Last weekend, my wife and I took our kids to the Children's Book Fair in Denver. There we actually shook hands with the Cat in the Hat, waved to Winnie the Pooh, and caught a glimpse of Miss Frizzle.
As part of the adventure, we drove up to about Broadway and I-25, parked the car (for free), and rode the new light rail into town. Perry, our three year old, is a big time train enthusiast. He thought this was terrific.
Like most business people these days, library staff depends on personal computers. We do what most folks do with them: word processing, spreadsheets, telecommunications, the occasional database, and the even more occasional graphic, in about that order.
According to the spec sheets, every time we buy a new computer, it is far more powerful than any of the computers we have bought before. But the work we do -- on the whole -- is the same.
If you're active in public affairs, sooner or later you're going to get quoted in the newspaper.
You imagine, of course, that you'll come across the same way you do in person: intelligent, witty, even, well, quotable. You just know that the reading public will grasp and agree with your comments immediately.
Instead, either you get quoted saying something completely incomprehensible, or exactly contrary to your real feelings, or -- worst of all -- undeniably dim. I've done all of these myself, and I know what I'm talking about.
You probably didn't know this: some libraries aren't big enough to hold their own stuff.
Several years ago, I got it into my head to look at what percentage of our materials were checked out at any given moment. I was impressed to discover -- at least about five years ago -- that the answer was "around 25%."
Then I realized something else: if those materials came back, we had nowhere to put them. We depended on at least that level of use to allow us to buy anything new.