On January 10, the library Board of Trustees and senior staff met to set a course for the future. In three hours, we adopted a refocused mission and vision statement, reviewed our financial status and goals, and finally, adopted some specific plans for the next three to five years.
Over the next three weeks, I'd like to cover those issues in more detail.
First (this week), what does the library stand for?
Second (next week), what is our financial status in these troubled times?
Third (two weeks from now), what does our mission direct us to do to respond to our budget issues? To put it more positively: what are our plans?
Once upon a time (1889 to 1898, to be precise) there was a director of the Denver Public Library named John Cotton Dana. He was, in fact, Denver's first library director.
He was a beacon of "progressive" librarianship. In his view, most libraries of the day were mere warehouses and prisons of books. Librarians were more concerned with protecting the collections from patrons, than in seeing those collections used.
One of the things you grapple with as you get older is this curious contradiction: there are a lot of good, smart, conscientious people in the world, who just can't seem to get simple things right.
I could illustrate this principle with many examples from my own life. But let's pick on the phone company.
For many years, our libraries have had their own phone numbers. Because of the way Qwest sliced up the various phone books (Castle Rock/Parker, South Metro, etc.), it was almost impossible to get all of our listings and locations in one book.
As I've written before, I am a "delegate" to an international library cooperative called OCLC.
So far, this has entitled me to attend the quarterly meetings in Ohio. OCLC pays for the trips. In exchange, I attend about 2.5 days of meetings, often intense, for which I have to prepare in advance, and at which I'm expected to contribute something thoughtful and useful.
This year, OCLC decided that since it is an international business, it should hold a meeting outside the U.S.