Anyone can start a blog, yet those who have know that keeping and maintaining a blog is difficult and requires serious amounts of time and work. There is a distinct difference between a library blog and a librarian blog. To help understand the difference, Katy Greenland provides a definition:
Librarian blogs…are produced by individuals working in the LIS profession who blog about their work and other topics. The audience tends to be peers within the LIS profession, rather than library users. The librarian blogs of interest in this review are generally personal and conducted outside of work hours. They are an important communication channel for the profession that allows for the creation of networks and collaborations to emerge between peers. (Greenland as cited in Luzo´n 2008)
Therefore, in this context, “professional bloggers” are professionals (i.e. librarians) who blog about topics within their profession to an audience generally composed of other professionals. Understanding that a professional blogger is a professional blogging about a profession, opposed to someone who has made a profession of blogging (although that is sometimes the case), helps readers gain a better contextual idea of the authors behind the proliferating blogosphere.
Through Feedly, an RSS feed, I followed Steven Cohen’s blog, “Library Stuff” (www.librarystuff.net), subtitled, “The library weblog dedicated to resources for keeping current and professional development.” Cohen organized the topics of his posts within a specific tagging system. He wrote about topics related to academic libraries, ALA, amazon.com, archives, banned books, budgets, censorship, copyright, digital libraries, ebooks, facebook, filtering, flickr, Google, government, Internet, Kindle, lawsuits, research, news, public libraries, school libraries, search tools, and even Harry Potter. I greatly appreciated the way Cohen setup his blog. To me, it was a very sustainable means to keep up to date on the goings-on of the library world. Instead of writing lengthy posts on various related topics, Cohen simply inserted key quotations from news reports or articles from other sites and inserted a link to follow to these news articles. In this way, readers could read the gist of the article, and if they were thoroughly intrigued, could click on the link to finish the entire article from start to finish. If I were to start a librarian blog, I think this method would be beneficial both to myself and others. Keeping a blog of updated library news would motivate me to stay in touch, and also provide a means to share what I find with other readers.
I also followed Jessamyn West on Librarian.net (www.librarian.net), subtitled “putting the rarin back in librarian since 1999.” West explains, “librarian.net is my weblog and it has been going since April 20, 1999. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first single-editor library-oriented weblog.” West’s blog follows what is now probably considered the traditional librarian blogging method. She finds a relevant topic and writes about it. While this is a good practice for a professional librarian, it is also time consuming and demands a large amount of commitment and self-discipline. However, West seems to be going strong. She posts about one post a month centered on a specific topic. Her most recent post was “professional news and thank yous,” where she explains her recently busy life and involvement with ALA, MLA, and recent writing projects.
Through this assignment, and also through the process of maintaining my own professional blog, I learned that librarian blogs demand attention. Starting a blog is simple, but in order for it to be a success it must serve a specific purpose for a large group of people; otherwise, it will become yet another failed attempt. Getting involved in a network of blogs can help keep the spark alive and serve as an encouraging support system.
Greenland, K. (2013). Negotiating Self-presentation, Identity, Ethics, Readership and Privacy in the LIS Blogosphere: A Review of the Literature. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 44 (4), 217–225. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00048623.2013.843236