Bloggers from my future career: (public libraries)
Bloggers not from my future career: (academic libraries)
(Just a sidenote: I enjoyed each and every blogger, and would recommend them all!)
Jacob Berg might be my favorite blogger on this list. He’s the director of an academic library in Washington, D.C., and he blogs about libraries and beer (not that I would be interested in that…not at all), as the title suggests. He also blogs about other things, on occasion, (like going to concerts, for example) but his posts pretty much stay with his title. Throughout his posts, he discusses libraries’ places in the community and society at large. For example, he tackles issues like the future of libraries, the somewhat oppressive environments of libraries, and new librarianship. He also discusses leadership (as I mentioned, he’s the director). Furthermore, he talks about library science studies, and if you want some depressing reading, he’s got some great posts about how we might all be jobless because library schools are graduating too many of us. Berg is interesting to follow for a variety of reasons, but one is that he’s an academic librarian, and so he talks a lot about instruction both of students and faculty.
(He also likes to use a lot of reaction gifs, and as a huge proponent of that, it just made me like his blog just that much more.)
Jessica Olin is the director of a library of a liberal arts college in Delaware. She blogs to, as the title of her blog would suggest, new library science grads. She also blogs about her experiences as the newly minted director of the library. Jessica also has a lot of guest posts that discuss various topics. As an academic librarian, she blogs about unique problems of students (like textbook prices), how students navigate the library, and her relationships with faculty. Her guest posts often are authored by public librarians, so there’s a mix of both academic and public librarians on her blog (one of my favorite guest blog posts was Dear Soon-To-Be Public Youth Services Librarian).
She’s also friends with Jacob Berg, and so she mentions him a lot, which is cool because she obviously looks up to him and it’s obvious he’s kind of a librarian celeb in the world of academic librarianship.
Andy Woodworth is a New Jersey public librarian. He blogs about a variety of things (he doesn’t seem to have an overarching theme like most of the other bloggers), and like Berg, he looks at things in a more sort of bigger picture sort of way. For example, his most recent post (at the time of this writing) was on gender inequality in libraries (most librarians are women, but most published literature in library science is written by men). He also discusses the roles of libraries in the future (we were, apparently, going extinct in 1983), and why degrees for us future librarians are still really important. He’s a bit more upbeat about library grads’ future as librarians, mostly because he thinks it can be fixed.
Brian Herzog is a reference librarian at a public library in Massachusetts. A good majority of Brian’s blog are his “Reference Question of the Week” posts, which are pretty entertaining and generally illustrative of all the wacky situations you’ll encounter as a librarian. (Especially him, as a reference librarian.) Honestly, reading these every week has made me miss public libraries a lot. (Not to say that academic libraries don’t experience weird situations, but there’s just something about a public library…) His posts are generally pretty specific to his library (like the pros and cons of a public scanner), but the posts always have a wider context. He also often asks for his blog followers’ opinions on certain topics. His blog also has just plain interesting posts, too (like a post on Flickr, who if you look at their source code, states that they’re hiring; should we be using some sort of similar method for libraries, since it’s obvious if you’re looking at the source code you’re detail-oriented?). Right before I posted this, he had a post on some people’s perception that because they pay taxes to the library, they should be able to dictate how the money is spent (and how that isn’t how public money works), which was intriguing because it hit home, like many of his posts did.
In summary of all four:
Well, one trend common to almost all of the bloggers is that they’re worried about us. Us, as in future librarians, those of us in grad school. (I linked Berg’s post up above, Woodworth’s is here–although he’s more optimistic–and Olin’s is a more indirect implication). Sometimes, the blogs are depressing reads, to be honest, because they discussed how this year we’ll be graduating 8,000 more LIS graduates than there are expected jobs. For most of the bloggers, they’re worried about library programs not properly preparing us for the new role that we should be filling. All but Herzog addressed this issue, and all cautioned us to only be choosing this profession if there is true love for it there (because it definitely isn’t because of the money). But I think most of us know that, anyway.
And not surprisingly, another trend was the role of librarians and libraries in the future. All of them are (expectedly) positive about libraries’ future, and all agree we’re entering a new era of not only libraries, but librarianship as well. We are a new breed of librarians, and our training should reflect that; ultimately, too, we are serving the public in different ways than ever before, and we need to be prepared for that as well.
So my Big Takeaways? First of all, we are going to have to be constantly reevaluating our profession and the institutions of libraries as a whole. I think part of the usefulness of blogging is in reflecting and reevaluating, and these librarians, by keeping these blogs, are constantly doing both in terms of them as a librarian and their libraries. For example, Jessica Olin just celebrated her one-year anniversary of being the director at her library, and one of her posts was on all the things she’s learned this last year, and all the things she still has left to learn. Almost all of the bloggers readily admitted that they are constantly learning in their job, and I think that’s such an important (and cool!) part of our profession.
It’s difficult to see if there are things they disagree on because one of the greatest things abut following these blogs is that they blog about different things. As far as I could see, there wasn’t a lot of overlap in what they blogged about, but there were the trends I discussed earlier.
It was interesting because some of the bloggers talked about their day-to-day business (Herzog), while some just discussed their libraries as part of the bigger picture. I think both are useful. Herzog, in his reference question posts of the week, gives a nice snapshot of day-to-day business and the Berg, for example, gives a more “bigger picture” view.
I think something I really liked is that they all referenced one another. We’re a close-knit profession, and it’s kind of cool to see them talking about one another with admiration and respect. Supposedly there’s too many of us, but it feels like a small community of people, and really interesting people at that.