Blogging About Professional Blogs

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. 

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2 responses to “Blogging About Professional Blogs

  1. Welcome to the biblioblogosphere! I see you’ve started this for a class but I hope you’re willing to keep it up in the long run.

    Also, thanks for your comments about travelinlibrarian.info. The site has been around for a very long time and has gone through many stages. (Not including the two blogs that preceded it.) Ultimately, I post for my own enjoyment and if others get something out of it all the better.

    As to your pointing out that it is tumblr-esque I hadn’t thought about it that way but I’d say your right. This is the result of my reconsidering what I was doing with the blog a few months ago and a renewed effort to try to post things I want to share in a central location that’s under my control and an open platform, and then cross-post that info to closed, out of my control systems (like facebook and twitter) instead of just posting things on those third-party sites and hoping the service stays around and/or doesn’t cancel my account. (These concerns started with the then announced closing of Google Reader.)

    As a result, I’ve tended to post more curated content than original content as you’ve pointed out. I do still try to write my own content when ideas strike but that content does tend to end up more in my books than on the blog.

    Anyway, I don’t know if this was meant to convince you of anything but more just to explain where I’m coming from. Either way I hope you continue to be a reader and a blogger yourself.

    Good luck in your studies,
    Michael

    • Hi and thanks for commenting! Yes, this is a blog that I’m writing for one of my MLIS classes, however I’m happy to explore and discuss what other librarians are reading and writing about! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a Tumblr-esque blog; like I said, it’s the way things are going now on the blogosphere. I have another WordPress blog (www.paperbackfool.wordpress.com) and I actually feel a little outdated over there!

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