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, December 4, 1991

December 4, 1991 - Two pieces of mail and a policy change

Sometimes your mail is so wonderful that you just want to pass it around to everybody. Today is one of those days. I'm just sorry that the second piece of it won't get out as early as it ought to.

Here's the first one, from a weekly newsletter called "Library Hotline," 11/25/91, page XX-47. "SISTERS REUNITED BY COINCIDENCE IN LIBRARY'S GENEALOGY DEPARTMENT: Two sisters from out of town went to the Pensacola Public Library, FL, looking for clues to the whereabouts of the half-sister they had never known. The two sisters had been raised in Savannah, GA, by their grandmothers after the death of their mother in 1922. Their father moved to Florida and remarried. Before she died, the grandmother told them that their father's second family lived in Gull Point, FL, an area that is now part of Pensacola. After years of delay, they decided to go to Pensacola to look for the family. By an incredible coincidence their search took them to the library on the same day that Doris Rice decided to work on her own genealogical research. Librarian Dolly Pollard found that all three women were researching family in the Gull Point area. She suggested they talk to each other. Moments later, amid hugs, tears, and exclamations of amazement, they discovered that Rice was the sought-after half-sister."

Here's the second one, from a November 18, 1991 press release: "Because reading aloud to children is so important, Newsradio 85 KOA (850 AM) wishes to share a special `reading aloud' opportunity with children via their Elementary School teachers. Starting Thursday, November 28th (Thanksgiving), Newsradio 85 KOA will air the first segment of the children's radio program, `Mrs. Bush's Story Time" from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. `Mrs. Bush's Story Time" will feature First Lady Barbara Bush reading children's stories. Join Mrs. Bush in reading stories will be General Norman Schwarzkopf, Gloria Estefan and Peter Jennings.

"Ten weekly (10) half-hour programs will then begin on Sunday, December 8 at 8:00 p.m. and an additional four hour holiday special is also planned for Christmas Day (8:00 a.m. - noon). With young students in mind, we suggest that teachers use `Mrs. Bush's Story Time,' as it is broadcast on Newsradio 85 KOA, as a means to stimulate children's imaginations.

"Along with the lively stories, music and celebrities, Mrs. Bush will be offering reading-aloud tips based on years of training that the Children's Literacy Initiative staff (a non-profit organization) developed in Philadelphia. In the long-run, it is our hope that Newsradio 85 KOA's broadcast of `Mrs. Bush's Story Time' will encourage family reading and convey the message that reading aloud to our children can contribute to a more literate America."

Amen to that.

I've been thinking about KOA lately, anyhow, as I called them some time back (Tuesday, November 19, at about 6:30 in the morning) to report that the libraries were shutting down due to what looked to be a big and particularly nasty snowstorm. A remarkably perky gentleman took the call, and said KOA would announce the information.

The trouble was, the snow was pretty well melted by about 1:30 that afternoon, by which time it was really too late to round up any employees.

This has precipitated a policy change. I've talked it over with my branch managers, and we've decided that rather than closing libraries all over the county when we've got what looks like bad weather, we'll announce DELAYED openings -- open at noon. The county is big enough, and with enough bizarre and inconsistent weather patterns, that we'll let each branch manager decide whether or not it's safe to open our buildings after that.

I do apologize for any inconvenience on the 19th -- but hope that the new policy will make things easier, and ensure longer hours of useful service -- in the future.

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