Archive for March, 2010

Possibilities 2 (of 2)

Posted in Worklife on March 30th, 2010

This is a followup to this post from last week, and I won’t give it a subtitle because I’ll discuss more than one possibility. (As background: Since I lost long-term sponsorship for C&I at the end of 2009, one of my print columns was discontinued at the same time, and LYRASIS discontinued my Library Leadership Network work–at least on a paid basis–as of tomorrow, I’m looking for other possibilities if I’m going to stay semi-retired rather than fading away entirely. To date, other than LSW’s remarkable actions, there have been one or two very tentative nibbles to which I’ve responded, nothing more.)

Sponsorship of Cites & Insights is still the #1 possibility, to be sure–it’s a case where I believe there’s demonstrated and somewhat unique value, and it’s something I’d like to keep doing if I can justify it.

What of other possibilities?

  • I’d love to be an adviser/consultant/participant in a center for evidence-based librarianship, doing and collaborating on real-world quantitative and qualitative research that expands the quantitative work I’ve already done (all of it essentially for nothing–or, in one case, for perhaps $2/hour net results). I have neither the foundation contacts nor other pull/contacts to try to set up such a center; you’d expect that sort of thing to be at a library school or national organization or foundation. Anyone who does have such contacts–well, I’d love to talk. I rate this as an outside chance.
  • While I believe I’ve demonstrated my editorial and synthesis skills in working with a broad range of library bloggers to create worthwhile new materials, I can’t imagine who would be likely to pay me to do that work on an ongoing basis, if LYRASIS decided it wasn’t worthwhile. I’d love to be wrong here; frankly, I thought I had a remarkably good and effective network set up, and am sad to see it go away.
  • Individual projects may happen, and I’m open to possibilities, but I’m now wary of doing much “on spec.” There’s also the question of whether individual projects make sense in terms of financial return vs. desirability.
  • Back when I was considering future projects (with the part-time job still in place), one that stood out was the idea of creating a workshop/webinar/book/resource/whatever for libraries that wished to serve as local publishing resources, either to publish local history and other works or to support patrons who were interested in doing their own work. I haven’t entirely given up on that idea, but after a little initial enthusiasm I found very little ongoing suggestion that libraries/associations were ready to pay for such resources–or that they were actually interested in doing these new services. The complexity of designing the support system to make this work also grew…not entirely off the plate, but also not on the front burner.
  • Similarly, I don’t see speaking as a likely candidate for any significant amount of income. I’ve never been a One Simple Message guru-type speaker, I’ve rarely given the same speech twice, and I suspect that the lack of invitations means I don’t really have a great track record–or at least not one that leads to lots of word-of-mouth invitations. Given the sheer joy of air travel these days, I’m not going to push this one hard–and, since I don’t go out trying to convince people they should bring me in (can you really do that and also ask for expenses plus a fee?), I don’t see it happening. Last year I had one paid engagement (OLA, and that was great); this year, so far, I have zero. I think I had my 15 years of mild prominence as a speaker, but was never a really Hot Item.
  • My wife suggests using my experience doing PoD publishing, but not on a library basis. She suggests finding local organizations that need or want to do this sort of thing, volunteering initially, then being a paid adviser to those wanting to do such books. That’s interesting–but, particularly with production problems in my wife’s current attempts, problematic. It’s also, as far as I can see, a field rife with paid resources–Lulu has loads of services available for those willing to pay. Still…
  • Become a consultant? On what? One problem has always been that I’m not much of a self-marketer or entrepreneur; at this point, a bigger problem is that I’m not The Expert on any one thing, and I don’t have years of library experience. Now, it’s possible that existing consultants might find my background (and name, such as it is) useful, and I’d welcome possibilities, but I just don’t see setting up a library consultancy at this point.

So I guess this makes “2 of 2″ rather than “2 of n.” And I now see why I kept delaying this series of posts…I’m somewhat of a Candide by nature, and so far this isn’t a Candide-ish situation.

