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?
I've learned a few things over the years.
1. Almost everything important requires teamwork.
2. Significant achievement should be celebrated.
3. Nothing is ever finished.
In light of these three principles, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge a big moment: a new library website.
For our 25th wedding anniversary, I gave my wife a framed version of a beautiful photograph she took of a pond in Berlin.
She asked what I wanted. I said I wanted to have my DNA tested. After 25 years, I said, you deserve to know who I am.
So she ordered the testing kit from National Geographic's Genographic Project (see www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic), and I dutifully swabbed the inside of my cheeks with the scraper. It will be some four to six weeks before I hear back. It cost about $100.
So those rumors about Indian ancestry -- truth or myth? Are there any other surprises? I chose to follow the paternal line (my paternal grandmother's father was supposed to be full-blooded Cherokee).
National Geographic also sent a quite wonderful DVD about the genetic history of the human race. Dr. Spencer Wells is a most engaging host, who gallivants around the globe exploring and explaining human genetic change.
Here's the broad thesis of modern genetics: we are all Africans.
A LONG time ago, my wife and I wrote an article about "green librarianship." Just then -- back around the late 1980s -- a lot of information was coming out about "sick building syndrome," and the toxic effects of some chemicals.
Since then, I have tried, with varying degrees of success, to practice the principles of green librarianship.
My continuing interest in this topic is based on an administrative realization. People imagine that the costs of library facility operations are all about their construction. That's not true. The cost is in operations.