Possibilities 2 (of 2)

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…]

3 Responses to “Possibilities 2 (of 2)”

  1. Jeff Scott says:

    Well, I bought three books from you a few months ago.

    The local organization book writing idea might not be too bad of an idea. There are a lot of local governments that can pay you to write a history book, or other information about the community. Centennials are a good time to strike for local government, non-profits, or businesses.

    I am sorry there isn’t more for you right now. In the end, I am pulling for a sponsor for Cites and Insights.

  2. Steven Kaye says:

    It would be a schlep, but maybe either work as a volunteer at the Computer History Museum or see about creating some sort of position with them?

    On a center for evidence-based librarianship, maybe talk to Dominican about a remote position? Not sure which library schools are strong in research these days. Or maybe the Institute of Museum and Library Services. I note that even if your personal network may not have the pull, recent events have shown you know a lot of people who might.

    As someone who’s worked in consulting companies for over 15 years, being The Expert is not that great a handicap. Land one client, you land more.

  3. walt says:

    Jeff: Much obliged. The sales drought began in February… Hmm. I hadn’t thought about actually writing books for local organizations–that’s a much bigger operation. I was thinking about advising them on the PoD process.

    Steven: If I choose to volunteer, I’ll do it closer to home; even when we were in Mountain View, I felt a bit underqualified to be a Computer History Museum person. Don’t know much about Dominican, but maybe I should investigate. Seems to me IMLS is in the institutional-grant-funding business, but what do I know?

    Thanks both.