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 28, 1997

May 28, 1997 - Storytelling in the Park

The library has many friends. These friends perform two important functions for us. First, they aid in recruitment. They talk up the library, drag their neighbors along with them, and in general increase our visibility to the community.

Second, they improve the library. Like our library staff, our friends are creative people, with lots of good ideas about new services, or new twists on old ones. Let me give you an example.

The Friends of the Highlands Ranch Library, currently presided over by Susan Alaimo, recently requested a contribution from the Highlands Ranch Foundation (funded by the Mission Viejo Company). The request was successful. The Highlands Ranch Foundation presented a check for $1,000 to the Friends of the Highlands Ranch Library’s 1997 Storytelling in the Park series.

This year’s series kicks off with an event we call “Picnic Storytimes.” Popular Highlands Ranch storyteller Kathleen DiLeo will be using special “book props” for such stories as “The Lady with the Alligator Purse,” “Once There was a Bull ... Frog,” and “The Wolf’s Chicken Stew.”

The storytimes will begin at 10:30 a.m. and run until about 11:15 a.m. All of them will be held at Northridge Park Shelter #2 (by the baseball fields). The dates for the storytimes are as follows:

• June 11
• June 25
• July 9
• July 23
• August 6
• August 20

Each storytime concludes with “parachute play,” and I am advised the parental assistance is required. (I would hope so!)

Children and the folks looking after them are invited to bring a picnic lunch and stick around to enjoy it. In short, our Storytelling in the Parker series is not only a great way to get or keep kids interested in books, it’s also not a bad way to meet some of your neighbors.

Another important date for your calendars is June 2. That’s when registration begins for our 1997 summer reading program — Camp Read-Along. To complete the program, preschoolers and students have to read (or have read to them) 15 books. They list their titles on their own personal reading log, provided by the library, which is studded with summer camp drawings.

The children who complete the program will have their names entered into a drawing for free family tickets to the Children’s Concert at the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival in August — the premiere storytelling event west of the Mississippi.

The Summer Reading Program will also feature a program called “Wild Rascals of Roxborough State Park.” Presented by park rangers, it is scheduled for

• June 18 (Oakes Mill, 4:30 p.m.) and
• July 10 (Highlands Ranch, 4:30 p.m.)

We’ve experimented over the years with our “prizes” for successfully completing the reading program goal. In my mind, the books themselves are the prize. For parents, seeing their children maintain reading skills over a summer break may be sufficient reward. But this year, children who complete the program also earn an invitation (for the whole family) to attend a “Hootenanny.” This will feature an old-fashioned Sing-along, kazoos, watermelon, cookies, and a humorous skit (we hope) performed by librarians.

Again, it takes good friends to offer such events. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Douglas Public Library District, I am pleased to thank the Friends of the Highlands Ranch Library, the Mission Viejo Company, the Highlands Ranch Foundation, the Highlands Ranch Community Association, Douglas County Parks Department, and Roxborough State Park.

Let the reading commence!

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