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 31, 2003

December 31, 2003 - service overview

Every now and then -- and the last column of the year seems like a logical time -- I like to remind everybody what the Douglas County Libraries are all about.

First and foremost, we are an independent library district, dedicated to quality service. Where does our money come from? -- mostly, from property taxes. While we are not a part of Douglas County government, we do share the same boundaries.

How do we operate? The Douglas County Libraries hire smart people, provide them with lots of training, and encourage them to use their good judgment to fulfill our key mission. That mission is "to provide resources for learning and leisure to build communities and improve lives in Douglas County."

Among those services are almost half a million items. Most of them can be checked out. We have books galore, magazines and comic books, VHS and DVD videos, music cassettes and CDs, and children's kits (with several kinds of media).

Then there are our electronic resources. Our key resource is the catalog of all our holdings, accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Assuming an Internet connection to our site (www.DouglasCountyLibraries.org), you can browse our virtual shelves, look at reviews of popular books, put things on hold, see what may have come in for you from previous holds, and more.

Our website also contains loads of local information. For all of you newcomers to the area, this is a great place to start exploring Douglas County.

Another key resource is our subscription databases. Have you ever done a Google search and found 1,247,398 matches -- none of which had what you were looking for?

The databases we subscribe to, on your behalf, will give you just that handful of hits that actually contains relevant information. These sources cover everything from car repair to medical issues to homework help to up-to-minute corporate financial statements.

If you can't find the RIGHT database, you can always ask one of our helpful librarians. During the work day, you can talk to them in person. But we also subscribe to a 24/7 ONLINE reference service; so librarians can type back and forth with you, and even push web pages to you.

We provide public space. You can attend our programs (everything from big, signature events for adults, to daily storytimes for preschoolers), book your own group's meetings, take advantage of one of our smaller study rooms, or just stake out a table or a comfy chair to sit and read.

And finally, let's go back to where I started: our staff. These cheerful, well-informed, enthusiastic souls will direct you to just the right resource. You'll find them, and us, not only all over cyberspace, but also at any of our seven services locations (Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker, Louviers, Cherry Valley, and, in early 2004, back in the Roxborough area, but more news about that in future columns!).

This past year we spent a lot of time thinking through our mission and our message. Here's the catchphrase that captures most of it: Access: OnSite and OnLine. Translation: we help you find the thing information you're looking for, right here in one of our buildings, or in cyberspace.

We hope to see you in 2004.

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