Turds and whey: Thank you for Patricia Calhoun's November 8 "Cheese Wiz," on the Denver Public Library. Back in February, my manager at work had me read Who Moved My Cheese? I was similarly underwhelmed and horrified by the sappy pop psychology presented in the book that is basically an apology for "workforce reductions" -- i.e., layoffs.
However, I found that if the word "shit" is substituted for the word "change" in the text, the book takes on a whole new bent, one that is a more perfect reflection of reality. For example, here is the list of precepts promulgated toward the end with the word "shit" replacing "change":
A. Shit happens.
B. Anticipate shit.
C. Monitor shit.
D. Adapt to shit quickly.
F. Enjoy shit!
G. Be ready to shit quickly and enjoy it again and again.
Book marks: As a former Denver resident, I enjoy keeping up with the local news by logging onto westword.com. As a former Denver Public Library employee, however, I was dismayed to read your criticism of the DPL's change initiative. The truth is that the DPL is doing what they've been doing for the past sixteen years: constantly changing for the better.
Since Rick Ashton became Denver's city librarian in 1985, his willingness to introduce big changes into the library system has made the DPL number one among the nation's largest metropolitan libraries. When I moved from Colorado a year ago and left my job at the DPL, Ashton's Next Big Thing was under way. The recommendations for change came from intelligent, unafraid library employees, based upon the feedback they get from customers every day. All staff were consulted for their thoughts and opinions. Most said that it was time for change. Some had radical notions, such as increasing hours of service at branches, or figuring out how to have 24-hour telephone/e-mail reference, because customers have expressed interest in these services. Some were concerned that Ashton would be unwilling to make changes that would challenge comfort levels; others were concerned that he would be more than happy to do so. More than a few in the latter category decided to retire or switch careers, and others are evidently still complaining.
What you can count upon is that most DPL employees will be busy setting new benchmarks of excellence for U.S. libraries, and we will all benefit from their willingness to reinvent library services for changing communities.
Virginia Klein Nichols
He moved the cheese: After reading both P. Calhoun's informative airing of the cheesy situation at our beloved Denver Public Library and J. Jargon's "Growing Pains," a peek at the murky situation at the Denver Botanic Gardens, in the November 8 issue, it would seem a simple solution to move Mr. Ashton and his cheese out of the DPL stacks and into the bright, airy botanical gardens come next February.
Statuesque: In your November 8 edition, in an otherwise relatively intelligent commentary on the city's uneven treatment of public memorials and plaques, Patricia Calhoun wrote the following: "A few days earlier, the city had removed 'King and Companion,' a perfectly good statue of Martin Luther King Jr., from its longtime home in City Park, in preparation for replacing the sculpture with...another Martin Luther King Jr. monument, this one a million-dollar project by local artist Ed Dwight."
Perfectly good statue! Lordy, Ms. Calhoun, what have you been smoking? The now thankfully extinct statue of King was perfectly godawful. From the day it was unveiled to an audience hard-pressed to suppress their amusement/horror, the oddly distorted King statue, only roughly resembling a human being, was the source of numerous jokes among northeast Denverites and an insult to the memory of the great civil rights leader. Respectable pigeons avoided it. Removal of it came way too late, and replacing it is a community service for which we should all be grateful.
True to life: I am a chief deputy district attorney in Denver, and for seven years, I prosecuted gang members in the DA's Office Gang Unit. I know well what David Holthouse wrote about in "This Thug's Life," in the November 8 issue.
Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to show what gang-banging is really all about. Thank you for not glamorizing or patronizing, but instead telling it like it is. I fear that we may lose a generation to this nonsense. Hopefully your article will make a difference, if for just one person.