About a year ago, I went to Bulgaria, under a United States Department of State grant. I was supposed to be teaching some of the techniques of modern librarianship as practiced in the United States.
But in fact, I found that I served a far broader role. I was an ambassador for our country. I was bombarded with questions about American history, politics, and sociology. Often, I found myself called upon to explain, and sometimes to defend, American values.
There is a certain kind of tree that is sometimes attacked by a nasty insect. When this happens, the tree sends out a powerful scent, very similar to a pheromone, that is attractive to another bug, the natural enemy of the first.
If you didn't have the proper instruments to detect all this, you might say, "The spirit of the tree called to the spirit of the savior insects."
And you would be right. While this is not exactly detailed, it is nonetheless accurate. It tells what happens, maybe even why. But it doesn't tell how.
By Rochelle Logan, Associate Director of Support Services, Douglas County Libraries
It's budget time at the Douglas County Libraries.
Here's the good news. By almost any measure of our services, both demand and use are climbing sharply.
* Circulation. We've already checked out over 2 million items this year -- more than 11% over last year at the same time. In the past five years, this has risen by 120 percent.
* Number of reference questions our staff have fielded: up 44 percent over last year.
* Adult program attendance: up 39 percent.
* Number of new patrons registered: 35 percent higher than last year.