A few months back, I wrote this post about the lack of a national or international registry for library-related blogs. Just yesterday, I was made aware of the fact that while there isn’t a registry per se, there is a directory–The Library Blog Center at Salem Press. Did you all know about this? Because I did not.
The site advertises “1300 carefully vetted and categorized library blogs”–excellent! Well, in all honesty, it would be more excellent if my blog was listed in the directory. Alas, this is not the case. I searched for all my favorite blogs, and they were there, so that is a good thing (*6/9/12: I misspoke. All my favorite blog are not listed as noted upon some further searching, including 2 that I mentioned below). I also emailed Salem Press to let them know that my blog exists. I have not heard from them. I am interested in the response. It is possible that my blog does not meet the criteria for a “serious” library blog that has been “carefully vetted and categorized.” One just never knows.
But the good thing about this directory is that a whole, new world of library blogs has opened up before me. Although I don’t think I agree with some of the categorizations assigned–Independent, Publication, Government, Association, and Institution, which is further broken down into academic, public, school, and special. While these are perfectly fine and respectable categories, I would categorize library blogs a bit differently, for example-
For The Enthusiastic, Older Crowd–these are the blogs that have a healthy respect for library traditions while being fully willing to explore new ones. These are the blogs that are inhabited by older adults who have wisdom, perspective, and a learned cynicism. These blogs are also inhabited by younger, newer librarians who are wise enough to know that older, more sage librarians have a lot left to say that is worth saying–and listening to. In all honesty, I know of only one blog that fits into this category–Will Unwound. The beauty of this blog is that the people who comment are invested, passionate, dedicated, loyal, and do not care about the trend du jour. They care about the world and how libraries fit into the fabric of life. Oh, and the author is fairly awesome, too.
For The Thirty-Something Crowd (and other interested parties)–There are lots of these blogs, many of which I do not follow. But many of which I do. These include Librarian in Black, Librarian by Day, Agnostic Maybe, The Unquiet Librarian, and Across Divided Networks by Andromeda Yelton. These are amazingly informative blogs that discuss the latest issues and the latest technology and the latest, latest, whatever. You will not go wrong visiting any of these blogs for, well, the latest. These blogs are written by intelligent, informed, and passionate librarians. And if I’ve gotten the age thing wrong, please forgive me.
For the Disenchanted–These are the blogs that often (or sometimes) challenge the norms and traditions of the library world. They can be snarky, or insightful, or irreverent. These blogs include The Annoyed Librarian, The 21st Century Librarian Blog, and Finding Heroes (I am basing this categorization on your Zombie Librarianship post–brilliant!).
And please don’t misunderstand–the blogs that I’ve identified cannot be defined or labeled under just one category. They cross over each other and provide sustenance for more than one library-information need. All are informative, challenging, and insightful.
And then there are the blogs that defy categorization altogether–blogs like Library Scenester, by Erin Dorney and mylibblog by Jamie LaRue, and First Thus, by James Weinheimer and The Digital Shift by Roy Tennant–blogs that I enjoy for many reasons but mostly just because I can relate to the voices behind the posts–voices that make sense.
I guess my point is this–for every library blog you are following, there are 10 more that you are not. And each blog has its own culture, carefully cultivated and nurtured and populated. But you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not venture into uncharted territory. Because each blog represents a viewpoint and a voice and a perspective that is unique. For a profession that is steeped in tradition, entrenched in “norms”, and resistant to change, these blogs provide an avenue to explore opinions and viewpoints, some of which are guaranteed to resonate with you on some level or challenge you on many levels. All will certainly make you think.
I plan to explore the other options that I find in the Library Blog Center at Salem Press. It may be easy to dismiss blogs as venues in which to air grievances or posture for recognition and praise; however, I would argue that library blogs represent the conversations that are not happening–but should be happening–in our own libraries in our own communities. And if you visit these blogs and take part in the conversation, you may very well find yourself more able to take part in the real conversations that are happening where you live and where you breathe. If nothing else, library blogs provide a safe venue to explore the strength of your own voice and the ways in which you can best use it to enable very real change where it counts most.
Maybe my blog defies categorization, too. If that’s the case, then I am content to be a cheerleader for other, more prominent blogs. Its kind of what I’m programmed to do, as a mother–praise, recognize, nurture, promote. Because it really doesn’t matter who makes the list.
What matters is that all voices are heard.