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.

Thursday, June 6, 1991

June 6, 1990 - I am not an ax murdere

Based on some unusually frank conversations I've had with several Douglas County residents recently, I've discovered that there's a significant concern about the library that until now, no one would come right out and talk about in public. Today, I'm going to tackle this thorny issue head-on.

Why, people want to know, does our new library director look like an ax murderer? They are referring to the alleged picture of me that appears over my column each week.

I hasten to add that I do NOT look like an ax murderer. Most days, I look no worse than your average petty criminal.

No, seriously, and as strange as it may seem, in person I have short blonde hair, don't wear glasses, and am completely clean-shaven. "All that hair," as one person referred to my ostensible distinguishing characteristic, only appears in photographs.

It's weird. I LOOK remarkably like Robert Redford in the movie "The Great Gatsby." But I PHOTOGRAPH like Charles Manson, the cult killer. I don't understand it. All I can figure is that I'm the innocent victim of a cruel conspiracy -- some closet Democrats tinkering with the negatives, maybe.

My problem, unfortunately, is that people now EXPECT me to look like an ax murderer. When they meet me, they don't believe that I'm the new library director.

So I've been forced into a drastic solution.

I'm going to start wearing glasses. I'm going to let my hair grow out. Then, I'm going to dye it black. I'm going to grow a beard. Of course, I'll never look as wild as this character in the picture. I'll be neatly trimmed and so forth.

But then, when I give talks to lunch clubs and such, people will no longer think I'm a liar when I claim to be the new library director. Instead, they'll think I'm an ax murderer -- but somewhat better looking than my picture in the paper. A #reformed# ax murderer.

There's an old cliche: don't judge a book by its cover. But the truth is, people DO judge books by their covers. That's why book stores put the covers face out, and that's why more libraries are starting to do the same. It's the way people's minds work. You can ignore it, or you can exploit it.

Naturally, I'm not happy that I've had this scruffy, disheveled image thrust upon me by the Daily News-Press. I'm so naturally conservative that I sleep in pinstriped pajamas, with their own little regimental clip-on ties.

But the advertising has already been done. Now I'll just have to do the best I can with it.

I hope that this clears up any lingering doubts people may have had about me. Believe me, the library Board of Trustees hired an extremely traditional-looking sort of library director. The media, for unfathomable but probably sensationalistic reasons of its own, has forced me to adopt another persona altogether.

Next week, I'll try to get the paper to use a new picture of the new me. In the meantime, the Citizen's Coalition to Make the Library Director Get A Haircut, can just hold off on the phone calls for awhile, okay?

Thank you.

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