Here's To The Ineluctable Future
I was surprised to see LISNews has outlived The Juice. Seeing the end of Library Juice got me thinking about the future of LISNews. Though I'm not really sure I fully understand Rory's reason for calling it quits, I would think exhaustion must have been the major contributor. Library Juice must've taken an incredible amount of time and energy. Whatever his real motivations for moving on, I can relate, and I know exactly how he feels. There are many parts of The Juice I'll miss, and though I didn't agree with much of what he had to say, I was always impressed the the quality of what Rory did.
One interesting comment I saw him leave on The Stuff also made me think a bit:
"The format of Library Juice allowed me to mostly avoid certain kinds of discussions that I don't want to have and probably wouldn't be able to avoid if I started a blog."
Rory was a big part of LISNews for years, and if I remember right [and Rory says I don't remember right, so for that I apologize], one of his big problems with LISNews is how I let everyone have a say. I don't subscribe to that theory in any way. However much I may want to start firewalling people that annoy me, I'll just never do it. I'll never avoid conversations I don't want to have by silencing everyone. It's easy to figure out who is a delusional nut job and who is interesting and informative, and I read people based on the reputation they've made for themselves. I don't think it does any of us any good if I silence them. I welcome constructive criticism, and I also welcome people I disagree with into my world. Especially those who are respectful, articulate and interesting. I think I learn and grow by reading well thought out and rational arguments on any side of an issue. I'm not naive enough to think for a second that's all we get here @LISNews, but that's why we have the moderation system. I think LISNews strikes a good balance between openness and editorial control.
LISNews is also more than just a mailing list with a mirror on the web, like Library Juice. LISNews is a community, it's a mailing list, it's a book club, it's a collection of journals, and it's a source for news. It's not just one thing, written by one person trying to advance one agenda. LISNews is open to all, and it will stay that way. If we are a profession that truly believes in "resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas" then I don't believe LISNews should be closed to avoid discussions I don't want to read. I'm not one who swears by the Library Bill of Rights, but I think most of what is printed there is a good idea to follow professionally. LISNews is a forum that allows free expression, and free access to ideas. There is no editor making the decision to cut out things he doesn't agree with. There is no board of directors worried about bringing profits up for the shareholders. We have here tools to share ideas and our lives with others.
So AnywhoÃ¢Â€Â¦ my point here, if I had one when I started, had to do with me thinking about what I do with LISNews, and how much I still enjoy it. We'll be going into our 6th year in a month, I've posted almost 10,000 stories, almost 700 comments, and this is my 200th journal post... all that, and I don't feel burned out even a little bit (well, most days). That doesn't mean I always feel this way, but the vast majority of the time I look at LISNews each day with excitement. LISNews is the first thing I look at in the morning, and the last thing I check at night. LISNews is part of my life that I still greatly enjoy and I believe in. I love that I can read stories about libraries from all over the world. I love that I can read bits from The Catholic Worker Digest, neocon delusions, stories about Law & Order, complaints about censorship (pro & con) and a reminder to back up my data all in one place. And here's the best part, and the part why I think collaboration is the key to longevity in most cases: I didn't write any of them. I just provide people with a space to write, and they take it (yet another reason this isn't Blake Carver's LISNews). They entertained me, they taught me, and the enraged me, and they chose to do it here, and that's what makes LISNews so great. If I start feeling tired or burned out, I just take a few days off and LISNews goes on. If I turn old and grumpy, LISNews can go on without me.
I hope LISNews will go on for years to come. I don't care about the environment in which we exist. My inspirations come from LISNews and the community we've built. I welcome new initiatives, both here @LISNews and elsewhere. I still enjoy the little original writing I do here, and elsewhere. Unlike Rory, I think much of what that is being written is interesting and insightful. I think there are many people out there that have many interesting things to share. What can I say, I'm easy to please. I hope the openness at LISNews will help us to grow in a natural way into something different over time. What that something might be I really can't say, but I hope it's something that we can all use and contribute to in new and exciting ways. And lest you think I disagree with Rory on everything, I too think that blogs are here to stay and are the beginning of something important and ineluctable. I hope LISNews is part of that "ineluctable future."