Jul 13th, 2007
It is party time ‘round Libraryman way my friends! And it’s a community party, which means that you are invited (see the next to last paragraph of this blog post for you invitation details). At this party, you get to tell me a story or two…..and I get to write. A book. For ALA Editions!
While I’m bursting to tell you about my first book deal ever, Jenni Fry, Editor at ALA Editions tells the story in a much calmer and more reasonable voice:
“At Midwinter (2007) in Seattle, no fewer than three people sought me out, one even stopping me on the street, to tell me that “Michael Porter’s got an idea” for a book. Never one to be too slow on the uptake, I made sure to talk with him at a reception we were both attending. Several conversations and one contract later, I’m thrilled to say that Michael (aka Libraryman) will be writing for us.
Just what is this big idea, you say? Michael will be interviewing and gathering stories from individuals and institutions that have become leaders in successful electronic community engagement. He will use these stories as the basis for real-world lessons that libraries can use to more effectively engage the communities they serve. The work will be many things: part historical snapshot of this transition period in library service, part motivational storytelling, part benchmarking, and part practical handbook.”
Of course, Jenni is being a generous friend and editor because as I remember the story, it was I who tracked her down, two minute book pitch/elevator speech on the tip of my eager tongue. Regardless of how it happened, they did actually sign the contract so it is now legal and everything. In fact, I’ve taken a couple of stabs at an intro. Here’s one that is close:
“This is a book about effective and practical electronic community engagement. It is a book bursting with valuable, moving, entertaining, exciting and often times unusual stories and ideas. The stories all have lessons that center on people engaging with electronic community in ways that make the players more human. Each centrally themed collection of stories concludes with lessons learned, ideas and action items you can put to use in your library, business or personal life.”
I hope you like it, ‘cause unless the ALA folks say no, that’s how the book will go.
Now I get to thank a few folks that made this happen and then I’ll give you the official Michael Porter invitation to the party. Here goes:
Thanks to Jenni Fry and Patrick Hogan at ALA Editions for making this happen.
A whole slew of thank you’s to Chrystie Hill, who has a book coming out very soon herself and who also really helped align the stars that spelled out Y E S to this book proposal.
Also, thanks to Janie Hermann, who unbeknownst to me, also smiled upon this project.
The biggest thanks however go to the audience for and major subject matter of the book, that is, the inspirational and motivational colleagues I am blessed to know and work with. Does it crack anybody else up that simply thanking all the Jennifers’, Davids’, Michaels’ and Karens’ out there in Libraryland covers half of us? Seriously though, thank you for helping to make this the most exciting time ever to work in libraries. This project will succeed because of you. Which leads me to your invitation to the party!
This is my first public request for both library and NON-LIBRARY stories of community engagement. If you have had a story the has sprung to life from a single, or series of electronic community building tools and would be willing to share, please let me know so others can learn from it in this book! The more dramatic, intense, moving, informative, useful, practical and entertaining are obviously desirable. However, the beauty of subtlety is appreciated here as well. Even sending a one or two paragraph summary of a noteworthy community engagement story in your life could be a genuinely helpful inclusion in the book. So please think about your stories and consider sharing them with this book’s future audience. You can e-mail them to me at: michael.libraryman at sign gmail.com
I have some good content, substantial ideas and leads already, BUT we really need lots of stories like the ones described above from all over. In fact, they do not have to come from just library staffers. Non-library stories of electronic community engagement will make up the majority of those exemplified and examined in this book. That means if you have friends or family with stories that could enhance this book, I would LOVE to hear them!
Finally, this is my first book deal, so I am especially excited. I believe there is real benefit for Libraryland in the subject matter and approach here, which makes the project really pop for me as a librarian, practical tech advocate and author. But frankly, I don’t plan on trying to write a huge number of books. That means I truly believe in the idea and will work hard to make this useful, practical and helpful for us all. So for me, it is a big deal. And while it is a very happy project with lots of interesting work in store, I would like to end this announcement by thanking my dear grandma, Irene Porter-Baer. Grandma passed a way a few years ago but she was always one of my best friends, closest allies and strongest champions. I wouldn’t have been able to attend college or grad school without her help, so this opportunity would not have come to pass without her. I miss her and think of her often. I also try my best to make a proud legacy for her with my work. It is just another motivation to make this book be the best I can make it for us all. So either in the books’ introduction or conclusion I will thank you folks in Libraryland, and I will also thank my inspirational grandma that I owe a huge part of this current opportunity to.
Now please send me your stories of electronic community engagement, people!