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, September 1, 2011

September 1, 2011 - Castle Pines keeps a good thing going

Sept. 1, 2011 - Castle Pines keeps a good thing going

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the formation of several Midwestern libraries.

The call always began within the community. Libraries, particularly during the late 1800s, were seen as one of the ways by which a community "came of age."

Douglas County mostly followed the same pattern, with local city residents organizing, finding space, volunteering, and ultimately opening the libraries in Castle Rock and Parker, although the modest funding came from the entire county. Over time, the establishment of the Douglas County Libraries as an independent district changed that a little. The larger population centers were pretty well set.

After some election losses in 2007 and 2008, and the anticipated fall of property tax revenues after the recession, it looked like the library district generally would have to shrink. We did close our satellite in Cherry Valley.

We proposed closing Louviers, too. But the good citizens there immediately stepped up and showed how much the library mattered to them. At this point, they fundraise more each year than they pay in taxes -- an extraordinary commitment. If they stand by us, we stand by them.

In Castle Pines, committed citizens even managed to establish a new library there, in a rented storefront. That effort had several components: first, we sold our aging bookmobile, so did have some staff and materials to transfer. Second, the Castle Pines Metro District had purchased some land from us. We plowed that money back into the community. Finally, some local residents, members of the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce, and others helped negotiate a deal that covered our rental costs for two years. We have three years left on our lease.

As part of local community efforts to help us keep underwriting this new facility, the citizen-led Castle Pines Library Campaign (including Warren Lynge, Carla Kenny, Sharon Kollmar, Linda Day, Joan Millspaugh, Sarah Tweed, Vicky Kellen, Darren Everett, Lisa Crockett, and Terri Wiebold) has started fundraising.

And right out of the gate, they found their first donor: the city of Castle Pines itself.

On Tuesday, August 9, the Castle Pines City Council approved a $50,000 contribution to the support of Castle Pines Library for the next three years. Half of the amount, or $25,000, will be in the form of an immediate gift to the library, while half will be contributed in 2012 pending private contributions in an equal amount.

The committee's slogan -- "Let's keep a good thing going!" -- resonated with Mayor Jeffrey Huff and other members of the city council, whose vote in favor of the gift to the library was unanimous.

This is how communities are made: the combination of vision, dedication, and local investment.

To celebrate this commitment, the library will host a check-signing ceremony at 10 a.m., Sept. 7, at the Castle Pines Library. Mayor Huff and Library Board of Trustees President Amy Hunt will have a few words to say. Our emcee will be Darren Everett.

In addition to a little speechifying, interested parties may hear about some other ways to donate or sponsor the mighty little library. Or call the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce at 303-688-3359, the Castle Pines Library at 303-791-7323, or go to DouglasCountyLibraries.org and click on "Donate it!"

Once again, thank you City of Castle Pines for such an amazing and generous gift to “Keep a Good Thing Going.”

We hope to see you on the 7th.

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