When I was young -- still in fifth grade -- my local public librarian (the ever-enigmatic Mrs. Johnson) persuaded me to read Plato. Somehow, I got hooked. After many hours of reading, I remember sitting on our tiny concrete porch and thinking, "When I grow up, I want to be wise." That's what I thought Socrates was after, too.
I regret to say that over 30 years later, I'm not making much progress. (And in retrospect, I think Plato didn't do so well, either.) But I have run across a few wise people in my life.
How good is the collection of the Douglas Public Library District?
Well, it depends on how you measure it. One of the standards public libraries set for themselves has to do with what percentage of the collection has been published in the past 5 years. Generally speaking, a collection that approaches 80 percent is considered excellent.
By this standard, DPLD does very well, mostly because the biggest build-up of our collection took place since 1990, the founding of the library district.
The Oakes Mill Library is an attractive brick structure on the corner of Yosemite and Lone Tree Parkway. The two-story structure has a footprint of 3,000 square feet. It backs up against a mostly dry creek bed.
In 1990, the Oakes Mill Library was open just five days a week. It was finished only on the top level. This space housed not only the adult and children's collections, it also reserved a small clearing for story times. At the time, Oakes Mill served the population of Acres Green, the community of Lone Tree, and all of Highlands Ranch.
In 1990, the citizens of Highlands Ranch had no library at all. Well, that's not quite true. They could trek to the small Oakes Mill Library over by I-25. Or they could leave the county altogether.
But Highlands Ranch residents -- like most of the rest of the county -- are the perfect profile of the regular library user. Beyond that, many of them have kids, and tend to be very supportive of education. South of C-470, the only other place a family could go together was the Highlands Ranch Recreation Center on Broadway.