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10 years ago today, I started this blog.

I know, right? It doesn’t seem that long ago…

I never thought that Librarian in Black would be active a decade and more than 4,500 posts later.

10 years in Internet time is forever. 10 years ago:

  • I was only two years out of library school and had long blonde hair (OMG)
  • Friendster was the bomb
  • MySpace was just starting to be popular
  • Facebook and Twitter did not exist
  • The human genome project was completed
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as California’s governor
  • SARS was scaring  everyone
  • The U.S. invasion of Iraq had just started
  • The Columbia shuttle broke up in the atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard
  • iTunes had just launched

What a difference a decade makes! It has been my privilege to write and discuss library, technology, information freedom, and education issues on this blog for a decade.

My very first post was an introduction to the site, and I am happy to see that I used the word “rawr” :)  The site looked different back then and was run on Typepad (it’s on WordPress now).  Here’s the first snapshot the Wayback Machine took of my site, in January 2004–a mere 5 days after I started the blog.  I was writing multiple posts most days, and the posts were brief, only nominally longer than Tweets are today.  I focused on digital information resources, reference, tech tools, hardware, software, and freedom of information and privacy.  I said things then that seem a mite silly now, displaced by time and context–including that I was happy Amazon was finally turning a profit (I know, I know…I deserve a boot to the head for that one).

My blog today is very different.  I write less about technology and more about bigger picture library issues, including administration and management, as that’s how I spend my days now.  I write fewer, but longer, pieces. All the short posts from yesteryear have migrated to Tweets and Facebook posts now.  I reserve blogging for the important, long form discussions.

I’m not writing as often, not by a long shot.  My average was 61 posts per month in 2004 and in 2013 my average is 2 posts per month. Part of the reason is that I can’t write about much of what I do in my daily work now due to confidentiality, good taste, prudence, and respect.  I would love to write about progressive discipline, coaching employees, facilities emergencies, presenting to City Council, dealing with other city departments, being “politic” without bullshitting anyone, banning patrons, and a host of other things that fill my days.  But I can’t. Another contributing factor to the dearth of posts is that I work longer hours than I did 10 years ago and am desperately seeking a healthier work-life balance, which means not reading and writing an additional 2-3 hours a day to keep this blog populated with multiple daily posts.

Now, some numbers:

  • Depending on the tools you use and how you count, I have something like 40,000 blog subscribers through RSS and email.
  • I’ve had over 5 million page views on the site during its 10 years of existence.
  • My post with the most comments? 1,975 comments on Eragon gets a script-writer,” posted on February 19, 2004. The post inexplicably turned into a weird message board of sorts for fans of the book. I had to moderate some pre-teen behavior a few times.
  • My post with the most traffic? “Hello, my name is Sarah and I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.” This post consistently gets 500 views a month.  There was, and still is to some extent, a lack of people discussing health issues publicly online. Sure, there are private support group bulletin boards and Facebook pages, but open posts are rare.  Add to that a relatively rare condition, and bam…my posts on EDS have become something many newly diagnosed people find first online.  They ask for help and I happily give whatever advice and pointers I can.

What is my most controversial post? I can’t pick just one! The ones that get the most attention seem to be the ones where I’m mad about something, which has led me to believe two things: me being mad = good writing, plus people just like controversy.

Here are the top twelve posts from the last decade, based on views, comments, emails and other messages about how awful/awesome I am:

  1. Unethical Library Vendors: A Call to Arms for Libraries to Fight Back
  2. Why internet filters don’t work and why libraries who filter are wrong
  3. Library eBook Revolution, Begin
  4. The eBook User’s Bill of Rights
  5. Just say no to Freegal
  6. Libraries Got Screwed by Amazon and Overdrive
  7. The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis
  8. OverDrive Has Different eBook Catalogs for Different Libraries
  9. Notice to publishers: curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal
  10. I’m breaking up with eBooks (and you can too)
  11. All Your Data Are Belong To You: TSA, DHS, devices, and your rights
  12. Wear What You Want: Dressing to Lead in Libraries

I want to give a big shout out to a few people who hugely impacted my writing and this blog.  Michael Stephens and Aaron Schmidt are the ones who inspired me to write a blog in the first place.  Cris Miranda needs some major props for the current site’s design (which is still frigging amazing–kitties!).  And Blake Carver of LIShost has been hosting this bad boy for a long time now and doing a damn fine job of it too.

And finally, thanks to all of my readers out there, some of whom have been with me for the entire decade.  Your response continues to be humbling and awe-inspiring.  Here’s to another ten years!

“10 Year Blog Anniversary of Librarian in Black”

  1. Kristi Says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    It’s been terrific to follow (and finally meet) you. I hope that one of these days we can do a face to face discussion of all those admin topics. :)

    Another ten years! *raises glass*

  2. The Rodent Says:

    Congratulations, and welcome to “old age” (Internet style). I love your blog, and hope you continue another 10 years…!

  3. Tasha Says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! Library blogs wouldn’t be the same without your voice in them. I’d love it if you found a way to discuss admin topics. My posts tend to stay vague and even then I have staff asking if it was meant as a comment about what is actively happening at our library rather than libraries in general.

  4. Katie D. Says:

    Considering I’ve been reading you since pretty much day 1, happy anniversary!!

  5. Abigail Says:

    Congratulations!! 10 years already, how time has flown…

  6. Annie Says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    Cheers to another decade or two!!!

    @

  7. Colleen Says:

    Congratulations, Sarah! Holy cow! I always thought you were an amazing super heroine librarian in our community, but having EDS and doing all that you do makes you way beyond super star status in my book. You are right up there with the late Christopher Reeve, who is still one of my favorite writers and shining stars in the world of genetics and disabilities. I marvel at you and thank you for the work and commitment to education you share with us. God bless, and may your days be less painful knowing that you are loved in our community and Twittersphere. Happy 2014 to you, and Congratulations on 10 years of powerful blogging.

  8. Short Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, December 31, 2013 | ResearchBuzz Says:

    […] Happy 10th Blogiversary to Librarian in Black! […]

  9. Meredith Says:

    Happy anniversary!!! I’ll be hitting mine next November, which seems almost unbelievable. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you virtually and in-person over the past decade; you’re an amazing woman and a kick-ass librarian.

  10. Ryan Says:

    Happy 10th anniversary! One of the first professional blogs I read and helped me explore avenues in the profession I had never thought of. Here’s to 10 more years and the guidance and information it will bring to thousands to come!

  11. Magwa Says:

    Congratulations Sarah! I have been a loyal reader since you began. I am looking forward to more controversies and inspirations for the next 10 years!

  12. Tatiana Says:

    Happy anniversary! I discovered your interesting blog only today but I would give you my compliments.

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