In 1990, the Douglas Public Library District owned 65,000 items. Now we own 240,000.
Or do we? Well, our computer says we do. Of course, a certain amount of those items are checked out at any given moment. It's also true that some of them don't come back, although eventually they get deleted from our database.
But some of them also get stolen -- just walk out the door. How many? We don't know.
Just last week I got a letter from a careful reader who noticed a sprinkling of spelling and grammatical errors in local newspaper columns and articles, and took issue with my assertion that Douglas County citizens are better educated than some.
One of the special pangs of writing for the newspaper is that no matter how many times you pore over your text before you give it to the paper, the instant it hits print, you see the obvious error. I know this is true for other writers as well.
When children get really interested in something, you can see on their faces the naked truth of human existence: we are most alive, most alert, when we're exploring.
As we get older, our explorations get, in most cases, more abstract. We go from sticking our hands in the mud to the study of gardening or agronomy. We go from the rapt tugging at a kite string to a career in aeronautical engineering. We go, in short, from direct sensation to a more intellectual adventure.
Several years ago, I wrote a column on the general public ignorance about religious denominational differences. I proposed a public lecture series on the topic. I also asked for public comment.
Outside of several staff members, I got just two responses. One was from a woman who thought this was a GREAT idea. Why? "Because those Mormons are up to something."