By almost any measure, the Douglas Public Library District is doing a pretty good job. The use of our collection goes up every year (year to date, we're almost 10% over last year, which was our all-time high). Every year, we get more children at our story hours. We get more reference questions.
But my bosses, the seven Trustees of the Douglas Public Library District, expressed a concern to me. They wanted to see more new materials.
It started when a school librarian posted a question on "libnet," an Internet-based bulletin board. A principal had asked her to come up with a list of titles that high school students should read before they go to college.
What books would we recommend?
My wife and I used to follow old Route 66 from Chicago to Arizona.
It was exciting to see the stretches that were still a vibrant "America's Main Street." There were the distinctive old Phillips 66 gas stations. There were the first motels (a word created from "motor" and "hotel"). There were hundreds of mom-and-pop local eateries.
But about 20 years ago, Route 66 was strangled to death. It was replaced by (in succession) I-55, I-44, and I-40.
Among my jobs is to serve as the library district's "web master." What does that mean? I get to decide how our World Wide Web "pages" will look, how they're organized, and generally, what kind of information or links the public will find there.
Our "home page" (whose location is http://douglas.lib.co.us) provides access to four broad kinds of information: