There was a time in my life -- early adolescence -- when I loved biographies. I suppose I was trying to get a feel for the rhythm of lives. I hoped that by reading the lives of exceptional people I admired, I might get a clue how to live an exceptional life myself.
Gradually, my reading tastes changed. But I just finished, almost at one sitting, a gripping biography of an altogether unique mind.
It was the morning after my last night in Springfield, IL. I'd stayed up late packing, along with my wife (who got stuck STARTING to pack while I wrapped up a final conference obligation). We were off to a new life in Colorado, where I'd taken my first job as a library director.
My last stop on the way out was Lincoln Library, where I had been Assistant Director for 3 years (and Circulation Department Head for 2 years before that).
The Douglas County Libraries are retooling.
Why? Because the demand for our services is growing. We need to grow our ability to meet it, and there are some new tools we haven't had before.
So our retooling will begin with something called "self-check." Our first full-scale experiment will be at the Parker Library.
Right now, our very capable staff spends a lot of time doing simple tasks: scanning the barcodes on your library card and books, for instance.
When I was in 5th grade, my family moved from our blue collar, working class neighborhood to an older, established area. The next day we were visited by one of our neighbors, welcoming us.
She gave us something I had never seen before: lox and bagels.
In retrospect, I suppose Mrs. Shklair was the first Jew I'd ever met. I had no particular preconceptions. I just classified her as nice, funny, and bearing the most extraordinary food.