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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

November 15, 2007 - Perspectives on a library

This month's guest column is from the ever bubbly Vonja Hunt, of Lone Tree.

Perspectives on a Library

By Vonja Hunt, Neighborhood Library at Lone Tree patron

Li-bary (pronunciation as a child).

No matter how you cut it or say it, libraries today are definitely an inviting necessity in our lives. And inviting they are! A far cry from the dismal drear of the ‘60’s library that shaped my world.

Libraries today take your breath away. They’re oxygen to the mind, soul and spirit. If the Lone Tree Library Life Support System were cut off from my life, gag me! And drag me away! What would I do?!?

Having the capability to place holds from my home computer on the vast varieties of current magazines, books, music CDs and DVDs. Well. Does it get any better than this?

In high school I worked just so I could have money to purchase music albums. And how disappointing it was when you spent your hard earned money and didn’t like the music once you got it home and listened. Being a creative type, I experimented and purchased a variety of music.

In my book, I simply can’t fathom not having the neighborhood libraries that we have today. Who enjoys paying taxes, yet it’s money well-spent when you get an incredible bang for your buck at the library.

Douglas County Libraries is a truly great library system. Trust me. I know! Every summer when I visit relatives back in Illinois and am forced to use their library, it comes with considerable frustrations. I feel like Dorothy in Oz - the B/W portion. And they call that a library?

For one thing, there is no limit on books I can check out in Colorado. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound of self-check. Finished. Take the receipt, bag em up, and go. No more lines. Can it get any better than this? Probably. Jamie LaRue is always working on innovation. Now that’s freedom, not limited merely to 4 magazines, books or movies as they are in Illinois.

Music CDs in Illsville – not on your life! Just ain’t happenin there! And the selection in Colorado is bountiful! Someone actually spends alot of money on great materials at Douglas County Libraries. Hallelujah!! It just gets better and better. If they don’t have it, they’ll get it for you! Material acquisitions are music to your soul and patron satisfaction.

Another great thing about Douglas County Libraries are the people. Having lived in Douglas County since ’93, you really get familiar with library folks. And you’re also sad when they leave. Still miss Claudine Perrault’s smiling face and cheerful banter. Hope she’s enjoying Estes Park! And I miss Mary who came long before Claudine. And Laurel. And Michelle. But faithful Ling is still at Lone Tree.

Sharing childhood library experiences with my kids, clearly they view me as a broken CD, but it’s good for them to appreciate what great library resources we have.

As a kid, my friends and I had to purchase Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books because the library didn’t deem them as worthwhile expenditures. That was tough on a kid living in a blue collar world. My friends and I would each buy different books and we became a library to each other. Without allowances, we had to scrounge for money by hook or crook to buy them. Douglas County Libraries are patron-and-kid-friendly and these issues simply don’t exist today.

WHAT a difference! If I could time travel back to my childhood, I would share with librarians what a great library actually looks like. Instead, I’ve joined the old-timer’s club and suffice it to say, today’s libraries have progressed beyond what I could ever have hoped or imagined for my own children.

Douglas County Libraries…the Top Gun of Libraries - the ‘best of the best’. Continually striving for growth, stagnation isn’t in the library vernacular. And it shows! It just doesn’t get any better than in Douglas County! For kids today it’s their natural habitat and my dream come true.

Perspective. My 14-year old son’s off-the-cuff view of a library is “a place where I can get Harry Potter without having to buy them (books and movies) and get my music CDs.” Hmmm.

Forgive me, Frank Capra, but “Youth is wasted on the wrong people!” (It’s a Wonderful Life.) And that’s two perspectives. Frank’s and mine.

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