The Value of Library Blogs

July 23, 2007

In the August 2007 issue of Cites and Insights, Walt Crawford writes that “I’ve grown to rely on liblogs as my primary sources for contemporary library issues over the last two or three years(p.1).” In this article, Crawford muses about the place of liblogs in library literature. I have to say that library blogs are also my primary source of information about library issues as well as my primary means of discussing said issues. To me, liblogs are an invaluable resource. If I don’t read about something via one of the hundreds of blogs to which I subscribe, chances are that I will not hear about it at all.

In all honesty, identifying relevant titles and articles and wading through scholarly journals has absolutely no appeal. I don’t mean in any way to imply that they aren’t important or vital to the library field. However, unless I’m doing research on something for school or work, flipping through peer-reviewed journals is something that I am extremely unlikely to even pretend to do. When I do use such sources of information, I’m likely to read the introduction and the conclusion and then quickly skim the rest of the article to find relevant points. Scholarly articles aren’t always the most exciting things to read. Blogs actually make it easier to identify articles of importance – and bloggers often give overviews of an article’s content. I have found that blogs have much more impact on my day-to-day life as a librarian than scholarly journals ever could – which makes them more critical to my own professional development.

What does all of this mean to me? It means that I am not particularly interested in writing scholarly or peer-reviewed articles, especially at this point in my career and my life. In the institution where I work, librarians do not have tenure. As such, I’m not required to publish for tenure, nor would publishing result in any added compensation. I’m currently forced to write scholarly papers for school, and I am looking forward to having some time where I am not required to do this. Interestingly, I find writing for my blog to be anything but a burden. I have become very comfortable with the blog medium. It suits me. I can explore my ideas and think about issues in more creative ways. The ideas and thoughts of other library bloggers challenge me and force me to think about things in new ways. I find it rather edifying.

The world of library blogs adds a wonderful and dynamic element to the ways in which librarians talk about their craft. Blogs create an atmosphere that is conducive to meaningful conversation. Should more people take blogs and the discussions that take place in the liblog world seriously? Definitely!