I’ve long been a fan of “book blogs,” whether they were written by publishers, editors, librarians or just simple readers like myself. Book people are some of my favorite people, and over the years, I’ve taken up following various librarians on Twitter as well (though their blogs probably wouldn’t be considered “professional”).
And so, this exercise was an natural extension of what I’m already doing. I began following Annoyed Librarian, who now writes a blog on the Library Journal website, and The Travelin’ Librarian, written by a technology innovation librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
By far, my favorite is Annoyed Librarian, who describes herself as “possibly the most successful, respected, and desirable librarian of her generation.” The tagline for her blog is “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It,” and it shows. She brings a highly contrarian perspective to the librarian blogging game, though she blogs quite frequently and on timely and important topics in the library industry. Recent blog posts include a report on the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, a rant about “hipster librarians” and a discussion of the Highland Park High School library here in Metro Detroit, where school officials recently tossed thousands of books on African American history.
Though a little too snarky at times, I do enjoy reading the Annoyed Librarian because she keeps well abreast of current events in the library world and facilitates a lively and healthy discussion of these topics in the comment section. Librarians from all over read the Annoyed Librarian, and many times, the discussion is just as educational and informative as the blog post itself.
Of course, I also became a little annnoyed – at the Annoyed Librarian, that is. It can be refreshing to read bloggers that bring a certain level of down-to-earth realism to an industry, exposing its fallacies and stripping down high-minded philosophies into what it really means for working librarians. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she’s funny and entertaining to read. Still, I found her tirades against Masters programs in library and information science at a little …. small-minded? The Annoyed Librarian has some kind of issue with new library school graduates and their apparent inability to cope with the professional world. For some reason, we’re all young, naive and want to “change the world”, though we’re not exactly sure how we want to do that. Well of course, that’s what graduate school is for – it’s a place where you’re allowed to be young (let’s not discuss the job prospects for 22-year-olds graduating from college because they’re depressing), naive and idealistic. It is school, after all. But that, I’m afraid, is a discussion for another time.
The other blog I’m following is The Travelin’ Librarian, written by Michael Sauers from Lincoln, Nebraska. The Travelin’ Librarian is more of a personal blog for Sauers in a lot of ways; alongside posts on library issues are briefs about Dr. Who and quirky news bits like “Life-size gorilla sculpture dressed as Freddie Mercury removed from city centre display in bizarre copyright row with Aids charity.”
But what I like about Sauers’ blog is that he’s a technology expert and the issues he discusses on his Tumblr-like blog is a reflection of that. He brings together pressing tech issues, including controversial Twitter ads, why Google killed its RSS reader, as well as “Tuesday Tech Tips”, like how to find links on Firefox (so useful!). As someone looking to study digital librarianship further, these are subjects that I want, and need, to know about.
My only beef with The Travelin’ Librarian is that his blog is too much like Tumblr. Some of the most interesting posts are simply excerpts from other articles elsewhere and links. Very rarely will you get Sauers’ commentary on these issues. But then, that is the nature of Tumblr and blogging nowadays – so many bloggers are moving away from in-depth, researched pieces in favor of quick “micro-blogging”, whether that’s in the form of Twitter, Tumblr or some other iteration. It makes The Travelin’ Librarian easy to read, but does not foster much discussion.
As a side note, I do want to give a quick mention to one of my favorite, “non-professional” librarian blogs out there, Bookavore. The author is a former bookstore manager and now works in readers advisory at a public library while also earning her MLIS. She’s funny and writes fascinating commentaries on libraries, technology, bookselling and the book industry as a whole.