No, I’m not going to become a Wal-Mart greeter. I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart, and our financial situation isn’t that bad. I might become involved with the local FOL group, but of course that’s volunteer work…

It’s once again been made clear that some librarians (including primarily, to my considerable pleasure,  librarians much younger than I) continue to value what I do. But it’s also been made clear once again that I’m highly expendable. Interesting times…

[For the record: Sales of C&I books since all this started continue to stand at zero, at least at Lulu, with one copy of my oldest self-published book sold at CreateSpace. That's also useful data...]

C&I now includes live index

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 26th, 2010

As discussed in a previous post, I was pondering whether to add ads (back) on this site–and whether to add a search box to Cites & Insights. From what I could see, the only free search that would work for the site (given that it’s got a lot of files taking up a lot of space) is Google Custom Search Engine.

Not that I have mixed feelings about Google, or anything…and, hey, what better time to use a free Google service than the day after I publish an essay segment about Google blowing it with buzz?

Anyway, I’m going to try it out. You’ll find a “Search” tab in the tabs at the top of the page and a search segment right below the sponsorship/donation blather and above the promo for C&I Books. It’s a Google search, so Google syntax applies (I guess).

Right now, the CSE is searching both the entire C&I site and the entire Walt at Random site. Depending on your feedback and other unknowns, I might change that to exclude the blog (which does, of course, have its own internal search box).

Things I’ve already noted or am unsure about:

  • I know Google indexes PDFs. I’d always thought that indexing was limited to the first 150K or so, but that does not appear to be the case. Test case: the string “good enuf rvlutn” appears on the last page of the largest PDF in the history of C&I (10:1), and the CSE search works just fine.
  • The initial results are embedded in a division of the home page and are strange in a couple of ways–the C&I Books footer can become part of the sidebar (for some results, not for others), and the PDF results all show “Cites & Insights” as a link (you’ll see the actual filename in the browser if you’re hovering over the link) and “citesandinsights.info” as a footer, which is less than ideal, but again the price is right.
  • However, if you click on “More results,” you’ll get a standard Google-style page, with the specific filename at the foot of each result, the [PDF] prefix before Cites & Insights, and the ability to view the PDF as HTML using Google’s own viewer–but that viewer may not work! You can also, at that point, pass the search along to the open web.
  • I’m not sure it’s picking up all the HTML versions…
  • There are a LOT of context-sensitive ads, both above and alongside the results.

The search box should be wide enough for anybody’s taste…

Comments? Should I take Walt at Random out of the search results?

C&I 10.5: A note and a question

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 26th, 2010

Two items related to the current issue of Cites & Insights, Spring 2010 (vol. 10 no. 5)–and specifically to the Zeitgeist piece that makes up most of the issue:

The note

Yes, I was aware of the Wired essay-and-sidebars on “How tablets will change the world,” written by that wholly objective Apple observer Steven “The Perfect Thing/Insanely Great” Levy and 13 of the “brightest tech minds” such as Martha Stewart, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan (!) and the Fake Steve Jobs.

I deliberately chose not to include it because applying the proper mix of fisking and commenting needed would have made an already-long essay, with too much of Wired‘s hyperbole, even longer. (Why do I still get Wired in print? Because I got a free-for-airline-miles-I-wouldn’t-use-anyway subscription…and then, when I used similar useless miles for something from Conde Nast I actually wanted, the magazine immediately went under…and they extended the Wired subscription.)

The question

This is the first substantial article I’ve written where I did not print out the first page of each piece of source material I planned to use, rereading the entire article or post in the process, to organize and annotate before working on the article. Instead, I worked directly from the delicious page(s), which meant building the article in somewhat nonlinear fashion.

If this essay seems more scattered and less coherent than usual, maybe this was a bad idea, although it does save a lot of paper. (Until last summer, I printed out entire articles. In this case, that would have used more than a ream of paper…but I rarely have this much source material.)

It’s hard for me to judge sometimes, noting that I very nearly scrapped Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0″ before publishing it.

Comments? Thoughts>

Cites & Insights 10:5, Spring 2010 Special Issue

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 25th, 2010

Cites & Insights 10:5, Spring 2010, is now available.

This issue and the May and June issues (at least) are sponsored by the Library Society of the World. Don’t assume that LSW members agree with what’s being said–and please do check the masthead on page 30.

