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, October 16, 1991

October 16, 1991 - Daily story-times

Lately, I've been taking a daily walk, right after lunch. It's about a three mile loop and usually takes around 40 minutes. The road wiggles east from the north end of the library all the way back around to the south. For variety, I walk the loop the other way.

It's a new routine that fit itself into my life with surprising ease.

Walking the same piece of ground every day, I have learned a deep appreciation of the terrain. Every day I stumble across some new view of the mountains or hillsides, or find in the change of brightness, or cloud patterns, or dust in the air, or the sound of the wind, or the angle of the wind, a subtle and compelling difference.

I think of this stroll as a walking meditation: an opportunity to break with the usual and wake up to a wider glory.

Also -- and I hesitate to mention this -- I am doing a few "isometrics." Isometrics, in case you never sent off for the Charles Atlas book that used to be advertised in comic books (I got his special, paperback, 98-Pound Weakling Edition), involves a series of exercises wherein you systematically pit one muscle against another.

Of course, some of these exercises look pretty weird. Last week, for instance, a few golfers crested the hill just as I stepped into view -- with my arms high overhead, palms pressed together with extraordinary strength, my forehead sparkling with sweat.
For the record, I am not performing weird religious rituals. I'm walking The Charles Atlas Way.

I hasten to add that I am not associated in any way with Charles Atlas's many fine products. In fact, if Charles Atlas were to inventory my current physical condition, I'm sure HE would hasten to make the same point.

What I AM advertising here is the fact that our Highlands Ranch and Oakes Mill libraries now offer daily story times. The Parker and Castle Rock libraries will be following their lead shortly.

Imagine -- daily story times. Seven days a week. No matter what day it is, you can count on finding a regularly scheduled library program in Douglas County. Most of them, naturally, are designed for children. But not all of them. Although, come to think of it, I have found children's story times to be of extraordinary interest to me.

You see, children's literature encompasses some incredibly varied terrain. There are mountains of morals, valleys of villainy, isles of insight. There are corridors of conscience, twists of terror, peaks of the most profound peace. By walking this landscape every day, you and your child can learn to recognize not only the familiar, but also the unexpected views of the human condition.

It's the dailyness of it that can bring it all home. Here's a prediction: if you once sample this stroll through story time, I bet that soon your local library will become part of your daily routine. Your life -- and the life of your child -- will be the richer for it.

For more information about this leap in the level of our services, first consult the Library Calendar -- a new feature in the News-Press that lists everything that's happening throughout the entire Douglas Public Library District. Next, call your local DPLD library. Maybe we'll even sign you up as a volunteer reader for the day.

Daily story times: they can give those young minds muscle.

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