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Happy 20th, LM_Net

It seems to me that school librarians have had the same concerns over the years: support or survival of their programs; sharing information on program and collection development; software selection and use; and simply being able to find sympathetic and helpful colleague who will listen to their joys and woes on the job Peter Milbury. LM_Net turns 20, SLJ

In my busy-ness with ALA and ISTE these past couple weeks, I've not acknowledged LM_Net's milestone anniversary. Please read the article linked above, an interview of LM_Net founders Mike Eisenberg and Peter Milbury. It's great to get these two library leaders' perspectives on school libraries.

When Peter and Mike retired as LM_Net moderators in 2007, I wrote this short homage to my first PLN:

Continuing Education

Head for the Edge, Library Media Connection, September 2008

You Know You’re a Librarian in 2008 when…you know more librarians in Texas than you do in your home state because of LM_Net.

Peter Milbury and Mike Eisenberg, the founders and moderators par excellence of LM_Net for the past 15 years, announced last November that they are passing the torch.

For the one or two of you reading this who don’t know about LM_Net, it has been the mainstay electronic mailing list for an estimated 100 million school librarians in 2 million countries, on a dozen other planets, and at least two identified alternative universes. It produces in excess of a billion e-mail messages each day - 10 billion on “recipe day.” (These numbers are rough estimates.)

I was an early subscriber and participant on LM_Net using my university “vax” account back in 1992 when I first joined. This was 1200 baud modem dial-up, line interface, pre-WWW, uphill-both-directions-in-the-snow Internet days. Not soft and cushy like young‘uns have it today with your graphical interfaces and wirelessness. The computer screen was hard to read by lamplight, too.

Anyway, LM_Net became my first Internet “continuing education” experience. And the learning began early.

It was my second year as library media supervisor and I was getting lots of push-back from the district librarians I had inherited. I was determined to make them tech integration specialists and they seemed just as determined to remain print-only librarians. After one particularly frustrating day, I turned on my computer, opened my e-mail, and just let rip about the reactionary, troglodytic, myopic, nature of school librarians, concluding that they had better damn well wake-up and smell the coffee or they would all be replaced with techs and not to let the door hit ‘m where the good lord split’m on the way out. And off the rant went to LM_Net. 

Let me put it this way - I got some reaction. I knew librarians had good vocabularies, but even I learned some new words. I believe after that other LM_Netters opened my e-mails simply wondering what idiotic thing I might say next. In LM_Net I found my voice.

But more importantly, I found colleagues who offered information, encouragement, and support. It was my first true “continuous learning” experience not because I was the one doing the teaching, but because we were all learning together – as we do to this day. The virtual community built by LM_Net (a professional learning community before they were so named) was a lifeline and sanity-keeper for many of us.

My subscription to LM_Net has been set on nomail for awhile. In honor of this milestone anniversary, I'm turning this puppy back on. Let's keep it going for another 20 years.

On a personal note, I first met Joyce Valenza at an AASL conference in Portland in '97 where Mike Eisenberg was hosting a "Late Night with Mike" amateur hour event. Joyce did impressions of single cell organisms -paramecium, protozoa, etc. We became friends anyway. 

Thank you, Peter and Mike. You've made a huge impact on my career and my life. 

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Reader Comments (1)

I want the video from that fateful night in Portland! I would also like to recreate the event sometime soon. Cheers!

June 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColet

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