Just Before the Dedication of the New Addition
(January 26, 2006)
In March, 2010, during a meeting at Mooresville (Indiana) Public Library, one of my colleagues, Suzanne Walker, who was then the library's youth services director, was discussing with the library's executive director, Diane Huerkamp, and me a social media initiative. The library had already launched its YouTube channel; we could add Facebook, Twitter, and something called "Blogger," whatever that was, which featured "blogs," whatever they were. Suzanne envisioned expanding the library's "global footprint" through its use of social media. We could disseminate our messages far and wide to many more people than merely those who entered through the library's doors.
Suzanne already used Blogger to recommend children's and teen books to read and, along with other staff, was about to create new blogs focusing upon the library's youth services programs. Blogs could also be used for adult services content. She suggested I write a blog about the history of Mooresville, Indiana.
Would people read a local history blog, I wondered? With an Internet already overloaded with trivial, over-personalized content, could an audience be attracted discussing the past of a town with fewer than 15,000 residents? I doubted it, but I was game to try.
So, on April 3, 2010, I "published" my first "post" to this "blog." Re-reading it now, the tone reminds me of a standup comic whose tired old material is bombing but who doesn't want to surrender the stage in humiliating defeat. Of course, I was just starting this journey, so I didn't know exactly where I was going or how I planned to get there. Maybe I should cut my former self some slack.
Thirteen years later, I've reached the end of my library career. I've written a few hundred blog posts here, as well as over a thousand elsewhere (on four other blogs, two of which are long gone from the web, but two of which are still around here and here). I've reached a quarter million viewers with this local history blog; I reached another three-quarters of a million on my other blogs, and over 2.4 million viewers on the library's YouTube channel. Suzanne's social media initiative was a success beyond our wildest expectations.
As my retirement date approaches, I look back fondly upon the historical tales we've shared here. Looking back is what historians do; since I've been portraying one at the library for the past 16 years, I wanted to stay in character until my last day, when I will close the library's Indiana Room (and, as manager-in-charge, the library) for what will be my final time.
This blog will remain online until such time as Google (or whoever will control the Blogger site) decides otherwise. Links to PDFs will remain active until Mooresville Public Library updates to new website servers. This blog has been a rewarding experience that, with any luck, was somewhat informative and, perhaps, mildly entertaining. I'm grateful for the support I've received from the library board and the library's executive director (still Diane Huerkamp, after all these years). Not many employers would have tolerated my spending endless hours turning out this tripe, although, in fairness, I've written about half of it off-the-clock at home. Still, they always had encouraging words for my efforts. I appreciate that.
There's much local history to be found on these blog posts. If you've enjoyed it, thank one of my predecessors, Wanda Potts (MPL Indiana Room librarian, 1966-2002, and assistant director from the 1970s to the 1990s) for creating and maintaining the historical collections from which I've drawn everything. Also thank Bonita Marley (MPL executive director 1961-1984), who preserved all the local history filed before Wanda came aboard (and handed it over to Wanda to preserve thereafter). Myrtle Keller (MPL staffer & assistant director during the 1960s and 1970s) also contributed to the library's historical collections, as did each of the library directors and staff before Mrs. Marley. My immediate predecessor, Marylou Smith, also deserves kudos for her fine work preserving Mooresville's past. None of the material I've presented here (or elsewhere) regarding local history would have been possible without their tremendous efforts to organize and safeguard it. All I did was type and upload some images.
Finally, thank YOU for reading about Mooresville's past. Local history collections are diminishing in public libraries these days, so having an interested audience has helped Mooresville Public Library continue its mission to protect the past for the future to explore. I hope the library's Indiana Room resources will be around for many years to come. History continues forward, so there will always be something new and fresh to discover. The historical journey never ends.