In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
I need some advice.
As I've written before, the library is trying to buy enough new books to meet a minimum standard of two items per person.
But we have two problems. The first is that the population of Douglas County keeps growing. We bought twice as many materials last year as the year before. By the end of the year, we had fewer items per person than ever. Frustrating.
I once had a cat named Watson. When both of us were young, I saw her do two things that pretty much define the problems of life, and perhaps of both librarianship and education.
The first case I witnessed when I happened to glance out the kitchen window of my Airstream trailer. I was living in the middle of the Sonoran desert at the time. I saw Watson slinking along, low to the ground. She was obviously hunting. So I scanned ahead of her position to see what she was after. It was a rattlesnake.
Criticizing our government is one of the most popular spectator sports in America. It's common wisdom that whenever three people get together to represent the public needs, they immediately sell out, become idiots and crooks, or were chowderheads to begin with. (The idea is that anyone who wants a public position should be disqualified on that basis alone.)
And if you never have to serve on a public board yourself, you can probably nurse this opinion your whole life.
There are lots of ways to measure the performance of a library. The most important ones are deeply personal. Do you like to BE there? Are you well-treated by staff? Do you find interesting and useful materials?
Another kind of measurement is more quantitative. At the end of our fiscal year (end of December), our computer system cranks out all kinds of reports. I thought I'd share some of 1997ís numbers.
I used to work at a place that had eight Xerox machines. Because the machines were getting old and temperamental, we saw four of the local technicians fairly regularly. One year, within the space of a few days, three of the tech people announced that their wives were pregnant. When I commented on the odds against that, one technician looked me straight in the eye and said, "Reproduction is our business."
I have several more stories with a slightly different message.
My son Perry is crazy about trains. He always has been. So for us, Christmas will be (again) a snarl of tracks and steam engines and train books and videos.
But it turns out that you don't have to be three-and-a-half years old to be a train buff.
I recently received a written complaint about a book called Cults and New Faiths. Published in 1981, it was written by one John Butterworth, editor of a newspaper in Northern England.
For the very first time since I have received such a complaint, I am going to remove the book from our collection. Let me tell you why.
Every now and then, we get a patron suggestion for a basic change in how we do business. One of the more recent suggestions was to change the loan period for all videos to one week.
Last week's front page headline was "Oakes Mill Library to be renamed." The first sentence of the story, written by Kathie Metcalf, declared that a new name was decided at a public input meeting on November 19.
I've been measuring my own experience as a parent, as a former home educator, as a librarian, as a charter school advocate and former charter school board member, and as a passionate believer in the importance of high quality public education, against the recently published results of reading and writing scores throughout Colorado.