain a vibrant "downtown?"
Do any of you remember when you checked out a book in the "old days," i.e. the Sixties? They would take an actual photograph of your card and the removable library card pasted into the book. You would stand there at the checkout counter, and the librarian (complete with glasses and a bun) would step on a foot pedal, triggering the bright light photo and a neat 1960's mechanical noise, taking the picture, so as to trace you if you became overdue or worse.
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.
Ah, summer, the season of lawn mowers and pollen. But there are compensations.
My daughter will be home from her first year at college overseas. My son will be able to start making claymation movies again, having blasted through his final weeks of infernal math homework.
For awhile, young people will bask in the heat and indolence of seasonal downtime. Then, of course, they'll get bored.
What to do?
Well, I did it. I wrote a book, and it got published. I unpacked my six free copies on a Friday night.
By Monday, I'd read it four times.
There's good news and bad news about being a published author. Here's the bad news.
The copyediting process caught several things I'd missed. For instance, I told the same story twice, in two widely seperated sections of the book. The editor asked me which one I wanted to cut, and I picked one.
But in the final review, both of them were still there. So I sent in another correction.
Over 15 years ago, my wife and I wrote an article called "Green Librarianship." It was based on a lot of research, just coming out at that time, about how our buildings were making us sick.
Back then, a few vendors tried to offer alternatives to the toxic glues used to hold down carpets, the formaldehyde-soaked pressboard used for insulation, and hermetically sealed heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. And most of these vendors were seen as kooks.
I've served on many boards. Most of them have much in common. They adopt policies. They scrutinize the budget. They hire, evaluate, coach, and compensate (or terminate) the executive who reports to them.
But you know what's uncommon? Boards that take a hard look at their OWN performance.
When I was in sixth grade, my fabulous public school teacher, Mr. Smith, sparked my interest in haiku, the Japanese verse form.
It fascinated me. Forty years later, it still does.
My own son, at about the same age I was when I encountered Japanese poetry, was captivated by another art form: film. In particular, he's absorbed by the tiny incremental repositioning of clay figures that adds up to the illusion of motion. It's called claymation, and Max is very good at it.
On the one hand, how could they fail to be popular? Electronic books (ebooks) would seem to have clear advantages over paper. No more dog ears or gum wrappers -- you just create an electronic bookmark, or search the whole book for some phrase.
Some of the ebook readers -- whether the now vanished RocketBook or Sony's new entry into the market -- can hold a dozen titles or more. So in one paperback size package, it might be possible to cram, for instance, a whole summer's worth of light reading.
I admit that I don't get it. Why would somebody steal something they can borrow for free? Particularly when most of us have too much barely-used stuff as it is?
I hasten to add that the loss rate of library materials -- about 2%, according to our last inventory -- is surprisingly low. It's higher, I'm told, in retail.