The weeks and months before the start of Five Weeks to a Social Library required a significant amount of work, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much time I would need to devote once the course started. However, it has been totally worth it so far. I am literally blown away by the enthusiasm of our participants and their very insightful comments and questions on the blog and in the online chats. This week, we focused on blogs and had some amazing presentations on the subject from academic librarians, a public librarian, a special librarian and a fresh-out-of-library-school librarian (all of which are available from this page). I love how focused our participants are on the practical aspects of blogging; really thinking about how it could be implemented in their library and what it would take to make it successful. The conversations going on have really given me a lot of food for thought as well; fresh eyes often see things that those of us who are intimately familiar with blogs can miss.

Here are some blog posts that I found particularly interesting this week, though honestly, every single post I read was really thought-provoking:

  • Fred Jahns asks “at what point does a blog post go beyond meaningful thought into rambling?” Something many of us have probably considered in our blogging tenures.
  • Reegan Breu discussed getting past the idea of a blog as an online diary. She also wrote about ways to make blogs more accessible to people who aren’t familiar with blog format.
  • An interesting discussion went on about whether or not the terminology we often use is important for Millennials to know, in response to Candice Watkins’ post about making social software tools relevant to her students who don’t even know what a “browser” is (well, they probably know what it is, but not what it’s called).
  • Beth Tumbleson discussed the fact that blogs are still often disseminating the same information we’ve always been disseminating at libraries, only in a more flexible, searchable and subscribe-able way. A very insightful post.
  • Janelle Jarboe and Rachel Kingcade both created great lists of what makes a blog successful.
  • Nancy Smith asks about small libraries that have been able to successfully start and sustain blogs. Jacquelyn Erdman, on the other hand, is struggling with how to implement a single blog (or multiple blogs) in a large academic library in order to create a single central space for sharing information with students and faculty.
  • Rita Ennen, inspired by Nanette Donohue’s excellent Webcast, came up with a new strategy to combat blog fatigue: work-study students!
  • Jill Markgraf, in what was probably the biggest epiphany of the week, wrote “I’ve been giving a lot of thought this week to the blogging boom, quite honestly wondering, ‘what’s the big deal?’… Maybe more than anything else blogs have changed the way we think about communicating with our patrons.” What a terrific post, Jill!

If you have any insights to share with these new bloggers, please do consider commenting on their posts. You don’t need to be a participant or even to register to comment on the blog posts — it’s as easy to do as it is to comment on this blog.

I’ll continue to share highlights of the course on this blog. I hope the successes already seen from this course will inspire others to try something similar.

Next week: RSS and Social Bookmarking!