This morning when I saw Karen’s post that John Iliff had passed away, my first thought was “it has to be some other John Iliff.” The John Iliff I know is too full of energy and enthusiasm to die. John Iliff and I exchanged several e-mails last week. John Iliff was just at NJLA. We were going to do a podcast together this month. And then I looked at the PALINET page and realized it was true. I’m just in shock and crying for someone I didn’t know that well, but who really inspired me in the short time I knew him. I only knew John during the time I was planning HigherEd BlogCon, which was the past few months. But he really made an impression on me, because he was so full of enthusiasm. For someone of the baby-boomer generation, he had the same sense of excitement that most brand new idealistic techie librarians have. I was so thrilled to meet him and his wife at Computers in Libraries; he was just as enthusiastic in person as he seemed online. He was such a generous person, giving me constant encouragement and praise for what I was doing. Just the other day, he wrote in an e-mail “you are another of those wonderful librarians who makes my work so much fun,” and I was touched by that. But I didn’t tell him how much what he wrote meant to me. I hope he knew.
I learned from John that I should never tone down my enthusiasm for this profession and for technology; that I should never become jaded and give up being idealistic. We all shouldn’t. Whether we have been in the profession a matter of months or 30 years, there is no reason why we can’t all keep that same passion that led us into the field in the first place. John’s enthusiasm was inspiring and it is something I will never forget, even on days when I don’t quite love my job.
My sincerest condolences go out to his wife and the rest of his family. John really was one of “the good ones.”