I've been writing library columns for local newspapers for 13 years now. I believe that libraries and newspapers have strong similarities; we are natural allies.
The recent acquisition of the former Weekly News Chronicle by Colorado Community Newspapers got me curious. Ten years ago, there were as many as five separately owned newspapers in Douglas County. This marks the first column I've written that will appear, all at once, in four different newspapers (serving the communities of Highlands Ranch, Lone, Parker, and the rest of Douglas County).
I was bragging about my Associate Director, Rochelle Logan. Rochelle used to crunch numbers for the Colorado State Library, and speaks nationally on the topic of library statistics. I was enthused about some of the new reports she's cooked up. Having an acknowledged statistical expert on staff is handy.
But the colleague I was bragging to was full of dark forebodings. "Beware the tyranny of numbers," he said.
The first time I saw Alanis Morissette, she was playing the part of God in the movie, "Dogma." I liked her face. It had complexity and depth.
The first time I got around to listening to her music was when someone complained about her use of two 4-letter words in her 1995, Grammy-winning release, "Jagged Little Pill."
The patron lodging the complaint had a pretty compelling story. She had been driving along the highway, listening to a library CD with her young children, when she suddenly heard a word that made her lurch for the eject button.
About once a week, lately, I get letters (and sometimes phone calls and visits) from library headhunters.
More commonly called "corporate search firms," these are companies employed by fairly large libraries to fill the top job. Some headhunters work a variety of professions. Some just do libraries.
At first, I freely admit that I was flattered by the attention. Who wouldn't be? Headhunters tend to be very complimentary. They've heard good things about you, they say, or were impressed by a talk or an article you did.