Like everybody else, I picked my profession for a combination of reasons. The most important was that libraries and librarians always treated me so well. I was curious about everything, and at the library nobody ever said, "It's none of your business!" Instead, they said, "Let's see what we can find."
In short, they dignified my ignorance with respect -- because I was trying to do something about it. They acted as if asking questions were natural, a perspective that formed the very basis of my world view.
Library use is changing.
The traditional measure of library activity is circulation -- how many books, magazines, audiotapes and videos got checked out in a year. By that measure, the Douglas Public Library District is doing exceptionally well. Final figures for last year showed that our circulation increased more than 24% from 1998 to 1999 -- over twice that of our closest Colorado competitor.
I don't exactly remember my parents telling me that it was wrong to steal. I knew I wasn't supposed to. Nevertheless, when I was maybe 8 years old, I slipped into a Ben Franklin five and dime store, and swiped something. I forget what. But later on, my mother noticed that I was playing with a thing that did not fit into the narrow range of my allowance.
I survived, barely, the Inquisition -- a savage unraveling of my flimsy lies. Then, pretty much by the ear, I was dragged back to the store.
My first paid library job was at the Normal Public Library, in Normal, Illinois.
(This doesn't have anything to do with my point, but it's worth telling. About half a block from the library was the local newspaper, the Normalite. It was definitely a small town operation. Not far from Normal was a town called Oblong. My favorite headline of all time has to be: "Normal boy marries Oblong girl." Really.)