January 12, 2012 - read, dammit
Thank you for reading this column. I have been writing it, every week, since April 11, 1990. I've missed a week or two every now and then. But not many.
Mostly I wrote about libraries. That's not surprising, since I have the great gift of doing work I love. Libraries are what I care about.
My perspective - LaRue's Views - is unique to me. Mainly, I speak for no one but myself.
Eventually, I realized that the job of any sentient being is not only to feel but to think. Thinking about libraries has led me into lots of other topics. I discovered that everything connects to everything else.
Sometimes my thoughts have found resonance in the minds and spirits of Douglas County residents. Sometimes, as the Letters to the Editor page attests, they have not.
I find myself at a point in my life when I am weighing things up. I am considering how best to spend my remaining days.
On the one hand, I am very proud of the institution I have helped to build. With my very astute Board of Trustees and a series of extraordinary staff we have taken what used to be a county department, ranked as the worst public library in the state, to an independent library district ranked as the best in the nation.
We earned it.
Moreover, the Douglas County Libraries is now blazing a path to the future not just in Colorado but in the profession, particularly in the area of the management of digital content.
I remain deeply engaged with this institution and its vital mission. I remain profoundly committed to the idea that public libraries do and should illuminate and advance their communities.
On the other hand, I believe our example stands in stark contrast to a decades-long trend. At too many levels of our nation, mostly under the multi-layered leadership of my generational cohorts, our society has been either passively neglecting or actively dismantling almost every aspect of our civic, educational, and even physical infrastructure.
I still want to write. I have to, I think.
But over the past couple of years I've done a lot of professional speaking. I've spoken to library, not-for-profit, and even some corporate audiences. I've followed people writing about similar topics on blogs and other social media.
I've concluded that I need to spend some time to deeply consider, then refocus, my efforts.
All of this is by way of saying that I'm not going to be writing a weekly column for local papers anymore.
I still have opinions about many topics (boy, do I), and from time to time I'll offer them to the Douglas County press.
For those of you who have followed my musings, and often stopped by to chat with me about them, my sincere thanks.
A library colleague (Patricia Hodapp, now director of the Santa Fe Public Library) once told me, "There's more to library advocacy than just standing on a corner and saying, 'Read, dammit!'" But it's not a bad place to start.
A mostly complete archive of my columns can be found at LaRuesViews.blogspot.com. Future writings will be linked to my website at www.jlarue.com.
Thank you for your attention.
LaRue's Views are his own.