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.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 11, 2010 - library takes community to the world

I've been spending a lot of time lately reading, thinking, and talking about the trends of ebook and self-publishing. Just this week, I got another example that also falls into the area of "local history."

Perry Park resident Pati Palumbo (who also happened to have taught my daughter years ago at the Academy Charter School) has recently published "Pathways of Perry Park: 1870-2010." Like the John Fielder work that inspired her, Palumbo started with historic photographs of frontier photographer William Henry Jackson. Jackson had taken a number of photographs of Perry Park in 1870. Palumbo found the same spots, and retook the photographs today.

The book contrasts the black and white photos on one side with extravagantly colorful modern pictures. Also included are other pages from the original book, which was apparently a kind of real estate brochure.

It's fascinating to see how place names change over the years. "Old Saguache" is now "Indian Head Rock." One meadow was once known as "The Vale of Cashmere." And this is a perfect time to interject some florid 1817 poetry by Thomas Moore.

Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere,
With its Roses the brightest that earth ever gave.
Its temples, and grottos, and fountains as clear
As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave!

And the wind, full of wantonness, woos like a lover
The young aspen trees till they tremble all over.

You just don't see a lot of poetry in today's real estate fliers.

These days, the Vale of Cashmere is known as the Big D. The "Washington Monument" is now "Sentinel Rock." "The Green and Silent Valley" is now a golf course. And one formation is now Dark Vader Rock.

Poetry gives ways to prose. But the magic of the "mystic valley" persists.

Palumbo created the book online at a place called Mixbook.com. This kind of one-off production might not have been picked up by a commercial publisher. But the ability to create the book herself (with a lot of help from family and friends) gave Palumbo a unique and deeply personal connection to it.

The original book was a gift from Mrs. Alda Pottenger, daughter of the Metlzer family that homesteaded Castle Rock. Her grandson, Chad Pottenger, married Palumbo's daughter Jeni. Chad and Jeni also assisted in the new book, mainly by finding the right shots.

The book is available for sale from www.pathwaysofperrypark.com.

What interests me about the book is not only its beauty, but that it illustrates a trend. In the 19th and 20th century, the job of the library was to bring the world to your community. But in the 21st century, the library is about taking your community to the world.

By collecting such works and making them available through our local catalog, we make it possible for people to learn more about Douglas County - somebody tracking the works of W. H. Jackson, for instance.

So we'll be adding the "Pathways of Perry Park" to our collection. It's worth a read.

P.S. I wanted to give a big shout out to Monique Sendze, the library's associate director of information technology. On November 1, 2010, she and her husband became American citizens. On November 2, she cast her vote, an act taken for granted by too many of us, but of great significance to her. Congratulations!

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