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, May 6, 1992

May 6, 1992 - cranky column

This probably won't come as a surprise to anybody, but sometimes, a man gets cranky.

It isn't always justified. I'll be the first to admit it. But let me give you a couple of examples of what's making ME cranky just lately.

Example Number One: recently, the seniors of the Douglas County High School put together a display of their artwork here at the Philip S. Miller Library. The display, featuring about 300 pieces and representing the work of 40 artists, ran from Monday, April 27 to Friday, May 1. The students themselves did the set up -- and a very good job they made of it.

The exhibit brought in lots of young people. A good many of our usual library patrons also appreciated the exhibit -- and expressed their surprised pleasure at the impressively high quality of most of the work.

But what made me cranky was that, for the first time in the history of art exhibits at the library, some of the art got stolen.

Joshua Been, a senior at Highlands Ranch High, had done a piece featuring a skateboarder. It was fairly small. But Tuesday night, it was gone. Another piece, a small, hand-colored photograph by another senior, also got ripped off in the same period.

This stuff really annoys me. Whoever did walk off with the pieces stole more than just something that happened to be hanging in a library. He or she stole a piece of somebody's life.

Each work of art takes hours and hours of a real person's life. Those hours can't be replaced -- and even if the artist were to put that much time into the effort again, the result would never be quite the same.

I would hope that whoever has information about these pieces will have the decency to get them back to their rightful owners. All I ask is that you drop them off at the library, no questions asked.

Example Number Two: A second thing that makes me cranky is trash. I don't mean trash in general, I mean the number of people lately that I catch tossing their garbage -- everything from neat little bags of kitchen scraps to big rubber tires -- into the library dumpster.

Maybe they haven't got garbage pick-up. Maybe they're just getting rid of one last little bit the collector didn't collect. But darn it, it's tacky!

A couple of times now, the dumpster has gotten so full that trash spills onto the ground. It happens that our library staff is making an effort to be as ecologically-minded as possible. We've launched a couple of in-house recycling projects that have really cut back on the amount of garbage we produce.

I don't appreciate having to use tax dollars to pick up other people's garbage. And it costs extra money to put a lock on the dumpster, then lock and unlock it for collection. PLEASE -- make your own arrangements for garbage pickup. This is not a library responsibility.

Okay, now that I've aired my general disgruntlement with the universe in the local newspaper, let me end this on a happier note. Good things do, after all, happen in the world from time to time.

On April 22, Earth Day, Philip S. Miller staff Carol Foreman and Susan Kuehster formally dedicated the Lynn Robertson Children's Garden -- an area just south of the building.

Lynn Robertson, as I've written before, worked for Douglas County libraries in their various incarnations for 21 years. This tribute to her is another sign of the volunteerism that marked Lynn's beginning with libraries and is still alive and well in Douglas County.

This project is largely due to the herculean (and volunteer) efforts of local landscape architect Thomas Stephens (design), Warren and Louise Krom (rototilling, ground preparation), and the subsequent planting of numerous plants by anybody willing to get their hands dirty, but mostly the Kroms, Carol, and Susan.

We would like to expand the garden. That will take some more money. If you would like to contribute to the project, just send your checks to the "Lynn Robertson Children's Garden," in care of the Douglas Public Library District.

The world may not be a perfect place (grumble), but we can at least leave it a little better than it was when we found it.

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