The library has a tape of Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet, reading his "A Child's Christmas in Wales." I've been listening to it as I drive.
Thomas, the preternaturally gifted wordsmith, is mesmerizing. On the one hand, he's definitely telling a story, the story of many Christmases in Wales, from the standpoint of a young boy. It's funny and charming.
On the other hand, the sheer, compelling beauty and strangeness of the language sometimes overwhelms the listener with phrases like these:
The longer I'm in the library business, the more I realize how deeply the public and private sectors are interconnected.
It's clear that in 2002, Colorado libraries have taken a hit financially. In some ways, this reflects what's happening in the business world. Many commercial operations are suffering a drop in sales, thus in revenue. Those libraries that are dependent on city sales taxes (as in Denver), are also seeing a sharp decline in revenue.
After over 25 years of working in libraries, I've made an important discovery. Our key asset isn't buildings or books. Those things are important -- even very important.
But even more important is staff. Even if a library's buildings and books are nothing to shout about, good people can make you glad you stopped by.
We have many beautiful library buildings in Douglas County. And we're getting to the point where our collections are impressive. But our core strength is, and remains, the people who work here.
Last week I talked about two of the concepts behind the library's new mission statement: building communities, and improving lives.
The rest of the mission statement focuses on three other things: "providing resources" and "supporting learning and leisure."