February 17, 2018

Blake Carver | Movers & Shakers 2002

Building an Online Community

An instinct for bringing people together

Half-techie, half-librarian, Blake Carver has long been a fan of Slashdot, the snarky online community and free-for-all where young computer wizards toss out ideas and news stories, comment on them, and argue with each other.

The few librarian blogs that existed back in 1999 when Carver first got involved weren’t really like that. They were one-person shows, not communities, and Carver wanted to hear what other people had to say–all, he already knew what he thought. So he started LISNews, where every day he and his contributors respond to other people’s items and post their own news about libraries (the breastfeeding-in-the-library controversy, the fortune found in the library book…), outrages (Washington State Library to close…), censorship and other court battles (CIPA, the right to hyperlink…), interesting web sites (the librarians’ guide to feline law…), and such.


Current position: Assistant Professor and Web Librarian, Ohio State University, Columbus

Degree: MLIS, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 1997

Web sites: LISNews.com,

LISNews has become a thriving online community that is visited by 1000 people or more each day; another 1200 librarians subscribe to the mailing list.

Carver finds librarianship just as challenging (if not as lucrative) as the work he’s done for a dot-com start-up, especially now, when librarians are forced to adjust to ever more rapid change. He is continuously updating his knowledge of coding, programs, and operating systems and redesigning his web pages accordingly.

So what is Carver really, librarian or techie? Librarian, because his technical skills always seem to serve his librarian’s instinct to share what he knows, preserve what matters, and bring people together. You can see this in yet another of his sites, BuffaloStories.com. It is another community, where townspeople can share their memories and, together, create a composite story of Buffalo itself, Carver’s home town.