So I have a new guilty pleasure, other than pinterest:), Librarian Blogs. I have been following some Education Blogs for a while now but compared to librarian ones, social studies teachers are just not as interesting. However, maybe that is because they are new to me and as a relatively new comer to the world of librarians, every idea is new and something to file in my toolbox. New ideas in social studies are harder to come by. Anyway, I digress.
The first blog I would like to share is one that has been showing up in my Facebook news feed for a while through MASL, although to be honest I haven’t taken the time to actually read it until recently. The Busy Librarian is authored by an elementary school Media Specialist located close by in Ellicott City, MD. His profile does not give a whole lot of information about him and he is not a “big time blogger”. However, I enjoy his writing style and the fact that each of his posts gives you something to do. His blog seems to be mainly a professional development blog. His most recent post SLM 2012 Shelf challenge, has a great idea to help celebrate School Library Month by taking one section of your collection to become very familiar with over the next month and then chart it in a Google doc. I think this will help to only learn a section of your library better, become better acquainted with the section and practice using Google Docs if you aren’t familiar with it. Another great post is on Graphic Novels. This post specifically target Elementary School but it gives some great advice on promoting Graphic Novels. I like the idea of cataloging them by their topic not just 741.5 as a graphic novel but also labeling them graphic novels and grouping them together. That way you can always change how you organize them.
The next blog that I’d like to share is The Daring Librarian. The author of this post is not only local but also quite well known in the field of school librarianship and technology. Gwyneth Jones is a local librarian and I also had the pleasure of taking a class she instructed for technology education almost 10 years ago. To be honest at the time I wasn’t aware of whose presence I was in but she was a great teacher and one of the only ones I actually remember the name of almost 10 years later. Her blog is very busy and not meant for a person with focusing issues but it has a lot of amazing ideas. It also seem to mainly deal with using technology lessons in a library setting. Her blog is also a little intimidating in all of the awards and even the creativity she uses by her cartooning. She posts many of the presentations she has done and gives lots of information for you to replicate the lessons. For example, if you didn’t want to do a Google+ lesson you could still do the QR lesson. I also loved the post 10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year. Some of them were things I had heard before but I found it interesting that it mentioned improving your digital footprint, especially since this was a topic we just discussed in this class. With this in mind she also suggests buying your name. I had never thought it would be worth it but maybe worth it to make sure no one else does, especially when thinking of your digital footprint. At first I found the comic book format a little difficult to follow but after a while the comic Gwyneth Jones grows on you.
A third blog that was recommended to me by my school librarian is Joyce Valenza’s NeverEndingSearch. Valenza’s blog is hosted on School Library Journal’s site. She is a high school librarian and technical writer. Her blog is not flashy and does not have many bells and whistles but she does blog a lot of great ideas. Again, this blog seems mostly geared to professional development. I first was drawn to an older post from last spring about Sync audiobook program. I have become a big fan of audio books, since I have a 30 minute commute and took literature classes, so this sounded really interesting to me. I think Audiobooks could be appealing for many young adults especially since you can now just download them right to mp3 players. This idea of offering free downloads and pairing current books with related classic titles is a great idea to help students make connections between old and new books. I also enjoyed her post on Reading Under the Radar . This post didn’t necessarily share anything new but it discussed how technology, including web 2.o has changed the reader/author relationship. I had never realized how this would change the way kids read and their involvement with books. Being able to interact and share online takes reading into the next generation.
A final blog I found that I thought would be helpful to follow is a book review blog called The Ya, Ya, Ya’s. This blog is written by three different YA librarians. They both positively and negatively review books and according to their policy they aren’t paid for any reviews. I liked the aspect of having 3 different authors and the sheer amount of reviews. I think keeping up with all of the new books that come out will be difficult enough and any help I can get finding new good books would be appreciated. The post “Books I’m Most Looking Forward in 2012“was organized well. I liked that they included the release date and a little about the book. It made it very easy to find books to also add to my own reading list. They also had a good post that discussed predictions for the award winners and then a follow-up post with the actual winners. I like the way that they seem to write honestly give a lot of information but are not too wordy. It makes the blog informative but not over intimidating. I think this blog will really help me find new books for me to recommend to others.
Incorporating Blogs In the Library – Blogs can be a great way to share what you are reading and give recommendations to students. You could also do a “what’s new” blog to share new programs, advertise new books, or give information. Most of the library sites I visited share lessons and professional development ideas. One other idea is to have a virtual book club. You could choose a book and pose questions for students or staff to respond to this type of blog might be best to keep private and just give invites.
Bringing Others On-board – One way I have found is to present information in the format you want people to use. In other words, use a blog to post the presentation, videos, and links if you are going to introduce blogging. This forces people to use the format. Just don’t forget to cite your sources and get permission if needed. Another, thing I’ve learned is to give time for people to create and play with the tool or site while they can get help and get comfortable with the tool.
Professional Development- Blogs can be a cheaper, more time efficient, and differentiated way to meet individual needs and wants as a tool for professional development. The trick is in find a blog that is professional, accurate, frequently updated, and at the level of expertise that is needed to grow but not overwhelm. A blog could even be set up by the schools professional development team to make sure people received specific information. As money and time become more precious, I think we’ll see more of our professional development done in a social networking framework, like blogging or vlogging.