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 30, 1998

December 30, 1998 - 1999 Resolutions

Three times a year I grow pensive: the anniversary of my hiring (April), my birthday (July), and the end of the year. April tends to be a review wholly related to my job. July tends to be a backward look on my personal life. New Year’s Eve tends to be about “resolutions” in both spheres.

Here’s what I’m resolved to do in 1999.

WORK. The top priority for the library district is to get our “support services building” up and running in Castle Rock. A recent study conducted by Holly Deni, Associate Director for Support Services, demonstrated that our technical services staff is among the most productive on the Front Range. Each full time employee orders, receives, catalogs, and processes some 6,000 items per year in less physical space than any neighboring library. If we’re to keep up with the growth of our collection, we have to move even more books. To do that, we need this new building (and additional staff) yesterday; we probably won’t see either until August. This is the crunch in the district right now.

The next big issue is trickier, because it’s less tangible. Despite our rapid growth as an organization, I think we’ve managed to hang on to a “service first” philosophy. But larger organizations tend to lean more on policy than independent judgment; on hierarchical communication rather than less formal means. The great challenge our library faces is how to remain responsive where and when it matters most: at the front line, at that make-or-break moment of contact between staff and patron.

I keep thinking of one of my granddad’s favorite sayings: “You can teach a monkey to follow the rules. It takes a human being to make an exception.” We must remember to be human.

One of my strategies for staff communications is to launch a staff intranet: a way for the curious employee to stay abreast of what’s happening all around the district. But it will take more than that.

More immediately, I have to hire a new manager for Lone Tree Library, which I hope to accomplish by the end of January.

We hope to break ground on our Highlands Ranch Library by summer of 1999. Before that can happen, a whole lot of developer infrastructure -- and local community networking -- has to happen first.

I also resolve that we will find some better service solution for Roxborough patrons: staff are exploring two options right now.

PERSONAL. I resolve to give myself the great gift of more time with my wife and children. I resolve to write at least one really fine poem. I resolve to work through Scott Joplin’s piano works until I can finally master a Fats Waller number. I resolve to land a minor part in a local musical production, and to steal the show at least once. I resolve to read more, both in the pursuit of pleasure and of wisdom. (Besides, it’s good for business.) I resolve to start some regular schedule of writing to finish this book I’ve been carrying around in my head for the past five years.

Finally, I resolve not to start using Rogaine, although I’m powerfully tempted. At this stage of the game, it’s as important not to give into vanity as it is to fight cynicism. Surely wisdom and grace do not require a full head of hair.

Here’s wishing you a resolute 1999.

No comments:

Post a Comment