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Credit Where Credit Is Due

I got into this business of writing about libraries and librarianship because of one person.    I first saw him speak one year ago at CIL2005, where he gave a presentation with Aaron Schmidt on IM.  It was that presentation that provided me with the knowledge and encouragement to press for instant messaging reference service within my library system.  His energy level, enthusiasm and knowledge were infectious, and I walked away from that presentation feeling smarter and stronger and capable of making change happen within my library.

I got into this business because of Michael Stephens.  I imagine that there are many others who can say the same thing.  

I envy Michael’s ability to speak to his audience and make them feel as if they are THE future of librarianship.  Michael’s excitement -- his always positive outlook -- is contagious.  He speaks to groups of librarians as if they were, well, regular librarians.  He does not speak down to them.  He does not bore them with overly technical presentations.  He does not try to show off by reciting all that he has done.  He does what any excellent speaker does – he talks to his audience as humans, he talks to us as the librarians we are, and he understands that we are struggling with the same issues he is struggling with.  His goal, like mine, is simple: better librarians, better services, and better served customers.

Many of you will know why I am writing this – I am sorry for delaying what should have been said days ago.  But for everyone else, let me simply say that now is a good time to recognize those who have done so much for the biblioblogosphere, libraries, librarianship, and, most importantly, our library users.  Most certainly there are others who can be mentioned with Michael.  But for now, for this brief moment, I want to direct my praise to one person who, in my humble opinion, deserves much credit for getting so many average librarians like myself more involved in improving ourselves, our profession, and our services.