"Here, from the list archives and co-moderator Sara Weissman, who shares list duties with Karen G. Schneider, is an overview of the first fifteen years of the Public Library listserv, PubLib. From all of us here at www.lisnews.org, Happy Birthday and many happy returns (whatever that means as it applies to a listserv).
As you most likely know, PubLib is a discussion list for public librarians here in North America. It was established in 1992 and this year is it's fifteenth anniversary. On this momentous occasion, I (birdie) took the opportunity to interview Sara Weissman (SW) and find out a bit more about the discussion list. Here are my 24 questions and her answers.
1) Who started Pub-Lib? What inspired it? Who were the moderators? How were librarians advised of its existence? A bit of history if you please.
SW - Jean Armour Polly and John Iliff and the folks at NYSERNET (NY state educational server.) started it.
From the Public February 18 1997 digest: A Message From Publib's Co-Moderators, (Jean Armour Polly and John Iliff): "O.K., folks, it's been four-plus years, and your PUBLIB co-moderators are taking our leave. We are passing the torch to a very capable duo- Karen Schneider and Sara Weissman. In addition, the list is moving to a new site- the University of California at Berkeley. At the time it moves Karen and Sara, who already have a ton of good ideas, will take over. We'll keep you posted on the when and how of these developments, but for now things will continue as always. As our official swan song, we decided to interview ourselves in the PUBLIB Interview format. We haven't done one of these in a long time (the list has been too busy,) but we thought this might be a good way to say an early bye."
Here's a message from the Feb. 18, 1997 digest and founders Jean and John tell us how Pub-Lib came about in 1992:
John: "It started in Jean's fertile imagination. Prior to her starting at NYSERNet in 1992 she contacted me about working with her on a listserv for public librarians (we "met" virtually at The Well the previous year.) She envisioned everything, and the amazing thing is everything worked exactly as she thought. In all these years Jean and I had three brief face-to-face contacts, much to her benefit because I'm a heck of a lot easier to look at in ascii than in person! This whole collaboration has been almost daily, and it's been a great working relationship."
Jean: "There were several academic library lists circa 1992 but there was not one on public libraries. There really were not that many PL's on the Net at that time. In those days you needed heavy duty Unix or equivalent to run a listserv, and it was one of my first priorities to get my new employer to run a list for public librarians. Happily, NYSERNet agreed, we began the list in early December, 1992. It steadily grew."
This is what Jean is currently doing, NetMom: From the website: Jean Armour Polly is Net-mom and the author of six editions of Net-mom's Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages (Osborne McGraw-Hill), a family-friendly directory to 3,500 of the best children's resources the Internet has to offer. She is also a professional librarian, employed by the Liverpool (NY) Public Library as Assistant Director and Administrator of Systems and Technology. Author, librarian, and mom, Jean has tinkered with Internet accounts since 1991 and has participated in and facilitated online telecommunities for more than 20 years.