April 09, 2015

Fare Thee Well and thank-you NSRC, RC, NSRT

Back in February I said I needed to reflect on the close of the grant-funded project I worked on for thirteen years. But life and work have a way of pressing on, and making reflection a priority seems to be difficult for me.

But now we are moving offices. Those thirteen years of files and resources must be discarded in preparation for the move. I should be just tossing them into the recycling pile without a glance but I can't. I'm looking at some of them, and this is what I see:

We built a first-class, multi-channel mechanism that evolved over the years to deliver amazing training and technical assistance to grantees of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

At times we grew to a staff of fourteen covering many different projects - from printed newsletters, a quaint snail mail lending library, and phone TA in the first year (1996 or '97?), to that plus listservs and a static HTML website in the ensuing years, to face-to-face trainings in the early 2000s, to multiple robust, information-rich websites, online learning systems, and online community forums in the later years.

Over the years we collected user feedback, unsolicited kudos, and usage statistics that paint a story of a very satisfied "customer" base. So it's hard, I guess, to admit that it's all gone. When an RSVP program wants to plan in-service training and gather resources for it, where do they turn now? Where do the robust discussions about frustrations with the eGrants system or the relative merit of social media for a small grantee take place now?

I can resort to the cliche: this project gave me even more than I gave it. With it, I was able to:
  • Practice special librarianship right out of school
  • Practice delivering hands-on tech training, conference sessions, and webinars on a variety of topics
  • Build my information architecture, taxonomy, and usability chops on meaty real-life projects with a great mission and realistic timelines and budgets.
  • Learn a lot about Drupal
  • Learn all about, and implement, online community building practices

So, thank-you for everything, and farewell.

(I wrote the above long ago, but for some reason never published - wasn't sure if I had said all I needed to say, I guess.)

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