We're On A Mission

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.


"doing good" alone is enough to make my skin crawl. Good comes from being not doing.

I always think Dilbert whenever I think about writing this kind of stuff! Maybe I should just use the auto-generator on the Dilbert site.

Yes, good point. Since it'll probably never be printed we can change it anytime we want.

'Smarts' are sexy, now I gotta get me some.

That might work at a Harry Potter convention!

Ha! Yours and a few other people I think.

Wow, that's great! I'm really terrible at writing this kinda stuff.

And that's a great idea, maybe we can get Fanken to read any mission/vision stuff in Stuart Smalley's voice.

with find/replace.

Please reconsider Blake.
I only hear Stuart Smalley's voice when reading these things.

The mission of the LISNews is to provide visionary forum for library and information professionals to contribute to library literature for practicing library and information professionals. The guiding principle of LISNews is to lead library and information professionals to new thinking for the twenty-first century with content that is sound in principle and science.

or perhaps

LISNews mission is to educate and nurture library and information professionals, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our LISNews family, we strive to develop future library and information professional leaders of our nation and the world.

As long as you don't go around talking about your magic wand, I think you're safe.

Birdie! That's it!

"LISNews: Staying fluid for the LIS community."

I suppose that's more like a motto. I can never keep vision and mission statements straight. Maybe me and my overactive bladder will adopt some version of it for ourselves.

At LISNEWS we provide an evironment where people can piss off other people as much as they want and post weirdness that wouldn't otherwise see the light of day.

Oh, wait, that's my personal mission statement. Sorry.

I have a wide array of magical powers.

no, wait, thats my pickup line.

Man, I am not good at this...

I think both Greg and Fang (can you imagine those two in the same boat????) have it wrong.

You can write a mission statement, but it can never be a static thing...missions change, the audiences reading them change too...businesses change, the market changes, the economy changes, the political scene changes, society changes, etc. etc.

So stay fluid!

Also, where we would be without people like you who understand and can utilize complex information and subject matter? Visionaries are a dime a dozen in this world...we could use more people (like yourself) with a practical and applicable approach.

And speaking of practical, here are a few spelling hints: unfortunatly/ technolgy/quotoable/ moive (can't help editing...it's an uncontrollable urge).

One more thing, who says your work isn't sexy? 'Smarts' are sexy. Ability is sexy. Not to mention holding down a full-time job, running a website, having a family life and fathering a little one.

In one of his books, Dilbert creator Scott Adams tells a hilarious story about a stunt in which he posed as a "legitimate" consultant, met with execs at a corporation, and had them draft a mission statement and put it to music. My experience in a library that hired a consultant to facilitate the development of a "vision statement" would have been almost as funny if we hadn't paid the guy so much money.

I think biz consultant Dale Dauten, who's actually written stuff that's worth reading, once said something to the effect that the only meaningful mission statement is "We help." Which fits with Ranganathan's "save the user's time" pretty well.

What the hell do you need a mission statement for? Is this some kind of ersazt requirement suddenly written into the Rules of Life(tm)?

You want a mission statement? Try this on for size: LISNews: Doing what I want to do.

If I have to have a personal mission statement I think I'll adopt: Living my life my way; screw you.

Well, I suppose I just want to be able to explain to people what the hell is going on here. It's not really obvious, I can tell by the email I get. So I don't think we really need something to guide us so much as we need something to tell others what we're up to.

The about page used to say "we post what we find interesting on any given day. If you find it interesting too, then today's your lucky day."

That was what I always used when people would complain about their submission not getting posted.