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, December 18, 1996

December 18, 1996 - Christmas History and Call for Board Member

Whatever your religious background, you probably find something in the Christmas season that speaks to you. To the Druids (from whom we get the Christmas tree), it was the winter solstice -- the idea of the "evergreen," a life that sustained itself through the cold, but reveled in the seasons of the sun and the promise of warmth to come.

Even the occasionally crass excesses of "Christmas shopping" can claim lovely roots: the gifts of the Wise Men to the Holy Child. And who among us does not believe, when all the presents are wrapped or assembled, and he or she looks in on the sleeping little ones, that all children are holy, and deserve the best we can give them?

Or maybe you just like sending cards -- for many of us, it's the only time we have contact with our distant friends in a year. Christmas cards, incidentally, are fairly recent -- dating back to about 1843, designed by the artist John Calcott Horsley, then more widely produced and distributed by Charles Goodal & Sons of London in 1862.

Even Ayn Rand, an atheist, wrote, "The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men ... The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: "Merry Christmas" -- not "Weep and Repent."

As usual, the library will be closed on Christmas Day to give our families time to be together. We will also close the library a little early on Christmas Eve (5 p.m.).

But when we open back up on Thursday, December 26, we would very much like to see you and YOUR families. As I have written before, a library card is the gift that keeps on giving, no matter how old you are. The gift of reading unwraps treasure after treasure.

Remember the library in your holiday season -- as a place where you can find respite from the fast-paced life of malls, a place where you can sit down and escape to worlds limited only by your imagination.

The Board of Trustees of the Douglas Public Library District has an opening. The successful appointee will serve out the term of Tom McKenzie, a former Board president. It expires on January 1, 1999.

The all-volunteer Board meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Most Board meetings last between one and two hours -- although various committees (Building and Grounds, Finance, Long Range Planning, Personnel, Policies, etc.) may meet more frequently as necessary.

Under Colorado law, the Board is responsible for the approval and oversight of the budget, for the adoption of library policies for the library, and for the hiring and evaluation of the library director. More basically, it sets the overall direction of the library.

If you would be interested in applying for an interview, address a brief letter detailing your interest and experience to Maren Francis, c/o Douglas Public Library District, 961 S. Plum Creek Blvd, Castle Rock CO 80104. Please have your letter to us by January 6, 1997.

What's on the Board's plate these days? From my perspective, there are three main trends: 1) The library is looking forward to some significant capital expansion during the next five years,particularly in the northeast quadrant of the county. 2) We are investing in new information technologies. 3) The library continues to grow from a relatively smallish rural library to an increasingly urban library -- and one of the busiest in the state. (Thus it might be useful for the Board to have someone with leadership experience in larger organizations.)

After the Board reviews the qualifications of the candidates, it will make a recommendation for appointment to the final appointing authority: the Douglas County Commissioners. At present, we have two library representatives from each of the Commissioner districts, so the position is open to anyone from the entire county.

If you have applied for such a position in the past and are still interested, just give me a call at 688-8752 and I'll see that your name is added to the list of new applicants.

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