Librarianship has at least four dimensions. The first is the local level: this is the heart of library service.
The second is the regional level. Colorado, it happens, has 7 regional "systems." These small offices help libraries move materials around among themselves, and focus on various kinds of professional development and training.
Then there's the state level, where policies are made, cooperative strategies assembled, and money invested. Finally, there's the federal level.
I have to admit that I'm a city boy, raised in a mid-size Midwest place of streets, tall trees, and lots of blue collar jobs.
Most of the time, I don't think about that background. But when I get together with a bunch of Douglas County ranchers, I definitely feel citified, the sort of guy you wouldn't want with you when there was trouble on the ranch.
I'm a reasonably good librarian, but the last time I was asked to do the simple task of closing a barbed wire fence, I locked myself in the pasture. Embarrassing.
Almost a year ago I attended a 7 day leadership training program, offered by the University of Colorado-Denver. During that time, we did a group exercise that really stuck with me.
First, our group of about 50 was divided in two. We got different rooms. Then we got a sheet of complex instructions.
The object was for the two groups to get as many points as possible. We were told that we could offer, through ten rounds, a single letter (A, B, C, D, or E) to the other team. They, in turn, could offer a single letter to us.
On January 6, 2001, I had the honor and privilege of giving the commencement address for Emporia State University's Master of Library Science Class of 2000.