Posts tagged ‘blogs’

Blogging as professional development? Sure. Peer-reviewed discourse? No way.

Nancy Bertolotti wrote earlier this month for the YALSA blog about blogging as a professional development tool. She suggests that blogging gives the writer the opportunity to network with authors (a review she wrote of one author’s book led to an interview with that author) and colleagues, as a way to practice writing, as a demonstration of knowledge or skill, and as a way of gaining experience with social networking tools. I agree with all of this and on a personal level, I’ve enjoyed blogging because it’s gotten me thinking about library stuff more often and in a more structured sort of way. Bertolotti also mentioned that she’s a recent grad and that she feels like her blog addresses a lot of different sorts of topics but that once she finds a job, her focus will narrow–another feeling I share with her.

She also asserted that blogging was a form of peer-reviewed writing:

Blogging on a professional site like the YALSA Blog might even be considered a peer reviewed form of writing. You know you will be corrected or asked for clarification if you post something that is not clearly articulated and accurate. You will also receive comments if you post something controversial like, blogging as a peer reviewed publication!

I’m afraid I can’t agree with her here, though. While it’s true that writing in a public forum allows people to critique your ideas and presentation (if anyone’s listening to what you’re saying in the first place), people read blogs differently than editors read papers. And part of why peer-reviewed papers are given such authority is because the review and vetting has happened before publication. Furthermore, reviewers and editors for peer-reviewed journals are (usually) considered experts in their fields, whereas any sort of review that happens in a blog is more crowdsourcing than expert opinion.

Bertolotti also doesn’t explicitly mention the more internal benefits of blogging. She does say that blogging allows you to demonstrate expertise in a particular area and to practice your writing, but even in the short time I’ve been working on this blog, I’ve found myself thinking about library issues I want to talk about in a much more organized fashion, deciding what relates to the topic, what examples and counter-examples I might use, and what isn’t related enough to be included in one post but might be the start of a new one. I’ve also been reading a lot more to find connections between ideas and am doing a better job of pulling in examples from sources that aren’t necessarily library-specific. Blogging has external benefits like the ones Bertolotti identifies, but it’s also something that has more internal benefits as well.

And just for fun, some tips from other library bloggers: last month, Creative Literacy offered five tips for better blogging. And earlier this week, GreenBeanTeenQueen celebrated its second anniversary; Sarah has five lessons on blogging and reviewing. She’s also running a contest with ARCs as prizes, so make sure you enter by the end of April.

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March 19, 2010 at 11:58 PM 2 comments

Blogging and tweeting at PLA

One week from today I’ll be on a plane to Portland, Oregon for PLA2010! I’ve spent the last few days in a flurry of preparation: I’ve chosen my programs and sessions, I’ve made a list of what I need to pack, I’ve read the Walking Paper Guide to Portland, I’ve watched the Visiting Librarian’s Guide to Portland, and I’ve started to peruse the list of vendors.

I’m also very excited to announce that I’ll be guest blogging for the PLA Blog during the conference! I’ll be writing here, too, of course, but I’ll also post links here to what I write over there. About a month after the conference ends, I’ll mirror what I wrote for them here.

Finally, I’ll be tweeting throughout the conference; you can follow @librarified if you’re interested.

March 17, 2010 at 7:42 PM Leave a comment

Links: larger women and book covers, the popularity of youth lit, and dads reading to daughters

In a delightful bit of crossover, Gwen over at Sociological Images rounds up a bunch of covers of books about larger girls, most of whom don’t look that big on the cover. There’s also been some discussion about how the women on these covers are mostly disembodied parts–common in advertising (see here, here, and here for examples)–but there’s also been counter-discussion positing that it’s because publishers think that women want to be able to identify with characters and that’s harder when you can see their face. I’m not sure I buy that; I’d like to see a study sampling books with covers depicting men and covers depicting women that determines if there is a gender difference in whether or not faces are shown. And what about YA book covers?

Susan Carpenter writes for the LA Times about the rising popularity of YA lit among adults. She addresses the increasing sales of youth lit in general (“Where adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008, children’s/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.”), acknowledges the rise in critical acclaim for youth lit, and points to the growing number of movies based off of books for teens and children (my husband and I are finally going to go see the Percy Jackson movie this weekend!). She also makes the great point that current YA writers grew up when YA books were finally starting to mature:

Many of today’s young adult authors were born and raised in the 1960s and 1970s, when YA began to move beyond the staid, emotionless tales of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in favor of more adventurous work from Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle and Robert Cormier. Now, they’re turning out their own modern masterpieces.

And finally, Lee Wind of I’m Here. I’m Queer. Now what the Hell do I read? has a post about reading with his daughter and what other dads need to know about reading with their own daughters. He paints a beautiful picture of a household full of readers and also touches on dialogic reading, which we’ve been talking about in my Youth Services class recently. I also love how he gets to the heart of why, beyond developmental and literacy-related reasons, reading with kids is so great: “Reading is the doorway to a Shared experience with your kid. Don’t just read it TO her. Experience it WITH her.”

March 11, 2010 at 8:57 PM 2 comments

Recent library blog news: Reading Rants and Let Me Think

Our trip to Auburn went really well on Saturday! I’ll be writing a post about it tomorrow. For now, just a few news items from the library blogosphere.

Reading Rants, written by Jennifer Hubert and designed by Andrew Mutch, is a collection of booklists and book reviews that’s been around since 1998 (first as a website and then in 2007 as a blog. They also published a book). Jennifer posted to YALSA-bk yesterday announcing that with the help of her 7th graders and Andrew, Reading Rants had gotten a template redesign.

There’s been some controversy in central Indiana recently: the Monroe County Community Schools Corporation announced budget cuts earlier this month that would eliminate school librarian positions districtwide. There’s been a trend recently toward having one licensed librarian provide library service to multiple schools in a district with assistants overseeing the individual libraries on the librarian’s days elsewhere, but these budget cuts would eliminate all librarian positions within the district. Mary D’Eliso–IU-Bloomington SLIS grad, former assistant manager of children’s services at Monroe County Public Library, current library media specialist at University Elementary School, and (former?) instructor of Children’s Literature at IU-Bloomington SLIS–started Let Me Think: Adventures in a School Library at the end of January and wrote in an email, “I was thinking that the main crux of our elimination was that people have no idea what actually happens in the modern school library, particularly in areas of teaching and curriculum.” She’s intending for Let Me Think to include lessons, displays, and events.

I mostly think of blogs as tools for aspiring and practicing librarians to find book reviews and get new programming ideas and as an online community for people in the profession, but they can also be public relations tools, showing non-librarians what we’re all about.

March 1, 2010 at 11:53 PM 2 comments