May 21, 2007

Walt Crawford for Hire

As we have all read on Walt Crawford's blog, he's being let go by OCLC, effective this coming September. The first part of the post:

Ever thought you or one of the groups you work for or with could use a Walt Crawford?

Here’s your chance.

The RLG-OCLC transition will be complete in September. I’ve received a termination notice from OCLC, effective September 30, 2007.

I’m interested in exploring new possibilities. For now I’m trying not to narrow the options too much.

The basics: A new position could start any time after October 15, 2007 (possibly earlier). January to April 2008 might be ideal as a starting date, but earlier or later is quite possible.

I’m looking for a mutually-beneficial situation, which could be part time, could be full time, could be based on sponsorship of current writing and possible expansion to new areas, could be contract or consulting. I’m open to an exclusive working relationship–but also to more piecemeal possibilities.

Writing is important to me–but so is sensemaking, at the heart of what I’ve done at work and professionally for a few decades. I find numbers interesting (particularly exposing weaknesses in statistical assertions and finding the numbers that make most sense for an organization) and understand them well. I’ve been analyzing, synthesizing, designing (sometimes programming) and communicating throughout my career. I’m interested in the whole range of issues surrounding the intersections of libraries, policy, media and technology, and have demonstrated my effectiveness as a writer and speaker in those areas.

You can get a good sense of what I’ve published here, including my 15 (to date) books and many of the 400+ articles and columns.

I would certainly consider a short-term (say two to four years) situation–but if you have something that makes sense for both of us for a longer term, I have no set retirement date.

If I had to name an ideal, it would probably be roughly two-thirds time with benefits (or full time if Cites & Insights was considered part of the job. But that’s an ideal; an excellent situation could be much more part time.

OCLC aquired RLG a while back and merged RLG into OCLC; it's quite common when such things happen for a certain number of positions to become, as the euphemism goes, redundant. In other words, they just didn't need as many people doing Walt's job in the new organization as the two separate organizations. And it's usually the acquired people that get the boot; that's just the way it is.

I'm not going to quibble with the fact that OCLC may have felt they needed fewer senior analysts or whether Walt should have been one of the ones to walk the plank. I truly believe that someone with his obvious talent for writing, his committment to our common profession, to libraries and librarians, his vision for institutions that can balance change and continuity and most of all, his plain good sense, that someone like that should have a place in any forward-looking organization. Surely Walt could have played a vital role in communications, in long-range planning, in product development, even as a spokesperson, any of a hundred roles where his talents could be exploited.

But I would like to end on a positive note and wish Walt all the best in the future, that the door being closed by OCLC is just the precursor to another, more exciting one opening somewhere else. Oh yeah, and I think I speak for many when I say that I sincerely hope that C&I and other book projects will continue.