The fundamental mission of the Douglas County Libraries is to promote literacy and lifelong learning.
What results from such advocacy? Here's one of them: productive citizens.
Recently, I asked Kate Prestwood, who heads up Douglas County Libraries adult literacy efforts, to give me an update on the status of the program.
A few years ago now, the Douglas County Libraries consolidated most of our phone lines into a central Contact Center. This did two things for us. First, it let us get rid of a lot of annoying sounds and service interruptions in the public areas. Our staff can concentrate on the people who show up in our buildings.
The second thing was that it let us really monitor the number and type of calls we receive, bringing in a lot of eye-opening data. That data has helped us manage a host of operations more efficiently.
In 2005 Philip Tetlock wrote a book called, "Expert Political Judgment: How Good is it? How can we know?"
To find out, he did something extraordinary. He went back and studied 50 years of writings by various media pundits and commentators who made predictions about politics and economics. Then he carefully tracked the results.
What did he find?
Experts don't do so good.
I've written in the past about what we should do when we learn that something we have long believed turns out not to be true. (In brief, strive to change those beliefs to be more in line with reality. Doesn't that sound easy?)
But where do these beliefs come from in the first place? Why do we believe them?
On a personal level, according to the brain and linguistical research work of George Lakoff and others (see "Don't Think of an Elephant," and "The Political Brain") it all comes down to "framing."