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, March 27, 1991

March 27, 1991 - Watersheds

All of us remember those key moments when we experienced sudden jumps in our understanding or ability, or when we marked our passage from one stage of life to another.

These moments range from the absurd to the profound. I remember the day (I was in fourth grade) when I finally grasped what a "paragraph" meant. Up until that moment, I thought you could only indent a line when the previous one ended at the extreme right edge of the page. This discovery changed my life.

Some of my other "watershed" events include: the first time I did a high dive (from a 60 foot cliff in Racine, Wisconsin), my first teenage smooch (and its four hour wind-up), the Year I Balanced My Checkbook, and that awe-inspiring instant immediately after my daughter's birth, when I snipped her umbilical cord and announced (in strict adherence to my wife's request), "I now declare this bridge open."

Like people, organizations have their pivotal moments.

In this, the first year of the final decade of the twentieth century, the Douglas Public Library can post two big events on its institutional calendar:

* first, the establishment of seven-day-a-week service. Beginning March 25, 1991, the Philip S. Miller, Parker, and Oakes Mill libraries will all be open from 9-9 Monday through Thursday, 9-5 Friday and Saturday, and 1-5 Sunday (excepting Easter Sunday, of course).

* second, the installation of our own computer system. Our new computer -- installed last week -- will enable us to support many more public terminals, save us upwards of $100,000 annually, and provide us the wherewithal to better manage the development of a database that is more precisely focused on -- and responsive to -- the people who use it.

With these changes come other, related changes.

One of them concerns "dial-up" access to the library's database. Unfortunately, the telephone number we have asked personal computer users to use (660-7462) has been absorbed back into the county's voice telephone system. So I'm sorry to report that the old number just won't work anymore.

We've got a new dial-in computer phone number, but it will be about a week before we'll be able to bring it up. In the meantime, I'm going to try to set up a system that will follow more usual telecommunications parameters. (A few people reported some difficulty with the "terminal emulation" required by the old system.)

Anyone who has requested a packet of information from us before will get an update on the new procedures by mail.

The other related change has to do with the number of people we employ. When we expanded our hours, we had to increase the size of our staff. So over the next several weeks, you'll see some new faces at our libraries.

Each branch manager has been responsible for hiring his or her own people, so I can't claim any credit for them. But I have to say -- I'm very impressed. It's been a long time since I've met so personable, intelligent, and dedicated a bunch of people.

For the Douglas Public Library -- and for the coming decade -- the future is an open book.

No comments:

Post a Comment