The 30-page issue (PDF as usual, but both essays are available as HTML separates) contains two features:

Bibs & Blather pp. 1-4

Sponsorship, Semi-Retired and Other Quandaries: If you regularly read Walt at Random, you can probably skip this essay, since it mostly repeats what I said in posts on March 13, March 15 and March 18, 2010. [Yes, I will be at ALA Annual, from Friday late morning through Sunday evening, thanks to LSW.]

The Zeitgeist: hypePad and buzzkill pp. 4-30

The first of a new occasional feature, The Zeitgeist. This essay considers two big Silicon Valley companies that rely heavily on the trust and good will of users–and very different recent situations with each one. The first section (pp. 4-25) is about hypePad–the level of hype that preceded and followed the announcement of Apple’s iPad. The second section (pp. 25-30) is about buzzkill: Google’s remarkably clumsy and intrusive introduction of a new social network.

Enjoy!

The limits of self-editing

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 25th, 2010

Most bloggers either have no editing (me, typically) or self-editing (that is: you write a draft, save it, and come back to look at it before posting) for their posts. A very small number may have editors available. That’s fine for blogs.

Unfortunately for readers (but necessarily for reality), Cites & Insights also only has self-editing. I go back to each individual essay at least once, after at least a day’s rest, to review it carefully and revise it. I also print out all the articles in a forthcoming issue, let that printout sit for a day or more, and go through it line-by-line with a red pen. That’s before copyfitting (getting the issue down to an appropriate even number of pages)–and if copyfitting has been extreme, I’ll print the issue out once more, wait a day, then check it over for oddities. (But I won’t print yet another copy unless there are significant changes.)

I’m a reasonably good editor, I believe, based on nine years’ experience editing the LITA Newsletter, two or three years editing Information Standards Quarterly and three years creating and editing Library Leadership Network. I wonder whether one can ever be as effective self-editing as editing other people’s copy…

Case in point

I was reminded of this yesterday and today. I’m doing a special Spring 2010 edition of Cites & Insights (probably out tomorrow, possibly Saturday, possibly late today), primarily devoted to a single essay “hypePad and buzzkill,” which also introduces a new running feature “The Zeitgeist.” (The first few pages is a Bibs & Blather about sponsorship, being semi-retired and other quandaries…). I’d edited the big essay twice and the B&B once. Putting them together in “issue form,” I got 35 pages; the editing cycle itself didn’t reduce that, but copyfitting and some on-the-fly editing brought it down to 32 pages.

I was happy with what I had–but I thought it might be possible to trim it down to 30 pages and maybe tighten it up in the process. So I did that (and succeeded)…and, in the process, caught and fixed at least eight typos that I wouldn’t have caught otherwise.

I’d love to say that I’ve now caught most of the errors in the issue; I think that’s true, but know better than to claim it. (I’d love to say I’ve caught all of them…but my hubris seems to be on permanent vacation.)

I’m pretty sure I would have caught none of those eight in that “final reading” of the printed issue. For some reason, the kind of reading I was doing on this second pass, primarily devoted to “can I cut this sentence? Can I cut this entire paragraph?” thinking, also yielded that many “hmm, look at that” moments.

Deeper meaning? Probably none. I’m happy that none of the typos affected meaning; they all just made me look slightly illiterate, and by now I’m used to that.

[That's an early warning: There will be a new Cites & Insights, volume 10, number 5, out Real Soon Now. It's sponsored by the Library Society of the World. You really should read the masthead when it appears--at the very end of the very last page, as usual.]

Spaghetti Westerns Disc 5

Posted in Movies and TV on March 23rd, 2010

Trinity and Sartana…
Those Dirty Sons of Bitches (orig. Trinità e Sartana figli di… or “Trinity and Sartana children…”), 1972, color. Mario Siciliano (dir.), Alberto Dell’Acqua (as “Robert Widmark”), Harry Baird, Beatrice Pella, Stelio Candelli, Dante Maggio (as “Dan May”), Ezio Marano (as “Alan Abbott”). 1:42.

This flick gets into trouble right off the bat, as you see portions of the credits—and it becomes clear that the approach to pan&scan used was, apparently, just to take the central portion of the wide-screen shot regardless. There are scenes where the person speaking is entirely cut off to the left; you can’t read any of the cast names; it’s a little bizarre.

