Magazines tend to have two uses in public libraries. First, our patrons like to browse through new issues. People dip into a few articles, flip through photographs, and generally surf the waves of popular culture.
Once a magazine issue is no longer current, however, it has another life as a reference source. Older magazines are used by high school students doing papers, adults doing consumer research, and reference librarians tracking down recent facts.
For a long time, the best way to examine our library performance was to look at circulation statistics -- the number of items people checked out.
These stats still tell an interesting story. At all but one of our full service (7 day a week) libraries, business is up. Circulation at the Philip S. Miller Library increased about 5% over 1997. Highlands Ranch is up 15%. Parker is up a little over 8%.
Criticizing our government is one of the most popular spectator sports in America. It's common wisdom that whenever three people get together to represent the public needs, they immediately sell out, become idiots and crooks, or were chowderheads to begin with. (The idea is that anyone who wants a public position should be disqualified on that basis alone.)
And if you never have to serve on a public board yourself, you can probably nurse this opinion your whole life.
I once had a cat named Watson. When both of us were young, I saw her do two things that pretty much define the problems of life, and perhaps of both librarianship and education.
The first case I witnessed when I happened to glance out the kitchen window of my Airstream trailer. I was living in the middle of the Sonoran desert at the time. I saw Watson slinking along, low to the ground. She was obviously hunting. So I scanned ahead of her position to see what she was after. It was a rattlesnake.