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.
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.