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, July 28, 1999

July 28, 1999 - Thanks

When asked to state his ideas about God, F. Scott Fitzgerald replied that he had never wished for a God to blame, but he often wished there were one to thank.

In that same spirit, I'd like to formally take note of the many people who have stepped in to help the library.

Foremost among them are our volunteers. And foremost among our volunteers is our Board of Trustees. A stint on the Board lasts 5 years. Our Trustees get no money, and precious little glory. Nonetheless, they give most generously of their time and their minds. In our age -- a time defined by a conservative swing socially and a mind-boggling series of technological surges -- our Trustees bring a thoughtful and temperate approach to new policy issues. They also cast an expert eye on library finances.

Other volunteers include the many people who give their time to provide children's story times, organize county-wide historical resources, and contribute to our daily operations in countless ways. Our library wouldn't be the same without them.

A major focus of library efforts this past year has been the construction of the Highlands Ranch Library -- a 42,000 square foot building. Through a series of exhaustive financial analyses, combined with some grueling cost-containment, we think we've figured out a way to open the library at "build-out" -- both floors will be functional at our projected opening date of June, 2000.

But I'd like to highlight a few key contributions. First is Shea Homes, which is donating the land -- 3.04 acres -- and kicking in an additional $200,000. Ten thousand of that went into our first Highlands Ranch Library, the current storefront building. The remaining $190,000 will go to upgraded finishes of the new building.

Shea Homes has also been a key player in the Town Center Work group. Sensitively and intelligently facilitated by Shea Homes's Steve Ormiston, this group has brought comprehensive research and much-needed coordination to the development of a new civic heart for the Highlands Ranch development.

Next is the contribution of the Highlands Ranch Metro Districts. I've worked with a lot of local governmental agencies -- most of them in the county, in fact. The HRMD is my favorite.

From the beginning of the project, they wanted to know how they could help. The HRMD was planning a Town Center Park. They were eager to talk about how it might relate to the library. They wanted to explore with us every possibility to gather citizen input. They impressed me with their obvious enthusiasm for public projects, their keen interest in cooperative planning, and their flat out generosity (they waived some $80,000 in development fees for the library).

Every single HRMD person I've dealt with -- Terry Nolan, Jeffrey Case, Tom Hoby, Brian Muller, and the members of their governing board -- has been almost frighteningly bright, personable, and dedicated. I learned a lot from them. They made our project better.

The Friends of the Highlands Ranch Library also came through for us. They anted up some $12,000 toward a fireplace in the new library. This fireplace -- one of the key features of the building will be composed of rhyolite. It will also have a tile mosaic depicting the entire floor plan of the library. This echoes the central fireplace of the Phipp's Mansion.

There are many other people to thank. The Douglas County Planning and Community Development Department waived its various fees for the Highlands Ranch Library. In past projects, so did the Town of Parker. So did the new City of Lone Tree (which even made a contribution of over $50,000 for a community reading garden).

I am deeply grateful for the cooperation of all of these individuals and governmental agencies for their assistance. Truly, Douglas County citizens seem to have grasped that the library belongs to all of us.

From my heart: thank you all.

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