In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
No matter who you are, there are things you don't know. Ignorance is a defining element of the human condition.
Still, most of us aren't satisfied with that. We seek knowledge. But where?
Before you go to school, you believe that the best source of the truth is your mom or dad.
In elementary school, you think that your teacher has the authoritative answer.
By the time you get to middle and high school, you're sure that your more experienced peers are the only ones you can trust.
I'd always heard that Philip S. Miller didn't like being called P.S. Miller.
But it turns out that his only objection was that there was another P.S. Miller in town, and the two sometimes got confused.
To the people that knew him, to his friends, he was Phil Miller. I regret that I knew him too late in his life to call him a friend. But I've always been impressed with the quality of the people who claim that distinction.
In about a month, librarians all across the country will observe "Banned Books Week." As usual, we'll have various displays about materials that have been challenged in school and public libraries.
I write about this event every year, because I believe few issues are so central to the very purpose of librarianship. Opposition to censorship isn't about calling people names (zealot! liberal! censor!). It's about "intellectual freedom", even for those people who disagree with you. It's about the sanctity of individual inquiry.
The first time I ever saw a library terminal was in 1978.
At the time, the idea was revolutionary. Imagine being able not only to look up what the library owned (the card catalog did a pretty good job of that), but to find out if it was actually available!
I remember the day I proudly informed an old college friend that I was going to be a father. He said, "I'm really sorry to hear that."
Surprised, I asked him, "Why?"
The library, like the county, is deeply concerned with the question of "quality of life." In our case, let's call it "quality of service."
There are at least two broad models of library service. One of them is "the regional library." The Arapahoe Library District's Koelbel Library would be a good example. It's a big building, with a big collection, including special areas for children, reference, and business databases. Denver Public Library would be another example.
When children get really interested in something, you can see on their faces the naked truth of human existence: we are most alive, most alert, when we're exploring.
As we get older, our explorations get, in most cases, more abstract. We go from sticking our hands in the mud to the study of gardening or agronomy. We go from the rapt tugging at a kite string to a career in aeronautical engineering. We go, in short, from direct sensation to a more intellectual adventure.
Just last week I got a letter from a careful reader who noticed a sprinkling of spelling and grammatical errors in local newspaper columns and articles, and took issue with my assertion that Douglas County citizens are better educated than some.
One of the special pangs of writing for the newspaper is that no matter how many times you pore over your text before you give it to the paper, the instant it hits print, you see the obvious error. I know this is true for other writers as well.
In 1990, the Douglas Public Library District owned 65,000 items. Now we own 240,000.
Or do we? Well, our computer says we do. Of course, a certain amount of those items are checked out at any given moment. It's also true that some of them don't come back, although eventually they get deleted from our database.
But some of them also get stolen -- just walk out the door. How many? We don't know.
As I've mentioned here before, the library has been working on its long range plan. Our various committees have been coming up with some questions they'd like to ask the public.