Recently, library staff began work on a handout for parents to help them select books for their children. I just got the latest draft of it from Andrea Logan, one of our Youth Librarians, and I thought some of the research she cited deserved a broader audience.
Not long ago, a provocative opinion piece by author John J. Miller appeared in the Wall Street Journal. In essence, he was alarmed when a nearby library removed a book by Hemingway because nobody was reading it.
Finally, he concluded that today's public libraries were "welfare programs for middle-class readers who would rather borrow the hot new potboiler than spend a few dollars for it at the local Wal-Mart." Not surprisingly, the article generated a lot of conversation among librarians.
Some of my best friends are library directors. I suppose that isn't surprising. By definition, they tend to share both my values and my interests.
Two of these friends are Douglas County neighbors. Eloise May is the director of the Arapahoe Library District. Bill Knott runs the Jefferson County Public Library System.
Both have held their jobs for quite a while. Eloise has been director for over 20 years, Bill for over 30.
Both of their library systems are excellent, well above national averages in virtually every category.
For those of us who do a lot of reading, it's hard to imagine a life without books. But sometimes, life surprises us. We sustain a sickness or an injury, and suddenly, we have trouble with our vision.
That trouble may be temporary or permanent: a cataract, or macular degeneration. A detached retina. Blurred vision. Congenital blindness. Or simply the advance of age.
Some of my friends have faced these issues, bravely, right up to the moment when they realize they won't be able to read anymore. Panic!