Jim didn't want a traditional retirement party. "Too many greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention unwanted calories," he said. So instead we are having a Virtual Retirement Party - carbon neutral and heart healthy!

To celebrate, Jim wants all his colleagues and associates to post a good wish, photo or a memory to this blog. You can even ask Jim a question. Jim will reply to every post! (Jim will be the only person able to comment on messages after they are posted).

And while you're at it, Jim hopes you will consider a donation in his honor to his favorite charity, our own Talking Book and Braille Services.

Please submit your message before Jim retires on December 30, 2011. Include your name at the end of your message.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Adventures with Jim

Oh, Jim....

First, I've gotta congratulate you on both your impressive legacy to libraries and your new freedom to pursue all those avocations and interests I know you have bubbling in the lab of your ever-curious mind.

I will always look happily on our Mad Scientist adventures in shared services and imagining the future, none of which would have happened without your belief that a better idea is always out there for anyone to discover. I'm as proud of the continued success of Plinkit and (the re-renamed) Answerland reference service as any Edison with a lightbulb. But there were plenty of people in his lab, trying everything and making it better, bit by bit, like Darci, Caleb, and all the talented library staff who give their brains and heart to Plinkit, Answerland, and so many other leaps of faith you have supported through the state library over the years. And the true secret of Edison's success was paying attention to the whole system of distribution and use, not just the lightbulb. That was your particular genius, Jim. You believed in the power of doing this work together, trying things, sharing what we learned. So we are all richer and better for it.

It was like old home week when you asked me to help COSLA imagine and choose possible futures for public libraries as eBooks become mainstream. You wanted libraries to meet the future with confidence, not in fear, as always. The productive conversations and thought among library leadership, triggered by our eBook study and scenarios, amazed and gratified me, though you didn't seem at all surprised by that reaction. The work we did together for COSLA is some of my favorite stuff and ranks among the best times I've had serving libraries. Sure, there was that trip to Colorado to present Plinkit to BCR (now LYRASIS), the two of us brilliant Oregonians fumbling to figure out how to use a gas pump for the rental car. And presentations for Virtual Reference Desk, OLA, and Oregon library directors to garner support for Answerland and Plinkit. But it was lovely to take a trip back to libraries after being gone so long and rediscover those sharp-minded, revolutionary souls who passionately care whether people truly retain their full right to be informed, culturally connected citizens of this democracy. I know you care, too.

Thanks for all the adventures, Jim. I've been lucky to find great champions like you in my career, and I promise to give that same leg up to others, whenever I can. Stay cool, man.

Eva Miller

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Long Goodbye

I’ve been thinking about this blog posting for months now and I am at a loss for words, as hard as that may be to believe. We have worked together for 16 years and I could probably go on for pages but I think I will make it short and to the point. Thank you for everything, you have been a wonderful (though sometimes annoying) boss and an incredible colleague. I will be in touch, trust me.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the Road Again!


It has been my pleasure and honor to work for you these past 11 years as your administrative assistant and the volunteer program coordinator. I have had the opportunity to participate in Board meetings and see how much impact your passion for library service has been a benefit for Oregon. Over the years I have learned much from your P.S. from the State Librarian articles in the LTLO...and especially like your book reviews at the end of the year. Our trips to Board meetings in places around Oregon were filled with interesting conversations and restaurant critiques for good eating on the road. Thank you for sharing stories of your many interesting travels in your life. I look forward to hearing about your future adventures and I hope there will be many!

We will miss you at the library and look forward to up-dates of your travels...maybe an article - P.S. from Citizen Jim?

--Robin Speer

Friday, December 30, 2011

Smart and savvy...yes, but such a nice guy, too

Dear Jim,
Thank you for your sterling service to Oregon's libraries and their supporters. It's been an honor and a pleasure to know you as the State Librarian and to observe the warmth and wisdom that you gracefully demonstrate in guiding and leading those of us who need to learn what you already know. Congratulations and best wishes on an adventurous and happy retirement. Richard's absolutely right, you will be missed, and I shall miss you every single time I have a library question that Multnomah County cannot answer!
Susan Hathaway-Marxer

Happy Retirement!


The time has come for me to wish you well on your next journey. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to have worked under your leadership at the State Library. I can hear your footsteps now, as they slowly stop at my door, your head peeks in, and eyes glimmering with thoughts, ideas, and one request … Diane, do you have a minute? All I can think of is … Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into now. As always, yes, always, your thoughts and ideas shed a different light on things, lead us on a brighter path, and of course more work for me (tee hee). I will definitely miss those times and you too.

