I attended the Celebration of Fred Kilgour's Life yesterday here at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Seattle. I arrived at OCLC some 22 years ago when Fred was still in residence. Though he had retired three years previously, Fred was very much a force to be reckoned with as Emeritis CEO (and would so remain for many years to come). The affectionate send off in this presentation reprised the eventful career of perhaps the most influential librarian of the past century. What the testimonials did not capture entirely accurately, truth be known, is Fred's impatience with inaction, or the excuses so often associated therewith.
But Fred's own words, in a video clip from a presentation to an OCLC audience, observed (I paraphrase):
Some of you here have had ideas about how to make information more accessible to people, and many of those ideas have not come to pass. In some cases this is because you have not done enough to make them happen.
It has been some years since I had seen Fred speak, but I recognize a scolding when I see one, and it is a familiar and appropriate tone--never more than now. I confess I found myself thinking of ideas I've had that I haven't (yet) worked hard enough to bring to pass. This is about the last take-away I imagined coming from this meeting. Perhaps it will have been the most important.
Image: The Sculpture Park in Seattle opened this weekend. My friend Lisa Kelly suggested in our stroll there early this morning that it may well be the new heart and soul of Seattle -- the first place every visitor should see. It is very much still aborning, but I think Lisa may be right.
Other of my photos of the scupture park and ALA can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/weibel-lines/sets/