some heroes

One of the most fascinating things about watching this meme, conceived by Walt and begun by Dorothea, has been seeing not only what blogs people highlight but also reading about what criteria they used to select them. The people below all do something blog-like, and they also all do some good in the world. In some cases, that good is manifest in the content of their RSS feed; in others the blog serves more as a chronicle. In all cases, they are people whose works I admire greatly.

Deb, blogging at REAL PUBLIC LIBRARIAN. I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about Deb, particularly in YA circles (of course, I’m kind of disconnected from YA circles at the moment, so perhaps they are all feasting on her wisdom and I’m just unware of it–all apologies if this is so). John Gehner, who will show up on this list in just a bit, writes frequently about social exclusion and the devastating effects it has on the poor and homeless. Deb works with youth within a similar framework. Check out this classic post on different kinds of youth and different kinds of youth spaces in libraries and this more recent one about the role of libraries in community development.

Michael McGrorty, blogging at Library Dust. If you’ve ever met Michael or gotten some correspondence from him, you know how charming he is. If you read his blog, you also learn that he’s smart and witty. And, in the course of doing some investigative blogging, he wrote one of the best tributes to the labor movement that I have ever read.

Jenna Freedman, blogging, answering questions, rabble-rousing, and inspring awe at Radical Reference. Some day Jenna and I are going to switch lives for a couple of months so that she can experience life in a town without stoplights and I can impersonate a Lower East Side librarian. In the meantime, I just admire her from afar.

Shinjoung Yeo, both people named James Jacobs, and assorted guests blogging at Free Government Information. You’d think everyone would be out to save free government information. These people do their best in a sadly uncrowded field.

David Bigwood, blogging at Catalogablog. Catalogablog is one of my all-time favorite blog names. It’s one of the first blogs I ever subscribed to, I think because Jessamyn linked to it, and though I rarely understand what it’s about, I admire the heck out of David Bigwood for keeping the world so up-to-date on the shadowy world of cataloging. (Cataloging itself isn’t inherently shadowy; there’s just something about the subject that lends itself to the adjective–all those tech services people hidden away in the back room, crouched over their machines.) Also, I’m still honored that he left a comment on my post about OPACs and children’s materials.

John Gehner, posting at the website of the Homelessness, Hunger, and Poverty Task Force. HHPTF is a subset of a subset of ALA. John revived it from the ashes a few years ago pretty much single-handedly. He has put together killer lists of resources and organizations, and he has consistently drawn out the best thinking about libraries, homelessness, and poverty going on today and compiled it for you all in one place, with an RSS feed.

There are many more heroes out there. These are just some of mine.