I have been writing at least one weekly newspaper column since 1987. How come? In almost every community in this country, the public library does good work. It provides access to a staggering array of intellectual resources. It almost invariably puts bright, funny, helpful people at its service desks. It hosts story times, sponsors stimulating programs for adults, and, in often beautiful buildings, offers free public meeting space.
Some 15 years ago I did a workshop on creative writing. It was at a private school, grades K-12.
I started all the sessions with a simple question: who remembers what they dreamt last night? In the kindergarten class, every hand went up. Of course, not every child really did remember his or her dreams. But they all remembered something ABOUT their dreams and were eager to share it.
I think I've worked about every side of this now. I have worked FOR a Board in three capacities: as the Chief Executive Officer (a library director hired by, reporting to, and accountable solely to the Board), as the staff member working for the CEO (but presenting information to the Board), and as an independent contractor or consultant.
I have worked ON a Board as a member (sometimes with few responsibilities, sometimes as a committee member or chair), as an executive officer (Secretary, for instance), and as Board President.
I've been writing library columns for local newspapers for 13 years now. I believe that libraries and newspapers have strong similarities; we are natural allies.
The recent acquisition of the former Weekly News Chronicle by Colorado Community Newspapers got me curious. Ten years ago, there were as many as five separately owned newspapers in Douglas County. This marks the first column I've written that will appear, all at once, in four different newspapers (serving the communities of Highlands Ranch, Lone, Parker, and the rest of Douglas County).