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 19, 1993

May 19, 1993 - Mutant tadpoles from space parker library public hearing

eeling a little overwhelmed lately? It could be worse.

Consider the mutant tadpoles from space.

According to a recent report, a batch of tadpoles on the space shuttle Columbia "returned to earth as mutants." While in space, it seems that these near-embryonic frogs swam "endless loop-the- loops." By the time they got back to earth, their bodies were permanently curved -- deformed for life.

I know someone is bound to accuse me of "leaping" to conclusions here, but I see an interesting life lesson.

In order to be really healthy, we need to be grounded. We need to keep close contact to the soil from which we spring. In some deep, undeniable sense, we belong to the center of our world.

This lesson was perfectly clear at last week's meeting about the future of the Parker Library, one of the most instructive meetings I've attended in a long while.

For one thing, we had good attendance. In addition to five of the seven Library Trustees, a County Commissioner, and three of the Town of Parker Council members, our meeting room was packed with a good cross-section of Parker residents, most of whom lived at least a mile away from downtown -- although not the same mile.

They all listened with interest to the library district's dilemma: which of several possible scenarios would give us the best "bang for the buck" to provide services to our Parker patrons?

The public had a message to send, and the most surprising thing about it was its unanimity: people wanted the Parker Library to stay downtown. They talked about the need to have a central identity to the town. They talked about avoiding the sprawl and inner-city decay of our neighbors to the north. They talked about wanting to preserve a quality of life. They told us that the library helps pull things together.

It was a refreshing revelation. Many people feel that government has only a negative influence on people's lives, and that like those mutant tadpoles, the typical bureaucracy is a series of endless loop-the-loops.

But the public was being invited to pass on their concerns to the Trustees BEFORE a decision was made. And the public came. They spoke cogently and thoughtfully, and the Trustees heard them.

Too, it's worth mentioning that the only reason the library has so many choices to begin with, is solely because Douglas County and the Town of Parker are being so cooperative. The County -- especially Chris Christensen, Mike Maag, and Ron Benson (as well as Stonegate representative Bill Green) -- has been very responsive to the library's quest for free land. The Town of Parker -- especially Mayor Lopez, Becky Robideaux, and various Town Council members -- has been very eager to work with the library as well.

In short, three governmental entities -- the county, the town, the library district -- have as their sole agenda, the desire to team up in order to stretch public dollars as far as possible to meet the public interest. Judging from the people who came to our meeting, the public likes that.

The library district still has some issues to work through. Our chief concern remains the need for adequate parking. We don't yet have a solution. We do have ideas.

But even though we're still looking for more "space" than we have at present, I wanted to thank the Parker-area citizens who reminded us to keep our feet firmly on the ground.

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