It is the oldest story in the world, a thousand years older than either the Iliad or the Bible. Its birthplace was the land we now call Iraq.
Its hero was the king of the Mesopotamian city of Uruk, back in 2750 B.C. The name of the king was Gilgamesh.
The discovery of this classic of world literature is almost as good as the story of Gilgamesh itself.
Let's start with the sheer passage of time. The "book" of Gilgamesh was missing for over 2000 years.
Sometimes librarians joke about the jargon we, like so many professions, fall into. We say, "Reader's Advisory," to describe the process through which we recommend books. But that phrase sounds like "weather advisory" -- a warning.
Well, this week, I'd like to offer some Reader's Advisory in both senses. Listed below are the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries." I hasten to add that it wasn't me who came up with this. Rather, it was "Human Events: the National Conservative Weekly," published since 1944.
It has become my mantra: "there are only two problems in life. There is growth, and there is decline. Pick one."
Most of the problems faced by Douglas County Libraries are the result of growth. There is growth in demand -- a really staggering jump in the books, magazines, videos, and music the public checks out from us, an explosion of questions that public asks our reference and children's librarians, big leaps in the number of people that come to programs and meetings.
The Douglas County Libraries have gone through two phases. The first ran from about 1990 through 1996. This was the period in which the district was established, and began to grow.
The second phase was from 1996 through 2005. This was the period of our adolescence, when we began to resemble our more mature neighbors. Specifically, this meant the spread of departmentalization. We launched reference departments at most of our branches. We added children's departments. At Highlands Ranch, we added a Reader's Advisor station; at Philip S. Miller, a Teen Tower.