Getting Lost in Library Blogs

As part of our immersion into the blog world, our first assignment is to get to know some librarian and educator blogs. The biggest challenge here was narrowing my selection down from the overwhelming amount of awesome library blogs that are out there! These three ladies made the top of my list right now, but my favorites are always changing!

The Daring Librarian blog is the work of Gwyneth Jones, a technology-teaching librarian with a talent for hilarious info-comics. I found myself easily lost in the visual appeal of her blog, and did some research on her About Me page to discover that her visual presentation skills are thanks to a career switch: she came to technology teaching after leaving a career in advertising…I’m sold!

I also enjoyed exploring Jones’s page because of how easily I connected to her posts. With our discussions of digital footprints, I’ve been on the lookout for ways to find myself online. I read through this post from the Daring Librarian on how to tell if your image is being used without your knowledge. Posts such as this one are where Jones’s teaching skills shine. In this post alone, she provided screenshots for how-to, detailed list format instructions, and also lots of fun (for example, the Urban Dictionary definition of “catfishing”).

In our assigned reading for class, Willmer’s article, “Managing Your Digital Footprint,” he suggests frequently reviewing your digital footprint to ensure that you know how you are being presented online. Manti Te’o’s story is a great tie-in for students who have heard his story and are curious about their own online image safety. Jones’s site had many more posts that could be helpful for students looking to become savvy digital citizens: I explored Identify Fake Profiles on Facebook, and How to tell if “shark in flooded city streets after storm” photo is fake in 5 easy steps and I found myself laughing as much as I was learning! I think this is the real beauty of Jones’ blog: it will have real entertainment appeal to students and fellow educators while still teaching them something: and that’s a motivating combination for anyone!

The second blog I explored was The Unquiet Librarian : the work of Buffy Hamilton. Hamilton’s blog immediately appealed to me based on the heavy amount of student work I saw. This post is another tie in to our digital footprint discussions: I was always told that sharing student images, videos or quotes was a big “no.” Hamilton’s blog was full of professional, appropriate student work that was completely engaging. I could see myself sharing the work her students were doing to relate to a specific project in my own media center, or as an example of a strong digital footprint: these students were sharing something they were enthusiastic about in a fun and safe way.

I also found Hamilton’s posts to be an inspiration professionally. She is awesome at providing an “inside look” at the conferences or other professional organizations she is involved in, and most of her posts provide direct advice for current specialists. This post  gave me hope for teaching future generations to manage the citation challenge. Seeing Hamilton’s strategies for “everyday” problems such as citation is just as helpful to me as a beginning librarian as her work on all of the exciting “extra” projects. I’ll definitely be coming back to her blog for updates in the future!

My next stop was The Adventures of Library Girl by Jennifer LaGarde. LaGarde is a teacher librarian who works as an “Educator on Loan” for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This was a position I’ve never heard of before, but one that sounds truly awesome! Basically, LaGarde travels around the state and acts a voice for all ways educators can improve their classrooms using media resources.  LaGarde’s blog appealed to me because of her rich social media presence. I recognized her name and face from Twitter explorations I’ve done in the past and was pleased to find that the blog lived up to her reputation! The first post I explored was on designing physical space in a media center. Setting up the physical space of a learning environment has always been a highlight of teaching for me (preparing for students in early August is such an exciting time of the year) but I appreciated LaGarde’s practical advice for making media space meaningful. I’m envisioning my future media center now… 🙂

This post and others like it (check out this post on creating a BYOD environment) led me to think of LaGarde’s blog as a resource to share with colleagues and other teachers rather than one to share with students. Her posts are easy to read and provide real suggestions for use of media tools. I would love to share a post from this blog as a way to persuade teachers to try out something new or include links to LaGarde’s posts in some sort of newsletter or tech tips as a way to give teachers more information about a topic. Similar to Jones from The Daring Librarian, LaGarde has a knack for creating infographics that are much more succinct (and fun!) than any faculty meeting handout I’ve ever received. I would feel very comfortable directing colleagues to her site- it’s easy to navigate and full of great information for all educators!

As I said before, these three are only the beginning of library blogs for me. I discover and follow new blogs all the time. They are the best source of information and inspiration I’ve found yet! The opportunity to get to know these specialists and get a glimpse into their media centers through the exciting world of blogging is a beautiful second best to visiting them in person. I’ll be eagerly awaiting their next posts!

References:

Willmer, Dave. “Managing Your Digital Footprint.” T + D June (2009): 84-85. Print

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6 thoughts on “Getting Lost in Library Blogs

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog reviews, especially the library ones. You’re right – there are so many great ones out there that it was hard to select just three to focus on! I hadn’t come across The Unquiet Librarian blog before, so thanks for highlighting that one. I agree that it’s a great example of how to highlight students activities and work in a professional way. One of my favorite parts of this blog was its simplicity – it’s easy to navigate, and it only has a few different tabs to click through. There is a wealth of information on there, though, so I’ve bookmarked it as a resource to check back with in the future!

    • I totally agree with you about checking back on the blogs we’ve highlighted in the future! I found all of the blogs I visited to be a great resource for educational ideas and also just a great inspiration!

  2. Ashley–I enjoyed your post on library blogs. The Daring Librarian’s instructions for checking Google images to see if your photos or images have been used without permission could be a really cool teaching tool to use with kids. I think that would get their attention to realize that (1) people care about their creations being misused and (2) that you might be caught if you do it!

    I agree that Library Girl is geared more towards a professional audience. It is one blog that I will follow regularly for ideas, resources and to stay up-to-date. I could really see drawing upon posts from the Daring Librarian or The Unquiet librarian for secondary instruction.
    Again-you do a great job of making connections to the module 1 content and explaining how you could use blogs in the classroom/media center. Well done!!
    Kate

    • I agree that both The Daring Librarian and The Unquiet Librarian are ideal for sharing with others looking to learn. I was really just browsing as I was looking into blogs for this assignment, and I felt that I learned a ton from both sites in that short time. I think this sort of casual presentation of information will be most appealing to secondary learners, and anyone interested in getting more information about something that may be new to them!

  3. Ashley,

    That is a great point about Library Girl being used for faculty meetings. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it would be a great resource!

    I have to respectively disagree about the Daring Librarian’s blog, I found the black background and many different colors very distracting. Her posts were very informative and had great information, but I think I would have trouble focusing on her content. However, since she has a background in advertising she probably knows more than me!

    ~Tara

    • Tara,
      I almost didn’t pick The Daring Librarian after my first look because of her black background- it is a little bit of a visual shock! I found myself enjoying it more the more I explored, though. Its a style that takes some getting used to, but well worth it once you check out all of her great content. As you can see from my primarily white theme I’m all for the simplicity too- different strokes for different blogger folks. 🙂

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