This project has been in the formation stages for many years and as a result has been shaped by many people. Many of those people have agreed to participate in this publication in one form or another (I hope they will add to the conversation either on this site or through other vehicles). These are extraordinary people and I am honoured to call them friends and colleagues.
A few people and groups deserve special thanks.
To Sally Grande for introducing me to Preface to Plato, for encouraging me to think more deeply about the alphabet, and for seeding an obsession (and a friendship) that has lasted for many years.
To the students of Beyond Literacy at the University of Guelph, a course I taught to undergraduates from 2004 to 2011 as part of the First Year Seminar program. These students were inspirational and some of my toughest critics.
To the many professional organizations, universities, libraries, and groups who allowed me to speak about these ideas at their conferences and meetings: Association of College and Research Libraries, Canadian Association for Information Science, Ontario Library Association, EDUCAUSE, Canadian University Council of CIOs, TEDxGuelphU, Cafe Philosophique (College of Arts, University of Guelph), Librarians’ Association of the University of Waterloo, McLuhan Café at Robert McLaughlin Gallery, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, Saskatchewan Library Association, Manitoba Library Association, and Oshawa Public Library.
To Maureen Mancuso, Alastair Summerlee, and Iain Campbell (my “bosses” at the University of Guelph over the past 16 years) who provided extraordinary leadership, inspiration, and encouragement.
To my many colleagues at the University of Guelph, too numerous to name, but to a person the finest and most supportive people I could ever hope to work with.
To Dean Seamus Ross and Wendy Newman of the iSchool, University of Toronto for encouraging me to teach the Beyond Literacy course (while recognizing what a crazy idea this really is).
To Kathryn Deiss (Content Strategist) and David Free (Marketing and Communications Specialist) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and Shelagh Paterson (Executive Director) and Carla Wintersgill (Marketing and Communications Coordinator) of the Ontario Library Association (OLA). Kathryn and Shelagh agreed to take a risk and co-publish this experiment; David and Carla provided wonderful assistance and advice. I am grateful to all of them, and to ACRL and OLA for their support and encouragement.
To Klaus Banse (JanKelly Marketing), Joe (Moonworks) and Doug Horne (Guelph) for their technical help and expertise. And special thanks to Rob Berquist (ALA) for some last minute heroics.
And finally to my wife Lynn and our children Jane and Sarah. Their love, support, and warped sense of humour have been boundless sources of encouragement.