Making the Case 2: Leadership?

Anyone want to set up a site containing worthwhile essays for current and would-be leaders (and managers) within the library field, about leadership, management and some of the issues library leaders need to be aware of?

Anyone want to pay for the site (minimal) and for maintaining and building high-quality material on that site, and encouraging participation and feedback from people in the profession?

If so, then do I have a deal for you…

This one’s sort of a surprise. I spent roughly 2.5 years as editorial director for the PALINET Leadership Network, which became the Library Leadership Network, which became a LYRASIS service. Working as a part-time contractor, I straightened up/edited/reorganized a whole bunch of material that PALINET had acquired (and continued to license) from the original Library Leadership Network, wrote a bunch of original articles, got contributions for a while from a panel, and put together a lot more articles with the help of more than three dozen library bloggers who were pleased to make posts available.

The whole thing started as a wiki (and some day I’ll use MediaWiki markup without twitching slightly). Then it moved to a Drupal site as part of a LYRASIS initiative to broaden the network’s sources and services…which meant retouching all the articles and, in the process, consolidating them into 189 longer and more substantial articles.

In March, as some of you know, LYRASIS stopped funding me as editorial director.

This week, LYRASIS announced that the Library Leadership Network would shut down at the end of June 2010.


All the articles I was responsible for carried (and carry) a Creative Commons BY-NC license, which means they’re freely available and can be copied for any purpose that doesn’t carry a direct charge.

When I knew my tenure at LLN was over, I started copying the articles that were primarily work I had done–which turns out to be 104 of the 189 articles (omitting articles that consisted of Leader’s Digest material, articles sourced from the original LLN, articles from the LLN Peer Panel and the PLN Challenge).

While I haven’t gone through those articles and excised *portions* that were from Leader’s Digest, that wouldn’t be an enormous effort.

What remains is partly my original writing (some of it excerpted from other writing I’ve done), partly–mostly, I think–articles consisting of combinations of credited blog posts by library people and some original commentary.

A future home?

With some appropriate level of commitment and compensation, I could see turning this into a new site, continuing to add new material and update existing material, and finding ways to encourage direct participation. I can’t see spending as much time on it as I spent on LLN, but I also wouldn’t be looking for equal compensation.

If this sounds interesting and you either work for, are, or know of some group (association, division, whatever) that could make this happen, get in touch–waltcrawford at gmail dot com–and we can talk.

  • The site needs to be open to all readers at no cost–the CC BY-NC license would apply on a new site as well.
  • Updated 4:45 p.m.: The site can, of course, have ads (text or banner), sponsorship or both. The requirement is that the material be freely available.
  • I think the site should encourage conversation, but I also think lightweight tools to do that need to be used, and that it needs to work even if there isn’t much conversation.
  • I’d be happy to work on organizing the site, which I think needs to run on HTML one way or another. (I could see doing this using WordPress. I could see doing it using Drupal, with somebody else doing the heavy lifting. I could not readily see turning everything back into wiki form, frankly!)
  • If I’m involved, I’d need some medium-term assurances…

If nothing comes up, I’ll probably look at the content again, see how much of it should be adapted for use in C&I or elsewhere, and possibly find a home for it as a static set of pages. (One such home has already been suggested…but, sigh, it’s a wiki.) That’s really not ideal.

We seemed to have close to 50,000 pageviews per month for articles on the wiki site (late in 2009), which suggests there’s a real readership for this stuff. I don’t think I’d have too much trouble restarting the network of blogger permissions, if the sponsorship/support makes sense.

Interested? Get in touch.

One Response to “Making the Case 2: Leadership?”

  1. Angel says:

    The LLN thing caught me by surprise too. I found out on Facebook of all places when they made the announcements that, one, they were shutting down the service, and two, to go along, the FB page they maintained as well. Hope you do find said sponsor or a home is found somehow.

    Best, and keep on blogging.