A photo of Brian and Aimée smiling together.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Late last year, I reached the age where I became eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits. I decided at that point that I wanted to be able to spend time doing fun things with the family and travel during a time when my health was not a problem. My wife, Aimée, retired a couple of years ago, and she has been patiently waiting for me to join her. We have seen a goodly number of people who have worked longer years, and then had mobility or other health issues facing them by the time they retired. As such, during these last few weeks, I have been drawing to a close my time at Keystone.

When my career at Keystone started in August of 2004, I was unfamiliar with the programming language used here. I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, finding it fun to figure out how programming languages work. This set the stage for an enjoyable, new challenge.

The NLS Books on Tape program was not, however, unfamiliar territory. My father, Joe White, had retinitis pigmentosa, and his vision had regressed, several years prior to his passing in 2002, to the point where he was eligible for the program. He was a customer of the Louisiana State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and I had seen the tapes, floppy discs, green boxes, and the player when our family visited him and my mother at the house where I grew up. He often talked about how much he enjoyed listening to the books and magazines. He and my mother would comb through the TBT listings when they were sent, to pick out those titles he would be interested in hearing.

I’m a back-room kind of guy. I talk in geek-speak, and usually need real-people interpreters in order to effectively interact with customers. For that reason, you may not know me, even though I’ve been here a while. You may be more familiar with some of my favorite projects, in which I have played a major role, that are still around – Nightly (both the original, now termed “physical”, version and the more recent service queue fill version), Excel export, some accessibility improvements with browses and Supertabs, the Service Queue tab in the Patron module, and the PIMMS interface.

I won’t delve into the geekiness of all of the fun I had working on all of those (as well as others), but I would like to let you know that working on the nightly programs was a very personally rewarding experience. Though my Dad was no longer around, I still felt a personal connection to serving content to the patrons in the best way I could, because I approached the project as if my Dad were here to receive the results. (Louisiana is a KLAS customer; so, if he were still a patron, that would have been the case. How rewarding that would have been!)

There is one other project left for the end of this list. Along the way in my journey here, I have worked and reworked, and reworked again the series processing in KLAS. Aspects of series processing have gotten very complex over the years. In the latest KLAS release (7.7.65, currently in testing) is my last big project – taking into account when serving a patron a series involves a single title that appears in multiple series, or a single KLAS title that houses a compilation of multiple entries in a single series. It has been a fun challenge to end my time here. My sincere hope is that these updates serve you and the patrons well.

I have enjoyed working with the management and staff at Keystone. They have helped me grow over my time here, both technically and professionally. I have welcomed the times I have gotten to meet with you, the customers. It is both important and interesting to understand your work and how we software developers can best serve you. I appreciate your feedback, positive or negative, as it has always helped improve our process.

Thank you for all you do to serve this sector of the public. Your work is truly a valuable public service. I am genuinely honored to have played even a small part in it.

Peace and Good Fortune to you all!
Brian White


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