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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Suzanne and the Castle Rock Rotarians

Suzanne tricked me! She told me she was getting an award this evening at the Castle Rock Town Council meeting for her work on community reference. I thought, "Well- deserved, and about time!" So I even put on a sport coat (under my winter coat), and we braved the snowy roads.

But when we got there, the two local Rotary Club presidents in fact presented me with an award - the 2015 Castle Rock Rotary Clubs Person of the Year award, "in recognition of his service to the people of Douglas County by building an Outstanding Public library System."

I was totally surprised. I have not been the director of the Douglas County Libraries for two years, and in fact have spent most of my attention far outside Douglas County. But I remain very touched: ultimately, this is about the recognition and appreciation of the library as a community asset. Several Rotarians came up afterward to tell me that their whole idea of what a library could be had changed; they now saw it not just as a topnotch, professionally competent place to gain access to the world's knowledge, both print and digital, but as a vital community hub. The reputation of the library was strong; they knew it to be a responsive, engaged, trustworthy, and thoughtful institution.

Some of those Rotarians - Al Wonstolen, Les Lily, Richard Bangs - had a lot to do with my civic education. At some point, I realized that it was not all about the library. The library was just one more tool to help make a great community.

Thank you, Castle Rock Rotarians, for this honor. I share it with many, many others: the board that hired me, the boards that worked with me, the staff responsible for so many great ideas and execution of them, and the community itself. And now DCL leadership has passed to a new group of people, and I have every confidence that they will take it even higher.

Meanwhile, Suzanne should have gotten at least an acting award.


Rick Ashton said...

Congratulations, my friend, for a well-deserved recognition. When the history of Douglas County is written half a century from now, the Douglas County Library, with you as its key leader and mover, will be seen as the major civilizing force during a dynamic period, 1990-2010. The transition from dusty ranch country to ultimate suburbia has had its share of bumps. Without the library to provide a functioning public sector, an optimistic spirit that goes beyond boosterism, and a community-building energy, it would have been way beyond bumpy.


Jamie said...

Most kind. And you, Rick, did much the same in Denver, but in your case taking a moribund and somewhat stodgy institution and enfusing it with new energy and ambition. By themselves, libraries dont define communities. But they can be major participants in transformation for the better. You did that, and I hope I did, too.