Which is a reasonable description of the film itself, a farce that tries a little too hard. Trinity is a sailor from Trinidad who somehow finds himself an outlaw in Texas, but with a bad habit of giving away whatever money he steals—and having lots of seaside dreams involving a certain woman. Sartana is a wisecracking Texas outlaw who can shoot like nobody’s business…and who somehow keeps partnering with Trinity although he should know better. There’s a third partner at one point, an aging lunatic who rides a wagon with a player piano (and, as needed, a hand-cranked machine gun…). The film also includes some obese Fancy Ladies, a Mexican gangleader who appears wholly incompetent and lots of other hapless villains. There’s lots of fancy shooting but nobody ever actually gets shot; when there’s actually a showdown, all the fancy shooters use nothing but fists (and chairs and other objects); there’s a certain amount of self-reference and it’s all very silly. The score is, well, awful. Apparently there are Spaghetti Western series starring characters named Trinity and Sartana, respectively, in which case this is mostly a bad ripoff (with no relationship to the series).

Decent print except for the absurdly bad cropping. I found it more silly than funny, but you may have different tastes. Charitably, $0.75.

Find a Place to Die (orig. Joe… cercati un posto per morire! or Joe…searched for a place to die!), 1968, color. Giuliano Carnimeo (dir.), Jeffrey Hunter, Pascale Petit, Giovanni Pallavicino (“Gordon York”), Reza Fazeli, Nello Pazzafini (“Ted Carter”), Adolfo Lastretti (“Peter Lastrett”). 1:29.

As the film begins, a young woman and older man are shooting it out with a scattered but large gang, apparently trying to protect a run-down house. They’re actually trying to protect a gold mine in Mexico, and the woman is quite vocally unhappy about her husband’s decision to abandon his university job in New Orleans to find and reopen this mine.

The battle ends with the guy tossing bundles of dynamite out to wipe out the rest of the band—and, in the process, starting off an avalanche that winds up with him trapped by a half-ton log. Nothing to do but have his wife try to get help in a tiny little former-village a two-day ride away…

Which she does. The village is now inhabited by a loose band of mostly semi-outlaws, one woman with a great voice and guitar, and an American who’s basically a drunk but used to be an officer (before he was court-martialed for shooting somebody he thought deserved it). He’s also a gunrunner, but never mind… She needs four people to come rescue her husband; since the promised payment comes from a bag full of gold nuggets, everybody figures out that there’s a mine out there for the taking. The American, first refusing the job, notes that the area is ruled by “Chato’s gang”—particularly vicious thieves who love to torture and rape.

The rest of the movie? The band, all of whom mistrust one another (for good reason) and who’ve been joined by a particularly questionable preacher, make their way back. Along the way, there’s some nudity and almost rape (of course, a beautiful young married woman from New Orleans would think nothing of going for a nude swim in the evening when her only companions are four thugs and one semi-good-guy!) Plot spoilers ahead: They’re too late for the husband—and the gang has taken the gold. The rest of the flick has to do with attempts to retrieve the gold.

Funny thing is, it’s a pretty good movie. It’s widescreen, the score is particularly effective, there’s lots of good scenery, it’s less flamboyant and more atmospheric than most and with one exception, only bad guys get killed (of course, almost everybody in the movie’s a bad guy). I give it $1.50.

Johnny Yuma, 1966, color. Romolo Guerrieri (dir.), Mark Damon, Lawrence Dobkin, Rosalba Neri, Luigi Vannucchi/Louis Vanner, Fidel Gonzales, Leslie Daniels. 1:40 [1:35]

I have to say, this one was impressive if also a little depressing at times. Widescreen, excellent print, good music—and, oddly, no credits at either the start or end of the movie. (Maybe that’s the missing five minutes?) A rancher (who also keeps the local town going) is wheelchair-bound and sending for his nephew, Johnny Yuma (although Yuma’s not his real last name) to run the ranch. His much younger wife wants her brother to take over—and arranges to have the rancher shot. She sends for a guy name of Carradine (possibly a tribute to one of the stars of The Rebel, the TV show about Johnny Yuma?) who’s an ex-lover and who she expects to kill Yuma—for a fee.

