Just last week, the annual conference of the Colorado Association of Libraries brought over a thousand attendees to the Marriott Hotel at the Denver Tech Center.
I had the pleasure of participating in a "reactor panel" -- commenting on a keynote address by Pat Schroeder. Schroeder, former Colorado Congresswoman for some 24 years, is now the President of the Association of American Publishers.
Schroeder isn't too happy with librarians these days. How come?
After college, I sold shoes for awhile. I was good at it, too. I broke some regional sales records, and got offered a manager position.
But I was young and restless, and really didn't want a career in a shopping mall. So I hit the road with a pair of shoes I sold myself.
And those shoes gave me blisters so bad that by the time I got to my uncle's in the Arkansas Ozarks, I could barely walk.
So my aunt took me to a big new store that had just opened up in Fayetteville. I'd never heard of it, but my aunt said the prices were great.
Sometimes you stumble across a book you didn't know you were looking for. For me, it was finding the library's copy of "The History of Torture and Execution," by Jean Kellaway.
Every time I come across the story of somebody stretched on the rack -- or wedged into the Spanish boot, or broken by thumbscrews, or victimized by any of a variety of infernal devices -- I feel an immediate sense both of horror and of recognition.
When I was five or six years old, my dad took me to see "Gone with the Wind," a revival at the big downtown movie theater. Years later, I realized it was packed with all kinds of steamy stuff.
But here's what I remembered from my early exposure: there was a big fire.
I believe that regarding many complex issues, children see and understand only what they are ready for. That includes movies. It even includes R-rated movies.