Thank you Jim for your many contributions that transformed this agency, and your drive and commitment for the library field that shows in libraries after libraries throughout Oregon. Job well done!

Wishing you the best,
Diane Ballard, HR Manager
Oregon State Library

praise and more praise

Dear Jim,
Today, I believe, is your last official day as our State Librarian.
You will always be Oregon's State Librarian Emeritus to me.
For years you've been sending the word out to our library system about
the annual January William Stafford Birthday Celebrations I organize.
Because of your efforts, libraries all over this state have joined in.
For the past year and a half, you've supported my efforts to bring
poetry to Oregon libraries large and small, from Rockaway to Baker
City, from Christmas Valley to Hermiston. A Poet Laureate couldn't
ask for a better partner!
This past year you helped me support Tavern Books' Community Project,
which intends to place a poetry collection in any small rural or
tribal library that requests one. Thanks to your help, Tavern Books
is delivering those collections to grateful librarians.
For years and years, you've been the leader and defender of our Oregon
library system. Our libraries. I've been privileged to visit many of
them, and each time I walk into an Oregon library, I'm struck by the
role it plays in its community. Our libraries are the hubs of their
On February 15th, at the event honoring you at Portland's Central
Library, I'll be in the front row cheering. And I'll be only one of
Thank you, Jim. I thank you for all the Oregonians who benefit from
their public libraries. I thank you for Dylan and Elena, my
grandchildren who haunt the Hollywood Library in their NE Portland
neighborhood. I thank you for every Oregon library fan.
With admiration,

You will be missed!

Hi Jim,
I always find myself waiting until the last minute to say good-bye to people I really care about.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you as a member of the Library Board.  You taught me a great deal by example as well as by sharing so much good information to help me do my job on the board.  Your dedication to accessibility made a huge difference for me.  I am extremely sad to see you go, but at the same time, I hope you have a marvelous time in retirement!  I will always think of you when a new piece of technology comes out.
Warmest Regards,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thanks for your support

Dear Jim,
I want to thank you for your vision and support of the Horner Exchange Program with Fujian, our sister province in China.  The program is one of only two exchange programs in the country run by a state library association.  The program has changed, and improved, under your guidance, providing opportunities for Oregon librarians to engage in international library activities – whether being part of the traveling delegation to Fujian or hosting guests at our libraries here.  Your dedication to  the exchange helped it to evolve from a single Oregonian visiting China every other year to 3 librarians visiting every 3 years, with additional funding from the state library and overall management provided by the OLA IRRT.  I was most impressed by the description this past summer, during the visit of Chinese library directors, of the many ways in which the exchanges and other related activities have influenced libraries in Fujian.  Your work as state librarian has extended around the globe.
I wish you many good wishes in retirement, good health to enjoy yourself, and best of luck in all that you pursue in the future.
Richard Sapon-White
Oregon State University Libraries
Horner Exchange Coordinator
International Relations Round Table
Oregon Library Association

Thanks for Your Confidence & Soup

My main thanks is for the confidence you extended when you and Gail absolutely insisted I was capable of chairing the 2006 Oregon Library Association conference. At first I was horrified at the thought of heading such a major event for Oregon libraries but at Gail's insistence I gradually accepted the idea and was gratified that it became the highest grossing conference to that date. The confidence I gained, along with the networking opportunities I garnered, set me up to become the chair of the Public Library Division, something I would have never even considered BC (Before Conference).
And a hearty congratulations on your retirement. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as my husband does and I'm sure you will be catering to Ann's every need.
And for the soup, well, I hear you will be doing a lot of mushroom hunting and the soup Ann shared with library folks was divine so I'm looking forward to more being cooked.
Take care and best of luck.
Robin Beerbower

Your retirement

I can’t believe that you are really going to retire.  It is clear that you will be missed by many folks in the field of library services, both in Oregon and nationally.  Personally, I have two distinct sets of memories to share with you. 

The first set was the great help you provided to the newly-elected (& first-ever) board of directors of the then newly-created Lincoln County Library District back in 1989.  Your advice was invaluable to us as we began to figure out how to establish library services for residents in areas of the county which had no ‘free’ service. 

My second set of memories relates to the help and encouragement you and your staff provided when I took on the creation of the “Handbook for Trustees of Oregon Public Libraries” in 1998 and again in 2005. 

I arrived in Oregon about 15 years ahead of your arrival in 1986, so I knew several earlier State Librarians.  I have no hesitation in saying that you have been the best.  -  Ruthanne Lidman