Why kill him? Well, if he’s gone, then she clearly inherits the ranch, which she’s already arranged to sell for a fortune. There’s no will (or, well, actually there is one, a small but interesting plot point). Complicating matters: Her brother and his people are vicious—and, early on, Carradine and Yuma exchange pistols and holsters after dealing with a saloon full of crooked gamblers.

Lots of fancy shooting. Too much physical abuse. An odd would-be sidekick who keeps turning up. Great scenery. Well-made—good direction, fine cinematography. Generally good acting. A reasonably natural pace with very little nonsense. Unusually satisfying ending. The plot even makes sense. The theme song…well, I guess they couldn’t license Johnny Cash’s version, so there’s a very odd new song with the same name. All things considered, I’ll give it $1.75.

Fistful of Lead (orig. C’è Sartana… vendi la pistola e comprati la bara or There’s Sartana…sell the gun and buy the coffin or I Am Sartana, Trade Your Guns for a Coffin), 1970, color. Giuliano Carnimeo (dir.), George Hilton, Charles Southwood, Erika Blanc, Piero Lulli/Peter Carter, Linda Sini, Nello Pazzafini, Carlo Gaddi, Aldo Barberito. 1:33.

The first movie on this last disc was apparently a spoof intended to capitalize on the characters in two series of Spaghetti Westerns, Trinity and Sartana. To wind up the collection, we get one of the real films with Sartana—and Sabbath, his nemesis/compatriot/white hat to his black hat. (Sabbath’s a strange dude, what with the white parasol and constant poetry reading.)

The plot has to do with a mining company that keeps losing miners’ gold shipments to bandits—but, as becomes fairly obvious fairly soon, the shipments carry sand, not gold. We get a Mexican bandit gang, an evil company owner, various other evil folks—and Sartana, who seems mostly to crave freshly-cooked eggs but can outwit and outshoot any seven men at once.

Lots of trick shooting. Lots of uneven odds. Lots of temporary doomed alliances. Thoroughly enjoyable, with a semi-coherent plot, no gratuitous gore or explicit violence (other than the usual cartoon shootings), good music, reasonably good acting. Not widescreen, but a good print that makes the most of the many close-ups in this flick. $1.75.

Quick post on two odd considerations

Posted in Stuff on March 23rd, 2010

I’m thinking about doing one or both of two things, and would love reactions from The Great Collective Mind:

  • Restoring ads (presumably AdWords/AdSense, unless someone knows of a network that pays for impressions rather than clickthroughs) to this blog. When I had them before, there were so few clickthroughs that it was largely wasted noise on the page (I think I earned $20 over the four or five months they were running–and that’s total, not per month). The blog seems to have a lot more readership now, but I still wonder whether library types are likely to click through. Opinions?
  • Adding a Google Custom Search box to the Cites & Insights home page, specifically searching C&I itself, so that readers could search across issues and essays. (Hmm. I could also include Walt at Random in the searches, but that might muddy the results.) This would not raise any revenue, but might make the large body of C&I material more useful… (I looked at other free site-index possibilities: They seem to top out at file# or size limits below C&I’s needs, unless you pay an annual fee.) Opinions?

As for other possibilities posts…one of these days. I’m finding them hard to write.

Possibilities 1: Keeping C&I going

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 22nd, 2010

It may make sense to do individual posts on some of the possibilities I’m considering. Consider this #1 of n, where n is not known.

Background

There’s this post–when I was informed that my part-time/contract writing/editing gig with LYRASIS was ending. That post included a quick summary of possibilities.

Two days later, there was this post–and if you read it, read it all, including the surprise from Library Society of the World.

Finally–so far–there’s this post, which repeats the good news portion of the second post (since people using RSS typically won’t see the update) and offers some quick thoughts on LSW and on my interactions with a group of professionals most of whom are much younger than I am.

There are also the comments on various posts–some of which have to do with following my own bliss and deciding whether I want to keep a hand in or would be happy enough to be fully retired if money wasn’t an issue.

