Giving thanks

Thanks for growing up in an absurdly functional family, where even as the unexpected final child I knew I was loved, knew reading mattered (and was an everyday thing, given the books, magazines, and newspapers around the house), knew that people were more important than money, and knew that my parents expected me to make my own decisions.

Thanks for growing up with mutual respect–with good values being shown by example, not by rote training, punishment, imposed belief systems or admonition.

Thanks to UC Berkeley for showing me a broader world, allowing me to get a great education if I wanted it, exposing me to world-class teachers (including a Nobel laureate or two), and dispelling any sense that high SAT scores and a facility for writing made me anything special. Thanks to the student co-op for exposing me to so many different viewpoints, making a connection between effort and economics, putting academics first without ignoring socialization, and encouraging me to learn something about user-centered design as part of the advisory committee on the first purpose-built student co-op at Berkeley (and the first co-ed dorm as well). Convincing experienced dorm architects that students need available high-level room lighting for group study and conversation: Priceless.

Thanks to the Doe Library and its people for acculturating me in library ways, putting up with me at times (as a student employee and later), exposing me to a world-class collection, and accidentally turning me into a programmer/analyst/designer along the way…oh, and not incidentally for also employing a woman working her way through library school who filled in for someone else handling a weekly process connected to the data-entry system I designed: The small problem she had in the process resulted in our meeting, me walking her home after work, and our being married almost 28 years so far…

Thanks to RLG for taking me on and providing a range of interesting and usually-worthwhile experiences and areas of growth, and for making it clear that my writing and speaking wouldn’t be controlled or censored. Oh, and for giving me some time off to speak during the years I was in high demand.

Thanks to the people at LC who didn’t have the time to write the book people needed about MARC. Were it not for them (and for the inaccurate information being used at one library school), I would probably never have become a book writer. (And of course thanks to the librarians throughout Berkeley’s branch system and Stanford’s libraries who made it possible to get so much research done over the years–with particular gratitude to the librarians at Berkeley’s former library school library, back when Berkeley had a library school.) (And thanks to Ed Wall for encouraging and publishing my long-running series, to my wife and Kathie Bales for convincing me to apply to edit the LITA Newsletter, and so on, and so on…)

Thanks to the librarians at Stanislaus Public Library when I was growing up, at Redwood City and Menlo Park libraries at various times, and certainly at Mountain View Public Library now. I appreciate the services, the collections, and the people.

Thanks to everyone who’s encouraged me to write, invited me to speak, attacked my preconceptions, pushed me on technology and library issues, and generally kept things interesting.

I could go on (and on and…) but I’ll stop here.

Canadians have already had their turn. Now it’s ours. There may be a lot of things wrong with the world, but there’s still a lot of things to be grateful for. These are just a few of mine.

2 Responses to “Giving thanks”

  1. Mark Andrews says:

    I am thankful for “MARC for Library Use.” I used at least weekly during my 9 years in the library automation industry, through learning 5 systems (CLSI, INLEX, The Assistant, Columbia Library System and Taos) and working at 3 vendors (INLEX, McGraw-Hill School Systems and DRA).

    When I left DRA I thought I’d never go back to libraries and certainly not to library automation. Sadly, I got rid of my well used copy of MfLU. The pages were falling out of it and my marginalia was sometimes unintelligable.

    Well, the joke’s on me. After 5 years as an I.T. manager at a social rehabilitation agency I’ve taken a job as a systems librarian at my alma mater, Creighton University. I’ll be running YALS (yet another library system), Sirsi’s Unicorn. And I bought a used copy of MfLU. Nice to see you, old friend. I expect we’ll be spending a lot of time together.

    Thanks, Walt. You made my career A LOT easier! More than once your book helped me be a hero.

  2. walt says:

    Mark, What a nice thing to say!

    I’m particularly proud of that first book, because it was my first, because I know it helped get thousands of people on board for MARC–but also because I believe it helped turn the tide among smaller (and some larger) library automation vendors, from claiming MARC compatibility to actually understanding MARC and what being compatible means.

    While Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality finally outsold MfLU (after 10 books in between), I’m still not sure which has had greater impact. (Will there be a new edition of MfLU? Not from me, I’m afraid…)