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 2, 2001

May 2, 2001 - A Change of Address

Last week, for the first time in some 20 years, I went to my place of work, and it was NOT a library. It was a very odd feeling. It all started back when we were doing the library's 2001 budget. It had become very obvious that our business operations, ably led by Karen Hudson, were too small. We now have an annual budget of some $10.2 million — more than two people crammed into one office were really able to stay on top of.

But the district has a tradition of concentrating its efforts on public space, not the "back room" of library operations, a tradition that sometimes pinches us. We simply didn't have enough office space to go around.

So we considered the functions of our very small administrative staff. Our two person business operations (accounts receivable, etc.) closely follow the activity of our technical services department (which orders and receives some 100,000 library materials every year). They need to be close together.

Our one person Personnel department needs to be where staff can get to him easily. It also helps when applicants are drifting in, to have a physical presence in a working library.

At the Philip S. Miller Library, there's only one other district administrative position: me. And I have found that just lately, I spend more time out of my office than in it. I swing by other branches. I meet with Board members. I participate in various statewide library development projects. I attend community functions.

Suddenly, it was pretty obvious. The director was going to have to go — give up office space to more pressing district needs. I was fortunate in that a departing Library Board member scouted out an amazingly inexpensive rental space, right downtown Castle Rock. It's a walk-up office on Wilcox, over the Columbine Print Shop, and with a strangely charming view of the alley. There was enough room for me to ease some office pressures elsewhere in the district.

So as of last Friday, I've got a new address (312 Wilcox, Suite 204) and phone number (720-733-8624). This week, I'll be joined by Katie Klossner, our Community Relations Manager, and Priscilla Queen, our Programming Specialist. Some time after that, I'll be able to hire someone I've never had: a secretary, both for me and the Board.

The move is temporary. When the old Safeway is converted to the new Castle Rock library, I'll rejoin my colleagues. But for the year or so that takes, I'll be one of the many downtown workers.

I'll miss the library. I got into this business because a library is the best place I know, the place where I am happiest, surrounded by books. There are advantages to being around the staff, too. I have a better sense of the levels of activity in the library, and what staff are facing.

I also tremendously enjoy the chance encounters with the public, the folks who just drop by with a complaint or a word of praise for our services. Of course, I can still be reached by e-mail at jlarue@jlarue.com.

On the other hand, our new Castle Rock library will also be in the heart of the downtown. I'm looking forward to the chance to talk to folks there, to find out what they are looking for in the new building.

I'm also looking forward to ducking across the alley to see what's up at the News Press, or crossing the street to grab some coffee from Crowfoot. Maybe I'll even get to be a B & B regular.

If one of my purposes is to weave the library ever more tightly into the life of a community — and it is — than maybe it's not a bad idea to check out more intimately the life on Wilcox Street.

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