Showing posts from December, 2015

New website

Last weekend, I simplified my website. As a consultant and speaker, I was focused on marketing those services. Now that I'm an ALA department head, I've decided to use the website as more of a placeholder for my resume and broad professional activities.
 I may still tweak it a little: my largest body of work is my newspaper column site: LaRue's Views. These days, I do my blogging here, so it might make sense to give those destinations and perhaps a link to my book, a little more prominence in the menu.

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 a…

Next chapter: the Office of Intellectual Freedom

The official announcement has now gone out: on January 4, 2016, I will assume the directorship of the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

I will be following the very able Barbara Jones, who has headed the OIF for the past 7 years. Before her was Judith Krug, who founded it. So I will be only the third person to hold the position - a great honor.

What does the job consist of? According to that press release:

As Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), James LaRue will work with ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) and Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE), as well as the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT). OIF provides information to individuals and organizations facing intellectual freedom challenges; plans and promotes initiatives that promote intellectual freedom, privacy and free access to information (including Banned Books Week); and, works closely with others, including the ALA Washi…

Revolt in 2100

Recently, I downloaded the ebook, "Revolt in 2100 (note the blurb: "the second American Revolution has begun") by Robert Heinlein. Mostly, it includes the "If This Goes On" novella, in which America is taken over by Nehemiah Scudder, the First Prophet, who establishes a tyrannical theocracy. But I was reading the last piece in the book, "Concerning Stories Never Written: Postscript."

Heinlein writes,

"...the idea that we could lose our freedom by succumbing to a wave of religious hysteria, I am sorry to say that I consider it possible. I hope that it is not probable. But there is a latent deep strain of religious fanaticism in this our culture; it is rooted in our history and it has broken out many times in the past. It is with us now; there has been a sharp rise in strongly evangelical sects in this country in recent years, some of which hold beliefs theocratic in the extreme, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and anti-libertarian.  "It…