For the past several years, I've been reprinting what I've come to think of as "my Christmas column" -- a tradition. I hope you enjoy it.
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody. It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
I don't know what you're thinking about at the end of the year, but here's what's on my mind. What is the evolutionary advantage of music?
You can understand that there are a host of desirable characteristics that influence your selection of a mate. Intelligence. Strength, either physical or emotional. Beauty. (Although, hmm, one might also ask, what's the evolutionary advantage of curly hair, when in the man, it's liable to fall out?) There is the equally mysterious power of the pheromone.
In the process of planning for our new Philip S. Miller Library, we conducted many focus groups. There was a consistent message: we needed more meeting rooms.
It was true. Our "big" meeting room -- about 700 square feet -- was booked every Monday through Thursday night, as much as a year in advance.
But there were, often, just three or four few people in each meeting. So our new building in Castle Rock, like the Highlands Ranch Library before it, offered lots of smaller spaces for people to get together.
One of the last classes I took to get my library degree was an "administrative practicum." In brief, I had the chance to closely observe the local public library director, a man named Fred Schlipf. Schlipf had a Ph.D. in Library Science, and had taught a couple of our classes.
Much of the practicum consisted of me sitting in his office and taking notes. How to deal with this. How to deal with that. I also got to ask frank questions about why he had chosen a certain approach; in return, I got frank answers.