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 9, 1992

September 9, 1992 - Trustees and Donors reception

The days of our early childhood are like water, flowing away from us with quick and careless abandon.

My earliest memory, I think, is of my sister's 2nd birthday, which would have made me about four. Of the time before that, I remember nothing, not even memories of memories.

But one of the wonders of parenthood is the way that raising your own children stirs up some faint and strangely moving almost-memories. Certain smells -- baby powder, calamine lotion, even diapers -- are particularly strong memory triggers, not so much of clear events, but of feelings, sensations. Echoes of childhood.

So even though you can never quite recapture the days of your infancy, there is compensation: you get to witness those first stirrings of personality and character in your own offspring. Only parents have the memory of life's earliest, most fleeting and therefore most precious beginnings.

The Douglas Public Library District, while not a parent, exactly, is at least a grown-up. It's not fully mature, yet -- and won't be until the current wave of population growth settles down and we've got all of our buildings and collections in place. Nonetheless, we have in some sense reached our majority.

So in an effort to recapture and commemorate the childhood of the former Douglas County Public Library System and the current Douglas Public Library District, we have sought out all of its surviving (or findable) "parents" -- all of the Trustees that have served since 1967. (Cindy Murphy, the library's Business Manager, managed to locate all but two -- not bad, out of 42.)

On September 17, the DPLD will hold a reception honoring them at the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock. The event will be held in the Lynn Robertson Children's Garden, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Donors to the Garden will also be honored. We'll even have the Douglas County High School Orchestra on hand.

But what do you give to the people whose time, effort and vision made the library what it is today?

The staff of the library talked about that a lot. Should we give them individual certificates? Books donated to the library in their names?

Finally, the best idea came from Esther Marie Capps, a Trustee for the County Library from 1988-1990, and for the Library District to 1991. She pointed out that individual gifts have a way of getting lost over time. She suggested that a fitting way to honor the library's many Trustees and donors was to get all of their names and dates of service, and mount the information on some kind of plaque, to be displayed in the library lobby.

That way, a generation or so from now, people can point to the names with pride and say: "That was my grandfather" (or great-aunt, etc.).

If libraries are at least in part about the preservation of historical knowledge, it's only fitting that the people who "gave birth" to and reared the institution, are acknowledged and honored.

The public is also invited to the event. Now, if I can only find all those baby pictures...

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