In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
Last week, on vacation, I drove down to Salida to see a friend. In the park across from the library was a health care protest. In tone, it was much like the many wild emails I've gotten lately about the scary takeover of medical care by big government.
I don't claim to be an expert. But speaking as an administrator of a public agency, I can tell you this: it's scary right now.
According to an article in the Washington Post (January 25, 2009), "A growing number of workers in 2009 will pay more for health benefits -- and in some cases receive less coverage -- as their employers grapple with the financial fallout of rising medical expenses and diminished revenue and profits."
by Sheila Kerber, Manager, Philip S. Miller Library
This is a tale of two people with a passion for art and education who were once strangers from opposite ends of the world.
We will begin with Carolyn H. Korutz who was born in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Carolyn was a true lifelong learner. She sang in the church choir with her four siblings. She loved to read and had a wonderful collection of books. Her Webster’s Dictionary was her daily companion. Her copy of the complete works of Shakespeare is well-worn, with notes penciled in the margin. Her daughters, Suzanne Kruger and Gretchen Cleveland remember fondly the hours their mother spent introducing them to the magic of words, illustrations and characters. Reading was a shared family pleasure and they made a game of quoting from favorite stories and poems. Carolyn spent happy hours at the public library.
When I was young, and first taking piano lessons, Mozart really bothered me. I don't mean that his music bothered me. The music was charming and irresistible.
I was bothered by the fact of him. He was writing sonatinas practically as an infant. By the time he was a teenager, he could listen to long, complex symphonic performances just once, then go home and write down every note.
It wasn't fair.
Recently I was chatting with a friend, who told me that there are 7 phases of life. I found it compelling.
These phases or transitions mark the passage from one state of being to another.
* birth. Where it all begins. (Or does it?)
I've been thinking lately about how libraries work. Today, I might put it like this: driven by our core beliefs, librarians assemble complex systems to achieve important community outcomes.
Two years ago, it took an average of 48 hours for materials returned to the library to make their way back to the shelf.
That's not surprising. Over the past five years, checkouts have jumped by 98% in Douglas County. More materials means more handling.
But I work with some remarkably insightful and innovative people. Case in point: my Associate Director of Virtual Services, Bob Pasicznyuk, put together a team that eventually involved almost everybody in the library and a good many community volunteers. That team tested, selected, and installed RFID tags, self-check stations, and behind-the-scene sorting systems.
In the past TWO years, we've seen a 31% jump in checkouts. That's almost a million new transactions every year. At the same time, since January of this year we've had a hiring freeze, thus we employ fewer people than last year.
And now it takes just 2 hours to get materials back on the shelf. In some locations, we have it down to 45 minutes.
Many people, I'm sure you will be astonished to learn, are more interested in themselves than they are in others.
One of the marks of maturity, however, is this: you begin to notice that all our lives are interdependent. That is, an environment where many people thrive is better for you in the long run than one that's just set up for your immediate convenience.
Back on June 8, 2009, the Denver Post ran a front page story, above the fold, about the Rangeview Library District's decision to abandon the Dewey Decimal System.
The day the article came out, an out-of-state friend was visiting one of our staff members. The visitor asked, "Is this actually a hot issue here in Colorado?" Our staff member kept a stern and straight face. "Absolutely," she said. "Dewey. Anti-Dewey. There will be blood."
Over the years, I've gone to a lot of conferences, workshops, and professional events. I know this because recently I ran out of closet space. The problem? Book bags.
Book bags, or "swag," come with virtually every event librarians go to. Book bags are to librarians what T-shirts and baseball caps are to sports fans. When my closet door would no longer close, it's because I now have a couple of dozen of these bags.
For several years, I did 50 pushups, 50 abdomen "crunches" and 50 leg lifts every single day. It took me a minute and a half.
Part of the way I kept myself at it was by asking myself, "in 24 hours, you don't have a minute and a half for exercise?"
But then, with frightening suddenness, I suffered such intense shoulder pain that I could no longer raise my arms even to shampoo. I couldn't pull my wallet out of my back pocket.
The doctor told me it was tendonitis, no doubt brought on by my brief but intense daily regimen. Age may have had something to do with it, too.
I was bitter. It was like the time I threw out my back in my sleep. When you're doing something good (exercise is good, sleep is righteous), it seems to me you shouldn't be punished for it.
But there's the universe for you.
These days, I'm trying to put together a new system -- stress plus stretch. (My doctor prescribed physical therapy, not indolence.)
The reason I'm trying again is simple. When it comes to your body, you have just two choices: use it or lose it.
Which brings me to my actual point this week. Reading is the same way. The more you do, the better you get. The less you do, the worse you get.