She never forgot it was ours

There’s a mind-boggling amount of publicly funded information out there — much of it useful, and most of it collected, organized, and made available by our government and its corps of dedicated information professionals. Yet most people don’t even stop to think about it, let Public-Knowledgealone take advantage.

An opportunity to work with the late Miriam “Mimi” Drake and her co-editor Don Hawkins on Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits brought the topic home. This is a timely and useful new book that, among other things, reminds us that all this information is ours. I could say more about the book but I’d rather use this space to talk about Mimi. She was a special person who disarmed me, memorably, with kindness, curiosity, and laughter the first time we met.

Within days of receiving the worst news a person can get, Mimi called to calmly explain the situation and express her determination that the book would be published with or without her. Her commitment and vision was an inspiration to me and Don Hawkins, to whom we (smartly) turned in our hour of need. Public Knowledge reflects Mimi’s lifelong passion for connecting people with information and I feel honored to have helped get it done.

It’s a shame Mimi did not live to see the book published, but I’m grateful we have it to remember her by. She was the best.

About John Bryans

John B. Bryans is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the book publishing divisions of Information Today, Inc. (ITI) and its sister company, Plexus Publishing, Inc. Since 1979 John has worked in book publishing as an editor, book packager, and publisher. He began his career in the world of New York mass-market publishing, specializing in historical fiction and popular nonfiction before moving into technology publishing in the late 1980s. In 1995, at Online Inc., he launched CyberAge Books—a popular line of titles for online searchers, librarians, and business information professionals. In 1998 ITI acquired CyberAge Books and John joined the ITI staff on the edge of the Pine Barrens in rural southern New Jersey. Currently, he acquires and edits books and ebooks in diverse genres including library and information science and technology, cyberculture, education and careers in the information professions, educational technology, knowledge management, networking and customer engagement, indexing, and clinical research, and—regionally for southern New Jersey—mystery and suspense, history, nature and the environment. In 2001 he acquired and published Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson, which inspired an Emmy-winning dramatic series on HBO and became the publisher's first New York Times bestseller.