Blogging is an incredibly effective tool for libraries to engage with their community. As more and more people have access to mobile internet connections, having a library blog is a way to put information out to your public. As Isaac Gilman writes “Blogs’ true utility to libraries and librarians is found in the union of current content and communication—in the dialogue generated between fellow professionals and staffers, and the interaction fostered between library staff and patrons” (Gilman, 14). Originally called weblogs, these versatile websites are a part of the Web 2.0 technology that many libraries and library professionals are utilizing to disseminate information. One can be updating a library’s own blog, passing on information about various programs and materials available, or be creating one as a personal guide to help navigate through the profession.
Both Anne Weaver and Greg Schwartz, in their respective articles, give some great reasons for why you should blog.
- Blogs allow you to publish information quickly and efficiently.
- They allow for some more in-depth discussion of topics with your audience.
- By allowing quick updating abilities, blogs help you stay current
- Having a professional blog is a way to help set up a portfolio.
- Will help develop tech and communication skills.
- By using RSS feeds, one can follow many blogs at a time.
- Unlike LISTSERVs, blogs are open to the public, allowing you to connect to a wider audience.
With a blog, one can build a deeper connection with your community and audience by posting about current events, programming, materials in your collection, updates about your library. As a marketing tool, a blog can allow for links to existing social media such as a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and the library website. By using the blog format, you can offer your audience the chance to engage in discussion about topics, book reviews, staff recommendations, and whatever else may be posted. Gilman also states that “by utilizing a platform that is only increasing in popularity and visibility, library staff can share ideas with each other, collaborate on innovative new services, and further convince patrons of what we already know—libraries (and librarians) are relevant, current, accurate and authoritative” (Gilman, 27).
Here are some of a few blog examples from libraries to show you the range of possibilities that a blog can offer.
- The New York Public Library: Includes 41 different blogs. These are highlighting various collections that they offer. In their words “Our aim is to develop the blog into the latest in a long tradition of librarian-generated genres designed to publish staff expertise and help users navigate the library’s breathtaking array of collections and services” (nypl.org).
- The Chicago Public Library: Offering one blog, many of the posts relate to their collection. Whether it’s about a current event (like the upcoming airing of Game of Thrones), or various months, such as Autism Awareness or Women’s History, the Chicago Library includes materials they offer.
- The Boston Public Library: Their blog is about building renovations. This gives them a change to discuss their rationale behind the changes and show updates.
- The Detroit Public Library: They run two blogs on their website. One is about the programming that the teen H.Y.P.E Centre offers. This ranges from crafting to maker-faire to anime viewings. The other blog is a collection of papers from Coleman Young’s time in office and Mayor of Detroit.
- The Cork City Library: for some international flavour, the Cork Library runs a blog off the Tumblr platform. Many of their posts are about the music programs they run, reflecting the strong music interest the city in general has. Most posts are in English, but there are a few written in Gaelic.
As you can see a blog is not just a stand-in for a personal journal. It is a tool that can be used for many purposes as ways to build a relationship with your community. “Part of the magic of weblogs is the way they can be used to accomplish so many different things and cover so many diverse areas of life” (Schwartz, 2010). In this age where we are questioning the purpose of libraries, a blog is a great tool to help bring collections to people and bring people into our libraries.
Blog Channels. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.nypl.org/voices/blogs/blog-channels
Blogs. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.chipublib.org/blogs/
CORK CITY LIBRARIES BLOG. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://corkcitylibraries.tumblr.com/
DPL Blogs | Detroit Public Library. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.detroitpubliclibrary.org/blogs
Gilman, I. (2008). We’re Content Creators, Too: Libraries and Blogging. OLA Quarterly, 14(1), 14-16, 27.
Schwartz, G. (2012, March 1). Blogs for Libraries. Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.webjunction.org/documents/webjunction/Blogs_for_Libraries.html
Strategic Planning. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 1, 2015, from http://www.bpl.org/compass/
Weaver, A. (2010). Blogging – it’s a journey! Access, 24(1), 28-31. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/docview/219628976?accountid=14925