I'm pleased to report that the Douglas Public Library District survived 9/9/99 -- an early test of the computer date problems collectively referred to as Y2K. Our computers did NOT fail, as some people predicted they might.
My daughter, Maddy, is just about to turn 12 years old. We taught her at home through first grade. From second through fifth grades, she attended a charter school based on E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge Curriculum. But at the end of last school year, she asked if she could be home schooled again.
Naturally enough, we asked her why. Her reply was illuminating. "Learning," she said, "isn't fun anymore."
I started writing newspaper columns in 1987. Shortly afterward, I stumbled across a great little piece of software called PC-Style. You ran it against a text file, and it told you what grade level the piece was.
In general, the more short words you used, the better you scored. It was better to use fewer words in a sentence, rather than more.
On August 28, the last Friday of the month, the Douglas Public Library District held its 7th annual Staff Day. On that day, we close all locations and assemble our entire staff -- the 160 people scattered across the county.
The day follows a certain pattern. I get a short period to give a "state of the district" talk -- our notable achievements over the past year, our plans for the next. Then we have a series of workshops, lunch, service awards, more workshops, then we end with a real live author.