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, April 17, 1991

April 17, 1991 - National Library Week

At this very moment -- even as you read -- you are smack in the middle of that madcap, seven day paean of pleasure known as National Library Week.

Just in case you're looking for a few library-related activities, here are a few possibilities:

- Take a book to lunch. Looking for good titles? Why not try one of the many books that has made the Hollywood crossover, like "The Silence of the Lambs," by Thomas Harris; "Dancing with Wolves," by Michael Blake; "Sleeping with the Enemy," by Mary Price; or "Misery," "The Bonfire of the Vanities," "Presumed Innocent," "The Hunt for Red October," "The Grifters," "the Sheltering Sky," "Mr. Bridge," "Mrs. Bridge," and believe me, there are others.

- If you remembered to pick up your ticket, you can attend the Night of a Thousand Stars celebration at the Ponderosa High School this evening.

- If you live in a more southern part of the county, you might consider stopping in at the Castle Rock Junior High School tonight (no tickets necessary). From 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., you'll be able to hear student authors reading aloud from their own published and unpublished stories. The stories range from whimsical stories intended for preschool audiences, to fiction based on "researched, environmental crisis issues," to general essays.

- You might also check with your other local schools to see what those ever-resourceful Douglas County school librarians have come up with this week.

- You might even stroll into one of the Douglas Public Library District branches this week. You've probably heard that we're open on Fridays and Sundays now. What better way to celebrate a National Library Week than to open our branches for every day in it?

We also have purchased many new materials in recent months.

(WARNING: LONG PARENTHETICAL REMARK.) I can recommend one new item in particular. A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a salesman selling videos from their "Americana Series." The company's name is "Sentimental Productions."

I don't usually buy anything over the phone, but the video the saleswoman described so charmed me I purchased it for the library on the spot. My wife and I watched it and enjoyed it immensely. It's called "The Signs and Rhymes of Burma-Shave."

The six-to-a-set Burma-Shave signs once enlivened the rural highways of America with such clever jingles as "Within this vale / of toil / and sin / your head grows bald / but not your chin - use / Burma Shave." And the classic safety jingle: "Past / schoolhouses / take it slow / let the little / shavers grow / Burma Shave." There were so many Burma-Shave signs (over 6,000) that people thought the company was vast -- although in fact it was a family-owned business that never employed more than about 40 people. The video features over a hundred of the jingles, and all-in-all, is a fascinating drive through the days before the superhighway.

- Sample an audiocassette book. Speaking of highways, like most of the people in Douglas County I seem to do a lot of driving. But thanks to the wonders of science, I can "read" (or at least listen) at the same time. It's amazing how short a good tape can make a long trip.

So on this very special week, do take the time to revel for a moment in the power of the printed (or spoken, or video-recorded) word.

The mind you save may be your own.

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