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, March 30, 1994

March 30, 1994 - lirpa sloof

I have been working as the director of the library since March 29, 1990. That means that I've been here four years.

After my first year as director, the staff and I put together something called an "upward evaluation form." In brief, the idea was to let the people I supervise tell my bosses how well or how poorly I was doing.

That's important. Short of privately interviewing each of the people I directly supervise, all that my bosses know about my performance is what they see in the newspapers or witness in committee meetings.

But upward evaluations can be tricky. They only work if people are honest. If, for instance, there's some aspect of supervision I'm really falling down on, not letting the Board know about it means that I'm getting away with it. It also means that the problem is likely to continue.

But, let's face it, some people fear the retribution of their bosses. Naturally enough, this tends to make people less honest.

It happens I just sent these forms out to our branch managers yesterday. I've asked them to have them in by the end of the month, when I'll pass them on to the Board of Trustee's Personnel Committee.

As I was talking to the Personnel Committee just recently, we came up with an innovative idea. Why not invite you, the public, to participate in my job evaluation as well? Why not expand the process to include the people who pay my salary?

So if you'd like to pass on your opinion of my performance over the past year as a library director, or your opinion of the library's performance in the past year, please call Ms. Lirpa Sloof, Head of the Personnel Committee of the Douglas Public Library District Board of Trustees. She can be reached at 840-2073. She's serious about this, and said to write that she will accept calls any time of the day or night. If you can't get through, then try Juli Lester, who can be reached at 841-0922 (her work number, so please call only during the day).
Aside from any particular concerns you may have about your local library, leave a message like one of these:

* He's doing an outstanding job. Give him a raise.

* He's doing an okay job. But he needs improvement in .... (caller's choice).

* Fire the bum. You mean we pay this guy?

I want to emphasize that Ms Sloof is not a librarian. Nor is she a member of our staff. She's a volunteer. A recent arrival in Douglas County and to our Board (she hails from Mordovia, originally), she is genuinely interested in getting a little public input about the quality of the person entrusted to run your library district.

Now mind, I'm not saying this is a public vote on whether or not I get to keep my job. On the other hand ... our Board really listens to the public.

So here's your chance. Please try to call BEFORE or ON Friday, April 1.

And here's looking forward to another year on the job. I hope.