Keeping a hand in

Here, I think, the answer is reasonably clear. As long as I believe I’m actually adding value and that value is appreciated, I’d like to keep a hand in–to maintain some involvement in the library field at the national/international level. (As opposed to dropping out and maybe joining the local Friends, getting more involved at the local level.)

The LSW response and other responses to that second post convince me that some people, at least, value Cites & Insights and the other work I do in the field.That appreciation (and, I guess, personal appreciation) is enough to get me to ALA Annual this year, at least for part of the conference. It’s also enough, already, to assure that C&I will keep going through…well, through ALA Annual.

The longer-term question is whether the perceived value translates into enough to justify the time and other expenditures, as compared to other things I could be doing (or others would like me to do).

If the answer is Yes, I’d love to keep doing C&I for some time to come.

The best way to express that answer is through sponsorship–or, I suppose, through the Andersonomics answer, where some modest number of fans loves my work so much that they pay enough to keep it going. What does he say? 1,000 fans at $100 each per year: Presto, a pretty decent living.

Fan-based support is one possibility. 1,000 at $100 is so far beyond the realm of possibility (or need) that I won’t mention it again. 200 at $50 would, for “fan-based” sponsorship, be a more than acceptable level. But I don’t see that happening, at least based on results to date (even with LSW’s work).

Sponsorship

Last night, a close friend (no, not the same close friend mentioned before) asked how much it actually costs to keep C&I going. There are two answers, and only one is really relevant:

  1. Direct cash outlay: Very little. LISHost hosting fees, domain fees, the cost of Acrobat upgrades (I probably wouldn’t need Acrobat otherwise), some portion of the cost of broadband, etc. Certainly a three-digit annual number; depending on how you break things down, probably a relatively low three-digit annual number.
  2. Time, effort, “opportunity cost:” Large. I don’t track exactly how much time I spend on C&I directly or indirectly, but it’s probably in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 hours a week overall. I’ve had suggestions of other things I should be doing with some of that time (cough more chores cough but also various local things that could yield revenue)…

What does that translate to in dollars? That’s tricky, because it’s part of a larger whole–and the revenue portions of that larger whole have mostly disappeared. (Funny how expenses don’t follow the same pattern.)

When I had sponsorship, it ranged in the medium four digits a year. Would that be enough now? Maybe–for “bare” sponsorship (that is, with credit on the front & back of each issue and on the website. For expanded sponsorship (with ads in C&I or “words from the sponsor”) probably not–and that level of sponsorship certainly wouldn’t encourage me to keep going to ALA beyond this summer. (Taking C&I behind a pay wall or requiring paid subscriptions isn’t a plausible option, I don’t believe.)

An appropriate sum would need to be negotiated. That sum could include speaking or writing for the sponsor, at some appropriate level.

Who could sponsor C&I? My general answer is “anybody I don’t normally write about,” so as to avoid possible conflict of interest. That answer includes, as a minimum:

  • Bibliographic utilities or their competitors
  • Vendors of integrated library systems (or disintegrated library systems, for that matter)
  • Book wholesalers, distributors or other library suppliers
  • Foundations (with one obvious exception, but there’s no way Pew was going to sponsor me anyway)
  • Consortia
  • Publishers (with possible exceptions).

And probably others I haven’t thought of. If there’s an acceptable offer, this would be a first-come/first-served situation. My email continues to be waltcrawford at gmail dot com.

Will C&I go away if there’s no sponsorship and donations dry up? I honestly don’t have an answer to that question. Appreciation is nice, but at some point it doesn’t pay the bills…

That’s Part 1. Not sure when Part 2 will appear. I plan to do some regular blogging as well.

Advertising against freshness? Really?

Posted in Food on March 21st, 2010

I just saw the same ad twice in today’s paper–once in the national “magazine” as a full-page ad, once elsewhere.

From Del Monte.

Urging people to avoid fresh fruit in favor of canned fruit.

Because, you know, that fresh fruit might go bad, and there’s another dollar down the drain. Where with canned, you get all that wonderful goodness with no chance of spoilage…

I honestly don’t know what to say. Well, I do, but this is a polite blog, so…

[I had an organic navel orange for dessert with lunch, grown less than 50 miles from here. I had organic grapefruit, from the same ranch, with breakfast--so sweet it was like lemonade. Both purchased from the grower at yesterday's farmer's market. Tell me to eat canned fruit instead? Right... Now, if decent fresh fruit simply isn't available, or it has to be flown halfway around the world, that's one thing--but as a general argument, Del Monte should be ashamed of itself.]

