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Origin of LITA Drupal4Lib IG?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 6/14/12 (3:36pm)


So by accident I came upon what looks like LITA's official page for the Drupal4Lib Interest Group. Apparently how the group got started is a mystery to LITA since all they have under 'Origin' is this:

To contribute information about the history of this interest group, contact LITA's Web Coordinating Committee at

Now that's kind of strange! I mean all you have to do is go to LITA's own blog and there you'll find the following contemporary account:

Drupal4Lib BoF at ALA Anaheim [6/30/08]: First up on the agenda was setting up the Drupal IG, making sure we have enough signatures and asking for volunteers to serve as Chair and Co-Chair. For the first year, Leo Klein (i.e. me) graciously volunteered to serve as chair and Ian Chan as co-chair.

The name for the IG is 'Drupal4Lib' and our purpose is “to promote the use and understanding of the content management system, Drupal, by libraries and librarians”.

Well, at least they got the name of the IG right.

UPDATE (6/18/12): Well, that's nice. The LITA people added the following note as to the origin of the Drupal4Lib Interest Group:


The LITA Drupal4Lib Interest Group was formed during the 2008 ALA Annual Conference at a Drupal BoF (Birds of a Feather) meeting. The informal gathering consisted of about 20 librarians with varying experience with content management systems. Some participants attended the BoF to research content management systems, others came demonstrate their Drupal-powered library sites or personal projects. During the meeting, attendees collected signatures to set up the Drupal interest group. Leo Klein and Ian Chan volunteered to serve as co-chairs. The name ‘Drupal4Lib’ was choosen and the attendees decided the purpose of the group was, “to promote the use and understanding of the content management system, Drupal, by libraries and librarians.” During that conference, LITA also hosted the Pre-Conference, "Getting Started With Drupal."



by David Vess on Fri, 6/15/12 (3:14pm)

Hi Leo, thanks for the information. I just added an entry on the page about your great work on founding our Drupal4Lib IG.

In your post above you note: "Apparently how the group got started is a mystery to LITA . . . " The phrase, to LITA is striking to me.

I sympathize with you. I often had the same reaction to things about ALA groups. "I wish ALA would . . . x, y, or z." My perceptions have changed over the years.

LITA didn't forget about you--I did. Actually, I didn't know about you. As I was setting up all the new committee and interest group pages, I dropped that text in the "Origins" sections because it wouldn't render without something in it. I knew there would be interesting information about all these different groups. Ya proved me right.

This whole mad, Rube-Goldberg-like-thingy called ALA is powered by the energy of a few paid employees and many, many members/volunteers. We're all LITA/ALA/YALSA/ACRL/etc. -- new and veteran volunteer/members and staff. There aren't enough people behind the scenes to take care of all these moving parts. I WISH! Membership as to do a lot to keep it all rolling.

I understand from an email you sent to the LITA office that starting the Drupal4Lib IG took over a year because of lost paperwork. I'm sorry about that. I'll bet money another member volunteer (like me) was responsible for that outrageous goof.

Hopefully the new site will lessen the chances of things like that happening again. Hopefully members can find the people or groups they need easily. (I'm very interested in user experience. I'm not thrilled with our site, and I've worked on it for about 2 years. I think it's another step in the right direction though.)

Web coordinating committee still has plenty to do. We also have to deal with wonky pages in the publications section of the site.

Anyway, I'm very glad you spoke up. I'm REALLY glad I got the name of the group right! ;-)
david vess

For anyone mad enough to have read all this, you really should volunteer for a LITA committee. (I'm chair of LITA Web Coordinating Committee, ahem) Note that you have to be a member of ALA and a member of the groups you want to volunteer for.

by Leo Klein on Thu, 7/19/12 (11:11pm)


Thanks for the warmth and breath of your response!

The truth is I think ALA is an excellent professional organization -- even if I grouse about it every once and a while.