In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
Several years ago, I wrote a column on the general public ignorance about religious denominational differences. I proposed a public lecture series on the topic. I also asked for public comment.
Outside of several staff members, I got just two responses. One was from a woman who thought this was a GREAT idea. Why? "Because those Mormons are up to something."
When one of our patrons asks for a book, we usually buy it. Sometimes we can't.
Many titles are no longer in print. Borrowing it from another library -- a process called "Interlibrary Loan" or ILL -- is the only way to get it. Sometimes an item is unusually expensive, or of little general interest. In that case, ILL is more cost- effective. (Even then, if such a book is requested several times by more than one person, we usually try to pick it up.)
It's not that I never write anything useful in this column. Letting people know about library doings is, I trust, a public service.
But lately, I've had a powerful need to document a few things that are REALLY useful. For instance, here's one that I got from reading a kid's book about a Jewish grandmother: when you break an egg, and a piece of the eggshell falls in, the best way to get it out is with the rest of the eggshell. Spoons, knives, fingers just don't work. An eggshell does.
I can tell you about a place that welcomes everybody, a place where once you walk through the door, you need never be alone again, a place where you can also find the most profound solitude. I can tell you about a place that sometimes leads to glory.
If you have ever read this column before, you'll have an idea what I'm talking about -- not just the public library (surprise!), but the larger world of literature.
A few days ago, I got a call from a patron with a complaint. Why didn't any of our libraries provide public computers? It happened that her son was in town and needed to crank out some resumes. She was, she said, shocked that her local library -- and even the Koelbel Library in the Arapahoe Library District -- didn't have a computer, equipped with a word processor and laser printer, available for such a task.
I freely admit it. There are lots of things going on at the library that I don't know anything about. Mostly, I'm ok with that.
I finally figured out that it's impossible for one person to keep track of all the activities of 100 others -- especially when they're as creative as our staff. It's more important that the environment is lively than that I know all about it ahead of time.
Besides, I like surprises. (Usually.)
Over the next several months, the library will be working on its long range plan. Our planning period is 5 years; a span that will sweep the library into the 21st century.
So far, our long range planning process has involved three basic approaches.
Over the past year or so, many librarians have been exploring a new technology. That technology is the World Wide Web.
Let me say at the outset that the Web won't solve everything. But, for some kinds of library tasks, it has potential.
The Web also addresses several identifiable trends among our library patrons. More people have home computers and modems. More people are looking for ways to conduct their business and do their research from home. More people are working odd hours.
Seeing isn't believing. Not anymore.
I started thinking about this when I saw a video clip from the first moon walk. I have to say, it looked a little cheesy -- about on a par with the special effects of Star Trek (and I mean the original series).
Not long after that, I watched a rerun of "Terminator 2," the science fiction movie blockbuster. I saw a man walk through steel bars, just ooze right through them, and recongeal on the other side. I believed it.
Consider yourself invited to an unusual and sophisticated foray into Colorado history.
On Saturday, May 18, 1996, thanks in part to a grant from the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities, the Douglas Public Library District will sponsor a multi-media event entitled "The 1820 Stephen Long Expedition." The time and location: 7 p.m., Kirk Hall (at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock).