Report sheds light on library’s nocturnal U.S. flag

I was raised with the understanding of the American flag being flown at sunrise and taken down at sunset as respect for the country. Why is it that the Durango Public Library leaves its flag up 24/7? Is this not disrespectful of the flag, the men who have served our country (right next to the VA clinic) and shows that city employees don’t know the proper guidelines for the flying of the flag? – A Daily Walker

No, it’s not disrespectful at all. On the contrary, the library’s flag display is a model of reverence and patriotism.

Not to disparage your upbringing, but there’s a lot more to flag etiquette than flying Old Glory between only dawn and dusk.

Illuminated flags can be out all night. In fact, it’s encouraged under the right circumstances.

Andy White is the director of the Durango Public Library. He said the flag “is discussed a lot.”

In addition to being one of the best library administrators anywhere, Andy is Johnny-on-the-Spot.

Within two minutes of being asked about the library’s flag, Andy emailed Action Line the definitive code for displaying the Stars and Stripes.

“The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions” is a report from the Congressional Research Service. You can find it here:

Section 6 states: “ … when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”

The library has two expensive flag spotlights.

One illuminates the flag as it flies at the top of the pole. The other one shines in the middle of pole when the flag is flown at half-staff during times of mourning.

Therefore, the library honors America’s flag, salutes veterans for their service and has the staff that addresses protocols precisely. Not only that, the lighting also complies with Durango’s “dark skies” ordinance.

OK. Enough preaching – it’s time for full disclosure.

The Durango Public Library is near and dear to Action Line’s heart, as he serves on its advisory board.

Naturally, hackles are raised when a red flag is raised about raising flags at the library.

Speaking of raising stuff at the library, let’s do some with money and awareness.

First, a shameless pitch for the Friends of the Library’s book sale all day Feb. 17 and 18. Get some good, cheap books.

And if you have an e-reader device such as a Kindle or Nook, did you know the library offers free tech help and book downloads for this new frontier of reading? It also has Nooks available for checkout.

Action Line thought it would be a good idea to run these ideas up the flagpole and see if anyone would salute.

durango colorado

Nothing fills the Mea Culpa Mailbag quite like an obvious mistake.

Such was the case last week regarding the roundabout. A tip o’ the cap to our good friend Terry Hobbs and a host of others.

In transcribing the roundabout question, Action Line erred in characterizing the maneuver from Riverview Drive to Florida Road as a left-hand turn.

“I sat at the same Florida Road roundabout for more than 15 minutes the other morning trying to make the impossible left turn into town. It finally dawned on me that town wasn’t left, it was right,” points out reader and navigator “Chris Columbus.”

“It was much faster making the right turn, but by then I had forgotten what I was going to town for in the first place. Getting old stinks!”

Adds our friend Mark Fei: “I grew up in England, so I’m accustomed to roundabouts and have often been surprised by the befuddlement they cause for many Americans.”

Could it be because here in the States, we drive on the wrong side of the road?

Anyway, Mark also points out that slowing down for the yield sign will solve many of the roundabout’s issues.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you shack up with seven dwarfs this week for Snowdown.