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, February 8, 1995

February 8, 1995 - children's book bins and highlands ranch breakfast club

I have two items this week. First: a concern of the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock.

In seventh grade, I took a class called Shop. This was not by choice.

The first section of the class was Woodworking. Our mission was relatively simple. We were supposed to make a small table.

Let me give you the good news first.

There's this gizmo called a "planer." You hold on to one end (a ball of wood) while you push with the other. Underneath is a metal shaver. When you push a planer along the edge of a piece of wood, long curls of wood tumble from the surface.

It's ... enchanting. I loved planing, and I was pretty good at it, too. I had both rhythm and stamina.

Now the bad news. The truth is, I planed away my whole table top.

My teacher did not think this was funny. I tried to explain that I didn't, either. I hadn't MEANT to plane away my whole table top, I had just fallen into the rhythm of the stroke, and the pungent smell of freshly shaven pine. I had become obsessed with the perfect "plane" of wood.

When I was finished, there just didn't happen to be anything left.

If I'd been more creative, I might have figured out a way to glue all the curls onto some other surface, a sort of art piece portraying, I don't know, "Little Lord Fauntleroy In Wood." But probably, my teacher wouldn't have liked that either.

I got an F in woodworking, the first F in my whole life.

I say all this not because I revel in reliving my past failures (trust me), but because it explains why the problem I'm about to describe isn't something I can fix by myself.

In brief, the Philip S. Miller Library needs new book "bins" for the children's area. The design really isn't all that complicated, and the materials don't have to be all that expensive. Most of the current bins are made of pressboard.

The Friends of the Library are looking for someone to step forward and assume this project as a community service. They would be happy to pay for the supplies. But they're hoping the labor might be a donation.

If you're interested in this project, please call Suzanne LaRue, who by an astonishing coincidence, happens to be my wife. Her number is 660-1646.

Second item: every Thursday morning at 7 a.m., the Highlands Ranch Library sponsors a "Highlands Ranch Breakfast Club."

This club is ideal -- all you have to do is show up. You even get free food. (Our corporate sponsors to date include the Friends of the Highlands Ranch Library, and the publishers of the Highlands Herald). Each week, attendees hear a talk on issues of county- wide significance.

If you'd like to check out that scene, call Dorothy Hargrove at 791-7703 for more information about our schedule of speakers. You'll be glad you did.

In both these items, the discerning reader will find a common theme: libraries seek to build community. One of our libraries needs someone to step forward with a skill. Another needs people with the will to get up early and pay attention.

I have every confidence that both communities will be able to make the grade. And that's the "plane" truth.

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