This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, September 5, 1990

September 5, 1990 - Thumbnail sketch of DCPLS History

Over the past couple of days, I've gotten a crash course in the history of the Douglas County Public Library System. Sally Maguire, a library volunteer, gave me a thick notebook of clippings. Lynn Robertson, former library Trustee and current branch manager of the Philip S. Miller Library, filled in the gaps.

Since most of the people living in Douglas County haven't been here very long, I thought I'd pass along what I've learned. Look at it as a short lecture on civic history.

Here are some key dates and events in the life of the library:

1966 - People start talking about the need for a Douglas County Library. Also in March, the Friends of Douglas County Library form. In June, the County Commissioners appoint a Library Planning Commission. In November, the Commissioners establish a library fund of $5,000 for 1967. At the Library Board's first meeting, Philip S. Miller and his wife donate $25,000 for library construction.

1967 - A Castle Rock library opens in temporary headquarters in August, at 311 Third St. The Parker branch opens in the basement of the Methodist Church.

1968 - There are 842 regular borrowers, out of an entire county population of fewer than 2,400 people. In June, 1968, the library wins a national publicity award. Douglas County enjoys 8 regularly scheduled bookmobile stops provided by the Plains and Peaks library system of Colorado Springs. On December 10, 1968, the new library opens on Gilbert Street in Castle Rock.

1969 - Louviers, which had run its own volunteer library for some time, becomes a "book depository" for the County Library.

1974 - The library increases hours from 27 per week to 45 per week. Phones are installed at the Parker and Louviers branches.

1975 - The Perry Park Branch opens in June.

1976 - February sees the grand opening of the Castle Rock addition. In May, the library cancels reciprocal borrowing privileges with metro libraries due to lack of funds. But on December 1, reciprocal borrowing resumes due to public protest and some extra cash from the county. In September, Commissioner Gil Whitman suggests that the library form a special district.

1977 - In February, the Parker library moves from the basement of the Parker Methodist Center into the old Parker Methodist Church. In October, circulation of materials reaches 63,780 county-wide (3.4 books per every man, woman and child in county). The mill levy is .64.

1979 - On August 13, a "mini-library" opens in Acres Green.

1981 - Planning begins for a permanent library in Parker.

1982 - In July, a site is chosen for Parker Library.

1983 - Discussion begins on need for new Castle Rock Library. The library and the school district agree on shared use of the library at Northridge School Highlands.

1984 - This year sees a great deal of private fund-raising activity for the Parker Library. The library at Acres Green closes -- C-470 takes its place. A library at Lone Tree opens, donated by developer Bill Walters.

1985 - The new Parker Library opens. The Perry Park branch closes.

1987 - The new Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock opens in October.

1989 - In August, the Northridge Library closes.

In the 22 years since the library was founded, we've come a long way. We now have over 30,000 borrowers, out of a county-wide population of approximately 60,000. Our circulation last year was 324,700 -- over five checkouts per person.

Not surprisingly, this growth has depended on extraordinary community support. Next week, I'll give some examples.

No comments:

Post a Comment