A few months ago I got to give one of my favorite talks. The topic was generations: how a combination of parenting styles and world events leads to distinct differences between us, and how those differences play out at home, in the workplace, and in society generally.
One of the people who heard the talk -- a police chief -- invited me to give it again, this time to a leadership group of police officers.
At first, I'm not sure they thought that a librarian would have much to say to them. But what I like about the topic is that it eventually touches everybody.
I learned that several metro area police departments are finding that they just don't get as many qualified officer candidates as they used to. Where once a modest ad might bring in 2,000 people, now only eight show up, and four of them really shouldn't be given badges and pistols.
Many officers reported that the way they were trained doesn't seem to be working as well with new recruits.
Herein is my 2nd column trying to address questions the public has asked about a proposed mill levy increase question for library funding (approximately $30 a year on a $300,000 home).
Q: Why is the library asking for money for the arts?
A: It isn't. It never did. It is asking for money to build and operate libraries. The proposed land for two of the library projects (Lone Tree and Parker) is adjacent to proposed performing arts centers in those communities. But the library isn't paying for them. They are local projects. Together, libraries and performing arts centers add up to a significant draw for economic development. But the funding for them is completely separate.
There is an independent library foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization that uses private donations for the purchase of art in our libraries and in partnerships with other community agencies. But no taxpayer dollars are used for the purchase of art.
Q: Who needs libraries in the age of the Internet?
First, my thanks to the literally thousands of people who have responded to recent library mailings about our consideration of a proposal to add additional library space and materials around the county. I appreciate it.
Second, some of our citizens have asked pointed questions. I'd like to answer them.
Question: in Parker, why don't we just buy and renovate the vacant King Soopers, as we did with the old Safeway in Castle Rock?
Answer: the building isn't for sale. The owners have other plans for the property. We can't buy what isn't on the market.
Question: "are you idiots aware that there's a recession?"
Answer: we have got to do something about the quality of public discourse in this county.
No, we're not idiots. Yes, we are aware that some of us are spending up to $30 more a week to fill up our gas tanks -- for which we receive absolutely NO increase in value.
Libraries- Necessity or Luxury?
by Sharon Nemechek, Manager, Lone Tree Library
[I was having a conversation with the manager of our Lone Tree Library recently. The topic was "what do people need?" This literate and engaging essay is Sharon's eloquent answer. - Jamie LaRue]
Can you identify the necessities in your life? Stop and think….are you able to distinguish the necessities from the conveniences and the luxuries? Most of us would agree that our basic needs include air, food, water and shelter. But, what about books?
In "Man’s Search for Meaning," Viktor Frankl, who was imprisoned in four different concentration camps during WWII, observed that it was not necessarily the strong, fit laborers who survived the starvation, torture and hard physical labor in the camps, but those prisoners who had travelled and read books. For the few hours they were idle they escaped the daily horrors of the camp and in their minds visited the places they had seen in life or in literature. That mental escape was essential to their survival.