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 30, 2001

May 30, 2001 - Naming the New Library in Castle Rock

I’d like some advice from the community. As readers of this paper know, the Douglas Public Library District recently purchased the old Safeway building at 100 Wilcox in Castle Rock. We are now in the process of soliciting proposals from a few choice architects. By the end of next year, we intend to move all library operations currently run out of the Philip S. Miller Library and its annex into the new location.

My question has to do with the name of the new facility. There is no question that Philip S. Miller is one of the towering figures in the history of Douglas County's libraries. It was he who gave the library its first capital contribution (of $25,000, when the county gave $5,000 to operations). He contributed again over the years, most particularly when we opened the current building in 1987. On his first visit to that building, he wrote a check for $500,000, which canceled the debt.

At his death, the estate of Mr. Miller was valued at over $32 million. This became the Miller Trust. Each year, the earnings on that Trust are distributed to several recipients. This generates approximately $150,000 a year for the library.

Some of that money has gone to underwrite the new capital expansion, for which the library paid cash. I think Mr. Miller would have liked that. Our first notion was that of course we would call the new building "the Philip S. Miller Library." I certainly have no intention of trying to sell the name to somebody else. If anyone deserves that signal honor, it is Mr. Miller.

But several people have pointed out to me that the county's new building, which will be located just a couple of blocks away, is called the Philip S. Miller Administration Building. Putting two buildings downtown with very nearly the same name would promote confusion. Given that both the new library and the county building are frequent meeting places, it might make sense to do something to better distinguish the names.

So I'm asking folks to call, write, or e-mail me directly to indicate a preference for one of the following:

1. The Philip S. Miller Library. We could simply continue to call it what we call it: "the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock." I suspect that many people call it "the Miller Library." While this might be confusing for newcomers and visitors, the buildings really won't be that far apart now, and the word "library" is certainly clear enough. That maintains our traditions, and honors one of our founders.

2. The Castle Rock Library. This parallels what is now the case for all our other libraries: the Highlands Ranch Library, the Louviers Library, the Lone Tree Library, the Parker Library. If we went this route, we would then do something else: create a Philip S. Miller Room, which would contain many of the artifacts we've collected about him over the years. At this point, it is our plan to create several other large meeting rooms as well. We will try to sell the naming rights to those. Then a patron might say, "meet me at the Miller Room at the Castle Rock Library" to distinguish from the "Miller Administration Building."

3. Another option might be to give the Miller name to the new center. Call it, for instance, the Philip S. Miller Square, the Philip S. Miller Center, or the Philip S. Miller Civic Center. This would contain the Castle Rock Library, just as the Plum Creek Centre contains the new Safeway.

I also toyed with the idea of combining the name with that of another founder of the library: Nicky Mead. Mr. Miller gave money. Nicky (also known as Genevieve) gave time. It took both of them to get the library going. "Phil and Nicky's" has a nice, hometown feel to it. But I know we'll wind up dedicating some artwork to her at the new building, too, created by longtime friend Joyce Newman.

At any rate, please feel free to e-mail me at jlarue@jlarue.com, or leave a voice mail message at 720-733-8624, or write me in care of this paper, regarding your thoughts on this matter. Thank you.

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