Back when I was in library school, I did a research paper on the founding of Illinois libraries. It turned out that over 97% of them were formed by women's groups, mostly in the late 1800s.
Women's groups, as a whole arm of societal effort, were mostly the result of women's being locked out of the work force. There was a lot of untapped intelligence, energy, and organizational expertise in those women. But there were few approved outlets.
I've been reading lately about the latest round of CSAP scores -- the state mandated tests that rank schools by student test performance. The consensus seems to be that scores aren't moving up fast enough.
It reminded me of a session I attended last June at the American Library Association conference, held in Washington, D.C. A former school librarian and now consultant, Dr. Michael Schmoker, is part of the school reform movement -- from inside the profession. He called his talk, "The Opportunity: From 'Brutal Facts' to the Best Schools We've Ever Had."
Douglas County Libraries are the windows to the world, generationally.
Elsewhere in today's paper, you'll read about the results of our architectural competition for a performing arts center and library in Parker.
The town and the library district teamed up on this project to get some help in crafting a vision -- and nailing down the costs. By getting not just one but three architectural teams to tackle the opportunities and challenges presented by the program and the site, we hoped to wind up with several independent estimates. That, in turn, would give us an intelligent range of choices.