The library has many friends. These friends perform two important functions for us. First, they aid in recruitment. They talk up the library, drag their neighbors along with them, and in general increase our visibility to the community.
Second, they improve the library. Like our library staff, our friends are creative people, with lots of good ideas about new services, or new twists on old ones. Let me give you an example.
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: