In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
Some of my best friends are library directors. I suppose that isn't surprising. By definition, they tend to share both my values and my interests.
Two of these friends are Douglas County neighbors. Eloise May is the director of the Arapahoe Library District. Bill Knott runs the Jefferson County Public Library System.
Both have held their jobs for quite a while. Eloise has been director for over 20 years, Bill for over 30.
Both of their library systems are excellent, well above national averages in virtually every category.
Not long ago, a provocative opinion piece by author John J. Miller appeared in the Wall Street Journal. In essence, he was alarmed when a nearby library removed a book by Hemingway because nobody was reading it.
Finally, he concluded that today's public libraries were "welfare programs for middle-class readers who would rather borrow the hot new potboiler than spend a few dollars for it at the local Wal-Mart." Not surprisingly, the article generated a lot of conversation among librarians.
Recently, library staff began work on a handout for parents to help them select books for their children. I just got the latest draft of it from Andrea Logan, one of our Youth Librarians, and I thought some of the research she cited deserved a broader audience.
There are two kinds of people -- those who think there are two kinds of people, and those who don't.
To put it another way, there is a peculiar psychological need for some people to see the world in black and white. Politically, in our divided nation, there are liberals and conservatives.
In that context, I've been thinking some more about "a national agenda for public libraries."
I believe there are two fundamental arguments for the public library: it is a public good, and it is a sound return on the investment.
To some people, an "agenda" has sinister overtones. Our enemies have agendas; our friends just have plans.
But the idea of a "national agenda" does have political overtones, particularly when held in our nation's capital.
So what kinds of things are librarians wanting to push?
I think most folks would be pleased. I hope so.
Back in 1992, I reprised a column I'd written even earlier. I find that I still don't have much to add. So here it is again. Happy holidays!
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.
So here's my 12 year old son, Max, talking on our cordless telephone to his sister, Maddy. She's calling from Germany.
I'm at a point in my life where "stuff" is starting to catch up with me.
On the one hand, there are boxes. I'm not just talking clothes, but those mysterious boxes that somehow survived three moves and ten years in the basement. Many of them are books, of course.
Some of those boxes are stuffed with my own writings. I have notebooks, I kid you not, from 6th grade. I have a couple of my incredibly naive and amateurish attempts at novels from high school. I do not, I promise you, spend my evenings reviewing this debris.
I'm sure people are tired of hearing about the elections. But I have two things I'd like to share.
First, a lot of Colorado libraries went to the voters this November. And by and large, they did very well.
Successful library issues (usually, increases in funding to build or renovate libraries) were approved in:
- Adams County
- Fort Collins
- Garfield County
I'll lay my cards on the table. A man has to make choices in his life. He can't be knowledgeable about everything, even if he works at a library and reads a lot.
Weighing my choices, then, I made a radical life choice, and I've stuck with it.
I am a sports illiterate.
I mean it. I have never watched an entire baseball game or basketball game or football game on television in my entire life. I've been to a couple of live basketball games, but that was back in junior high school.