We're On A Mission

Submitted by Blake on Fri, 06/10/2005 - 14:33

I've been trying to come up with an impressive mission statement ever since I read Michael Porter's call for writing personal mission statements. I'm just stumped. I couldn't really come up with much in the way of anything for myself, though I did rewrite the LISNews "about us" page just a bit. It still needs more work, but at least I fixed some glaring spelling mistakes and stupid grammar errors. LISNews still doesn't have a "real" mission, but I guess we're getting there.

I did make an attempt at writing my own mission statement, but didn't have much luck, I guess mostly because I'm not quite sure what I want to be when I grow up. I tried to stick with Michael's idea of "doing only good" but that's such a subjective thing. I'll betchya some of my ideas of "doing good" would make GregS*'s skin crawl and certainly vice versa. Google's idea of "Don't be evil" doesn't always seem to be completely non-evil, though generally it's just a bit less evil than others. Good and Evil can be subjective sometimes, but more often than not, most of us could agree on what makes an action good, and what makes it evil. Like LibraryMan, my statement would also be in a constant state of flux as I fight to keep myself (and my profession) relevant. So I tried to figure out what it was that I do, searching for my "thing." If I have one, it unfortunatly doesn't seem to be the part of any trendy headline catching trends. Much of what I do is behind the scenes; command line, boring Linux stuff. My work isn't sexy, quotoable, or even interesting to all but a few geeks. It's all good, no evil, so it wouldn't make a good moive. I don't seem to be trendy. I'm more of a trend watcher. I try to spot trends, and maybe guess at how they will play out long term. Trying to undertand them in the middle of a sea change as it happens, trying to figure out the tide, who's driving it, and where it'll leave us. In my every day work I tend to think short term and practical, something that doesn't lend itself very well to a mission statement. "be practical" is probably the lamest mission ever, though I'm not sure it's any worse than "don't be evil."

So back to a mission; rather than trying to understand which direction we are headed, and having a mission to match, I thought a mission, if I can ever write one, should be about finding ways to unite librarians, and ensure that people outside of the library world see all libraries as relevant and important and worth funding. I believe we are in the midst of a huge shift brought on by technolgy and politics and it's more important than ever we are good marketers. That's about the best I could do. I'll work on being practical, good and not evil.