Ok, so it's really two communities, and two near-deaths. But that's not as "grabby" as the header, so tough.
Yesterday I went to a meeting of my local school librarian's association. I'd previously worked on the Board for many years, editing the newsletter and helping set up the website and elists. Three years ago, I decided that I couldn't give my all to the Board work (partly because I was sick, and partly because I'd started doing a lot of work Knowledge Quest). But I still care deeply about the local organization and want it to do well. It hasn't. Member participation is low, the newsletter is almost defunct, the website is a travesty rather than a resource, rules and procedures are rarely followed, etc.. That saddens me. What saddens me more is that I'm apparently the only one that's upset by this. The President even said so, adding that it's difficult for people to be involved in this day and age. No one responds to e-mails, surveys, etc.. The association seems to be near-death.
I've belonged to an on-line booklovers community for almost ten years, following it from one site to another and various permutations. Again, member participation has dropped off, and the majority of people posting are involved with games and not book discussions. This is another group I care deeply about, and it's also in a near-death situation.
I know that people change, that interests and loyalties and commitments change. What's important one year is less so the next, and sometimes choices have to be made as to what you devote your time to. But successful communities have fresh blood, newcomers that can take the place of oldtimers, infusing the community with new energy and new ideas. I don't see that happening as much in these two "homes".
Sometimes I wonder if I'm this upset because it calls into question my judgment. It's like breaking up with someone: was it my fault? why am I the only one emotionally invested? why don't others care? if I'm it, maybe it's because I'm making wrong choices...
I know that the Boards of each place are invested: they care. But if the greater membership doesn't seem to, if participation and new blood aren't happening, there's a part of me that thinks "just pull the plug". Maybe, if they're not there, people will realize what they've lost and agitate to regroup/reform. And if no one does, then it's sad but it's part of learning and growing.
Today's maudlin thoughts are being brought to you by Lipton's Cup-o-Soup.
Tags: lazylife, library associations, book groups