I was saddened to read that Denver canceled its Labor Day parade this year. According to various spokesmen, there just wasn't enough interest.
The Post ran a picture of the heyday of Labor Day parades. Not so long ago, those parades filled the streets, side to side, and as far back as the camera could reach.
The first Labor Day parade took place in New York City, in 1882. In 1887, Oregon become the first state to make Labor Day a legal holiday. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill to make it nation-wide.
I talk with a lot of librarians around the country, and I've concluded that there are four levels or tiers of library connections to the community.
The first, and most basic, happens when someone opens the library doors. There is a building. People work there. The library has a collection of books, magazines, videos, CD's, and, these days, Internet terminals. There are meeting rooms and study areas.
Almost 30 years ago now, I sat in on a lecture at a church. It stayed with me.
The topic was "rites of passage." The point was that in the United States our young people have no significant rituals through which they can become recognized as adult members of our society.
The biggest ritual is getting a driver's license. But 16-year-olds still have another two years of high school after that. At 18 they often leave home, and they can vote. At 21, they can drink.
In 1987, I became for the first time the director of a public library. It was "medium-sized" (serving between 50,000 and and 100,000 people), in a well-established city.