Seriously: A post in progress

Posted in Cites & Insights on March 18th, 2010

These are brief preliminary thoughts toward what should be a longer post or, maybe, an article in Cites & Insights. For now, they’ll have to do.

I hadn’t thought about it, but those of you who read Walt at Random via RSS–which, I’m guessing, is most readers (Feedburner shows 866 feeds at the moment, which astonishes me)–then you’ve read this downbeat post from Monday–but not the key paragraph added to it later that day. I’ll repeat that paragraph here:

Followup…: I’ve been informed, just a few minutes ago, of clear evidence that the dear friend is wrong, and I am grateful for that evidence. It looks much more likely that I will be going to ALA Annual, at least this year…and keeping on with C&I while we see what future possibilities arise. Oh, and may I just say “LSW FTW”?

I’d say it’s now almost certain that I’ll be at this year’s ALA Annual Conference (the “almost” has to do with the usual possibilities–health, natural disaster, etc.). To my surprise (and pleasure), some of the Library Society of the World non-members quietly organized a project to send me to ALA–and help support C&I with any extra money they raised. Between other donations that came in directly and what they’ve already reported, we’re close enough to the likely costs that I have no doubt they’ll get there.

Oh, I’m still looking for sponsors, possible projects, possible ways forward, and have a couple of things brewing, but I’m cheerier about the whole thing, even if the long-term road is no clearer than before.

Seriously?

The thing about LSW is that it’s an unorganization, mostly (not) composed of relatively younger librarians. I’ve been semi-involved for some time, although I distanced myself for a while because of a personality conflict (not resolved, but since ignored ’cause it’s really irrelevant to LSW in general). Two folks earned their LJ Movers & Shakers badges this year because of LSW (Josh Neff and Steve Lawson), but there are a bunch more M&S honorees within LSW–and, to be sure the raft of Shovers & Makers, LSW’s own non-award.

I like dealing with LSW because they’re interesting people who have interesting things to say and because they don’t, usually, treat me as either a scummy non-librarian or a boring old fart. They take me just as seriously as they take themselves–which, within LSW (now primarily but not exclusively a FriendFeed group), means “serious professionally, but not personally.”

And in the FF thread (hidden from me at the start) about the ALA funding, there were some nice things said by people about how I’d recognized what they were doing early on–in one case, maybe, before anybody else took her work seriously. I’ve cited quite a few LSW people within Cites & Insights and, at times, columns in print magazines–and I’ve cited them because they have worthwhile things to say. In other words, I’ve taken them seriously.

This should be no big deal. When a 23-year-old fresh out of library school has significant things to say about what libraries are or should be doing, the 23-year-old should be taken seriously. So, most assuredly, should a 35-year-old library director…or even a student who’s just entered library school or is thinking of doing so.

I read a lot of blogs. When people say interesting, thoughtful, provocative, worthwhile things, I flag them for use–and I treat them seriously. Doesn’t really much matter whether the blogger is young, a newbie, shy of refereed professional publications, or an Established Major Name. (OK, so the Established Major Names are a lot less likely to blog or to read blogs. That’s a different issue…and, I think, a problem that’s worth exploring, particularly the last four words.)

If I was still doing the Library Leadership Network, I’d be planning a piece on the network of contributors who provide most of the content–and that network of contributors is, largely, somewhat younger and heavy on LSW folks. My resources for C&I, a superset of that network, are similar. I take them seriously because they have serious things to say–sometimes, and sometimes usefully, said in less-than-serious ways.

That doesn’t mean I always agree with them or expect them to agree with me. Indeed, taking issue with something someone says can be part of taking them seriously–if you regard them as frivolous, why bother disagreeing?

There’s more, to be sure. Chatting with LSW folks helps keep me a bit younger, and helps keep me involved.

This latest situation reminds me that it works both ways–that what I do does matter to others. They treat me seriously, too.

Seriously. Oh, and seriously, thanks.


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