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, September 2, 1992

September 2, 1992 - boardwalks

Once, Oscar Wilde was said to have overheard a contemporary's devastatingly clever remark. He muttered, "I wish I'd said that." Another bystander immediately retorted, "Oh, you will, Oscar. You will."

Probably I shouldn't let this get out, but most libraries are similarly inclined toward plagiarism.

I don't mean (of course) that we steal things from books and claim that we thought 'em up ourselves. We're far too mindful of copyright issues to do anything like that. But when it comes to stealing good ideas from each other, we truly have no shame.

Take, for instance, this blurb in the August 24, 1992 issue of #Library Hotline#, a weekly newsletter I get:

"In an effort to learn more about the public's thoughts on library service, Jack Hicks, administrative librarian of the Deerfield Public Library, IL, and one member of his Board of Trustees will spend three hours on the first Saturday of every month meeting and greeting patrons in the front lobby of the library. Hicks is calling the program the 'in person suggestions box,' devised to counteract the voice mail revolution."

I wish the Douglas Public Library District had done that.

But we will. (See what I mean? Plagiarism.)

Admit it. You don't have a clue who your representatives are on the library Board. Probably, you're not too sure where all of the Douglas Public Library District's branches are, either.

But the members of the library Board are the ones who set policy, establish long range goals, scrutinize the budget, and hold their employees (like me) accountable for how well -- or how poorly -- things are going. And each of our branches is unique, with its own special features and collections -- all well worth a visit.

So in the fine spirit of such pioneering spirits as Jack Hicks, and with a wry nod to the tradition of Oscar Wilde, I'm pleased to announce the first of the Douglas Public Library District's "Boardwalks."

I wanted to start this on the first Saturday of the month myself, but the first Saturday in September happens to be the day Maddy, my daughter, is having her fifth birthday party. So the first Boardwalk will be on September 12, 1992, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Oakes Mill Library.

The current President of the Library Board of Trustees is Tom McKenzie. The Oakes Mill Library happens to be in his neighborhood. He will be there with me to greet patrons, offer a cup of coffee, maybe some donuts, and ask people what's on their minds about libraries. We'll also have some of our designs on display for improvements to the Oakes Mill Library, slated to occur by the end of the year.

If you've got any comments, questions, complaints, suggestions, or words of praise, stop by. The Oakes Mill Library is located at 8827 Lone Tree Parkway, on the corner of Yosemite and Lone Tree Parkway, about two country blocks north of Lincoln.

This will be very casual. You don't have to dress up. I assured Tom that I don't intend to. After all, the point is to provide a human alternative to the endless loops of voice "messaging" systems that characterize too many of our institutions and businesses these days.

In the future, I hope to schedule a Boardwalk once a month, eventually featuring all of our Board members, and each of our branches.

Tom and I look forward to seeing you on the 12th.

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