Fun Fact: Did you know that 2014 is the 25th Anniversary of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire? First, that makes me feel really old. Second, I really wish he would do an update with the last 25 years of history. (Maybe when I go see him in concert this August…)
One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging here all that much is because I’ve been blogging for I Need a Library Job – regular blog posts are part of the requirement of being a Head Editor. Why not take a look at the site and read a few of articles I’ve written (along with some of the other great ones by my INALJ colleagues)?
- Don’t Get Chopped in Your Job Search
- Should You Go to That (Non-Library) Conference?
- Kate Goes Conferencing, Part 2: Tips and Tricks
- New Librarianship Master Class: What IS a Librarian? What is a Library?
- All About Mentoring
- The Other Big Green Monster: Burnout
- Location, Location, Location: If I Can Make It There…?
- All About Accreditation
- The Doctor Is In….the Library!
So you can imagine that this blog takes a bit of backseat when I have a blogging requirement elsewhere.
There’s another reason for the incentive to not blog that Andy Woodworth puts so perfectly:
It’s not that there isn’t anything interesting going on in the library world, just it’s not interesting to me. Or it involves the act of dragging old bones in new graves on topics that I feel have been talked to death (eBooks and libraries, for example). Or, most recently, if I can succinctly add my input to a conversation on something like Twitter or Tumblr, I do it there. When others have better insight or commentary on topics, it’s much more satisfying to share their posts or articles.
And, let’s face it: there are far fewer librarians writing these days online, most conspicuously in blogs. I remember the leading advice of 2006 being to start a blog to get noticed online; now, if I heard a professor say that to their students, I would tell the students to flee. Even the Annoyed Librarian has been relegated to writing about last week’s news that was sent (I guess they can’t be bothered to find it) to them or “interesting” comments in previous entries. For myself, it’s slim picking for content or commentary without sounding like I’m recycling previous entries. [Source]
It is easier and no doubt more convenient for me to say what I want to say in the shorter form arenas, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. Writing blog posts takes Time, and there’s only so many hours in day after work and sleep for personal (leisure or otherwise) pursuits. But there is also much to be said about the lost(?) art of blogging – heck, our INALJ articles help brought us to 3.75 million page views by the end of December 2013. So I have to think: What gets me back into doing my own personal blogging, especially as I am launching into a job search in 2014 and need to have a handy professional writing outlet of my own to showcase to prospective employers?
Perhaps a narrower focus is in mind. Yes, this is a library blog, but trying to be the be-all end-all library blog is tiring, and shows lack of focus. Because of my current place of employment’s social media policies, there are also some topics I really can’t talk about, as much as I would want to. Thus, my desire is to use this space as my petri dish for what I want to learn more about in the coming year. In particular, I am focusing on three pet projects for this space in 2014:
- Gender issues (and related topics of diversity and intersectionality). This should come as no surprise, as I have been on two panels related to gender in the past three months, and am active in the #libtechgender and LibTechWomen communities. While I need to listen more in the library community in this arena, I also need to be ready to speak out on it more – an idea that came to me after being called out by a friend of my family (in a very not nice way) about the diversity in librarianship. I need to show non-librarians that yes, we are working on being more inclusive, and listening to my peers on ways we can do so as we move from storytelling to action.
- Technology. I need to broaden my coding toolbasket and web design skills. Period.
- Advocacy for Youth Services. I bet that one is leaving you scratching your head, because I’m not any sort of youth services librarian (though I have been told I would pass for one easily with my loud voice). Many of my friends (and a family member!) are youth services librarians, and I admire the work they do. In speaking with them, I realize that it often does not get the respect it deserves, because it’s often viewed as “not sexy,” “women’s work” or “soft work.” In truth, it’s very important work – the library is the third space (outside of home and school) where children can find a place of community and family. But here is where I need to learn more before diving in deep (with guaranteed mistakes in the results: Children’s/youth librarians: What blogs/listservs/miscellaneous resources should I be reading? What are talking points I can use when confronted with the prejudices that youth services work faces?
Of course, these are not new; just like the song above, they’ve “been always burning since the world’s been turning.” (See how good I tied all that together there? ) It is my belief that as an outside approaching all these issues from a somewhat outsider perspective, putting the “librarianship at 30,000 feet” spin on it, serves to inform, educate (including myself – remember that whole “I’m pretty good at making mistakes thing” I said above? :), and empower.
And perhaps, even in these three very divergent areas, we can find consensus, something this profession so desperately needs.