It all started with a letter on February 24, 1999. It was addressed to "Reference Librarian / Oakes Mill Library" in Littleton, Colorado. (This branch is now the Lone Tree Library, in the newly incorporated city of Lone Tree.) The letter was from a man, let's call him Mr. Smith, in upstate New York.
I'm always amused by educators who think we should teach "critical thinking skills" to our young. I agree the skill is important, even very important. But where are we going to find any adults who can demonstrate it?
For instance, this seems like a simple enough question. Are things getting better, or worse?
Let's start with teen pregnancy. According to Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, "It was not many years ago in this country when it was not common for thirteen year-olds and fourteen-year-olds to be having children out of wedlock."
My mother used to tell me that her favorite poem was "O Captain, My Captain," by Walt Whitman. At least, it HAD BEEN, until some smart-aleck English teacher announced that the subject of the poem was Abraham Lincoln. Utterly shocked, my mother went back to the poem and pored over it. Not a word about Abraham Lincoln.
It left her suspicious of poetry for the rest of her life. If she could have met Whitman, she said, she would have asked him how come he couldn't have just said what he meant.
I'm very sorry to report that until further notice, our Highlands Ranch Library, located at the Convenience Center on Springer and Broadway, will be closed.
On Thursday evening, July 29, there was a fire at the sandwich shop a few doors down from us. Apparently, the fire occurred somewhere between 9:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. It was mostly put out by 10 p.m. -- a testament to fine firefighting.