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 26, 1993

May 26, 1993 - Oakes Mill opening

The first day I saw them, I thought, "How pretty!" I was looking out the windows of our new house, and for the first time in three years, I had a lawn. Now that's got to be one of the great joys of homeownership, I thought: dandelions. Crowns of gold above the green.

That was then. This is now. I'll grant you that dandelions are still pretty -- but only on somebody else's lawn, and only for about 12 hours. Because after that ... they mutate. They go to seed, they seize control of your lawn, then the neighborhood, then OH MY GOD THEY'RE EVERYWHERE THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!

Sorry. But honestly, you try to keep up appearances, and the next thing you know there's a twisty, alien quality to your yard, and you're afraid to go outside.

Isn't that just like nature? As long as something lives, it changes. And all of its transformations aren't especially attractive. On the other hand, on occasion you are gifted with visions of startling -- and heartbreakingly transient -- beauty.

And speaking of transformations, growing things, and the flowerings of summer, the Oakes Mill Library (at 8827 Lone Tree Parkway) is finished with its renovations. The upstairs changed only a little bit -- mostly to accommodate more children's books. But the entire downstairs of the library has been completely recast. We've also managed to establish a quite lovely Friends of the Library booksale area.

As was the case with the Philip S. Miller Library before it, the Oakes Mill Library will be featured at a Grand Re-opening. All the public is warmly invited to attend.

The celebration -- in the new downstairs -- will began at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 3. For those of you who haven't been there before, get off I-25 at the Lincoln exit, and head west to your first stop sign, which is Yosemite. Go two blocks north, and make a left. That's Lone Tree Parkway, and the library is the first building on the right. (Parking is just to the west of the building.)

In addition to tours and refreshments, we're working on providing some special entertainment as well. I'd tell you what it is, but we don't know yet. You can bet it will be good, though.

A second event is a public information session on homeschooling. On Tuesday, June 1, a group of local homeschoolers will present a talk at the Philip S. Miller Library beginning at 7 p.m., and lasting till 9 p.m. (and later if necessary).

The session will feature presentations by several speakers on the following topics: the philosophy of homeschooling; the laws on homeschooling; the many curriculum choices; the typical day of the homeschooling household; teaching children of various ages at the same time; socialization; support groups; and various resources to be found at your public library.

It could be that you've come around to the notion that just as each homeowner is responsible for his or her lawn, so too is each parent ultimately responsible for the education of his or her children. Maybe you'll go with the prevailing choices, but keeping a sharp eye cocked for potential problems. Maybe you'll practice some weed control on weekends (checking on the educational progress of your kids). Or maybe you'll choose to cultivate your own garden of splendors (teach at home).

In any case, it's always a good idea to see what's growing around your neighborhood.

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