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, March 27, 2008

March 27, 2008 - Meet Aspen Walker

[After almost 7 years, my previous Executive Assistant, Patti Owen-DeLay moved on and up to another job. I'm very pleased to introduce my new assistant, Aspen Walker. As you'll see, she brings a lot to the job.]

In 1997, I graduated with a Bachelor of University Studies. This degree path allowed me to peruse and pursue many a passion, including literature, writing, painting, and philosophy. I had diploma in hand, but nary an idea about what to do with the rest of my life.

Luckily, I was guided by two aims that took precedence over just any paycheck: I wanted to serve others, and keep growing and learning for the rest of my life. I made career choices based on these objectives, but something was missing.

Then, in 2002, I started working for the Community Relations department at Douglas County Libraries. Finally, my opportunity for right livelihood stood up and stared me right in the face: I am destined for a life in libraries.

I should have known. A fifth-generation Douglas County native, I grew up on a mountain ranch a few miles west of Sedalia. The nearest friend was miles away, and my childhood was very isolated. I played in the woods, rode my horse, and read, a lot. I loved coming down the hill to visit the Louviers or Castle Rock (now Philip S. Miller) Libraries to check out fat stacks of books. My baby book has a reading program certificate from the Castle Rock Library, back when it was located on Gilbert Street.

In high school, some of my paintings were exhibited at the Philip S. Miller Library, and I spent many an afternoon studying there. Then, as today, I loved books of all kinds, and routinely devoured one a day. My teachers said I should study English. None of us ever made the jump to librarianship.

Throughout my life, I have used the local library in many of the ways most of us do: to excel at a job or in school, learn a new craft, discover everything I could about having a baby, make sure my kids became great readers and students, overcome adversity, connect with others, and to have fun and relax. It just took awhile for libraries to occur to me as a career path.

Today I live in a colorful, creaky old house in Sedalia, with my husband (a gifted musician and guitar teacher), and two beautiful, witty daughters. I am halfway through a Masters degree in Library and Information Management, and I am feeling right at home.

My new job, serving as assistant to Library Director, Jamie LaRue, is a much-appreciated opportunity. I get to practice my penchant for organization, while gaining an invaluable look at the inner-workings of libraries from one of the best library directors around, at one of the highest-rated library districts in the nation.

I look forward to a long library career in public service, as well as the promotion of life-long learning, intellectual freedom, and community building. I am eager to continue using my skills in community relations, fundraising, and event planning, while exercising my enthusiasm for knowledge, information, and service as a public librarian.

I try to steer clear from holding a lot of rigid and fixed beliefs. Strong beliefs cause much turmoil, especially convictions that exclude and ignore the importance of different ways of thinking. I absolutely love to explore viewpoints, ideas, and philosophies, but I try to remain objectively rooted in the understanding that most things are pretty subjective. In addition to some deep-seated ideas about the importance of kindness, honesty, service, respect, and persistent learning and growth, there is one thing I am absolutely willing to believe in: libraries.

Aspen Walker is the Executive Assistant to the Library Director at Douglas County Libraries (DouglasCountyLibraries.org, 303-791-READ).

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