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, October 4, 2000

October 4, 2000 - Philip S. Miller and New Local History Website

Last week, the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock hosted a series of events, culminating in a Saturday family picnic. This was our first "Celebrate Your Library Week," and it was a big hit.

The events were varied. Our staff sponsored children's story times and puppet shows, a teen coffeehouse, live Internet demonstrations, and more. But the week owed its luster not only to staff.

I want to publicly thank the Town of Castle Rock for their proclamation concerning the week. I also appreciated the visit by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce (and their ambassadors) to cut the ribbon on the recently renovated building.

Crowfoot Valley Coffee provided the drinks for our teen coffeehouse, for which we are grateful. Kathy Moss, a driver for the Clean Air Shuttle, proved to be a most effective publicist for the teen night, persuading, and indeed delivering to our door, some 30 young adults. One attendee asked if we would consider holding this event every week. (Answer: No, not every week, but we are talking about holding it once a month.)

Other contributors include Walmart, which helped us stock up on party supplies. Mindy David and the Douglas County High School Orchestra students were very popular, as were David and Bethany Truhler. I should also mention Donna Marek and Castle Rock Printing.

Last Saturday, we served up over 300 hot dogs, and had the chance to listen to the sprightly tunes of the Castle Rock Band.

All in all, the event was very much in keeping with the library theme of the year: we build community, and are very much a part of it.

Yet another example of this effort is our unveiling of a digital exhibit: Historic Schools of Douglas County. This site-within-a-site (accessible from our home page at douglas.lib.co.us) represents hundreds of hours of work by the staff in our Local History Collection. The final web design, which intelligently organizes all the data, is the product of our own Shaun Boyd.

As noted on one of Shaun's pages, "When Douglas County's first school district was organized in Sedalia, Colorado in 1865, Colorado was not even a state."

Our staff has assembled a host of pictures and historic descriptions of the more than 40 school districts that once existed in the county, including the districts of Acequia, Columbine, Dewey, Flintwood, Fonder, Rattlesnake, and Sugar Creek. (Aren't those great names?)

Also available from this exhibit are links to several other highlights, among them: the 8th grade graduation program from 1900; a list of Douglas County High School Graduates, 1899-1964 (also listed by last name); and a list of Douglas County 8th grades, from 1900-1959 (again listed by last name).

I'm constantly surprised and pleased to see new technology put to work to preserve the past. Please, if you have photographs, clippings, or other historical information about the place you live, stop by our Local History Collection and talk with our staff. Putting together all these puzzle pieces is one of the ways historians tell the story of who we are, and how we got to be that way. In that task, you might just be the key contributor.

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