Director Jamie LaRue retires from Douglas County Libraries
Douglas County Libraries Director Jamie LaRue will retire in January 2014 from a position he has held since 1991. He is leaving to pursue a second career as a speaker, writer, and consultant.
By Lisa Crockett; photo by Terri Wiebold
After more than two decades at the helm of Douglas County Libraries (DCL), director Jamie LaRue has announced he will retire in January 2014 to pursue a second career as a writer, speaker and consultant.
In Castle Pines, LaRue will likely be best remembered as the leader who helped establish a library here after several setbacks. When a ballot measure aimed at increasing funding for libraries in the county failed in 2008, many thought the library was a dream lost. However, the community rallied, organized fundraisers, and lobbied local organizations for support. Less than one year later the Castle Pines Library opened its doors in a retail space. Now, the City is looking forward to having a freestanding library in the next two to three years.
“Communities get libraries when they decide they need them,” said LaRue. “The citizens and government of Castle Pines have clearly demonstrated their passion and support for a permanent facility. I’m confident that they’ll have their library within the next few years. And I have no doubt that it will be just as successful as the bookmobile, storefront and ‘little library’ that preceded it. It has been such a pleasure to work with the community and its many champions.”
Castle Pines resident Vicky Kellen was one of many volunteers instrumental in bringing a library to Castle Pines. She attributes much of the success of the effort to LaRue’s leadership.
“As the committee supporting a library for our community immediately recognized, Jamie LaRue was a leading force in our favor,” said Kellen. “He recognized the dedication and determination of our band of like-minded citizens. As we began to raise money with our numerous dine outs, Jamie was there dining out with us. Over the initial months of raising operational funds, he was a constant presence in our activities.”
During his tenure, LaRue has led the way in establishing programs such as seven day service, daily story times, and the establishment of regional library branches – all built without debt. He has also overseen the introduction of technology into libraries, beginning in 1991 with patrons being able to hold books through their home computers. Now, library patrons can receive many library materials on their smartphone and tablet devices.
LaRue has been awarded local and national recognition for his leadership at Douglas County Libraries, and has been featured on National Public Radio, Colorado Public Radio, in The Huffington Post and Forbes magazine.
“Working with Douglas County Libraries has been my pride and inspiration for nearly a quarter of a century,” said LaRue. “It would be hard to find a more dedicated group of colleagues and volunteers anywhere.”
A personnel committee comprised of four board members and chaired by trustee Demetria Heath will direct the process to find and hire a new library director. The committee is working with DCL’s human resources department and the full board, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
“The board is committed to finding a dedicated and visionary leader for Douglas County Libraries,” Heath said. “We have great optimism and confidence in the process we will be following.”