Perhaps instead of a pool as the operative metaphor for jumping into blogging, the image should be a rocket launching into the blogosphere. Take your pick. Either way, joining the blog parade is an adventure, and according to our favorite love/hate resource, Wikipedia, “a new blog is being created every second of every minute of every hour of every day.” (Keen, 2008) There are many kinds of blogs populating the airwaves-or electromagnetic waves, and communication and interaction through digital writing, illustration, and reading have expanded our vision of publishing. We all have the means to be producers of information in a Web 3.0 world.
For school librarians, blogs have dual purposes in our practice, as Judi and Karla have already shown. Judi shared examples of award winning blogs created by school librarians to showcase and promote learning in their physical and virtual library spaces. The combination of creative design, vivid images, and engaging text are the hallmarks of an opportunity to deliver information to school communities and beyond, in a personal way. We all can learn from these models for effective communication that highlight evidence of an active, engaged school library program.
Karla shared how blogs, and other social media are an important contribution to her professional learning as part of her PLN. She recommended ways to get started following bloggers who are writing and sharing information about topics and issues that are critical for professional school librarianship.
School librarians depend on multiple sources of information to remain current. Along with the standard print publications, many publishers are featuring blogs on their websites to increase exposure to ideas and information in an immediate way. School Library Journal, Knowledge Quest, Booklist Reader, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) have bloggers who are on top of current trends.
Interactivity in Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, has generated a fire hose of information, and that includes bloggers of all descriptions. When you want just a sip of the information waters, you can control your own PLN. Try setting up an RSS feed through sites like Feedly, and Feedspot, or a number of others. You can link your favorite blogs, websites, or other social media sites to the account, and you will have only one spot to visit to catch up on your reading. Most blogs allow readers to subscribe to the blog through email, so that you can get notices from the blogger when a new post has been published. That works well, unless there are multiple posts each day, then you may find your email overflowing!
For those of you who would like to venture into starting a blog for your school library, or to set up a forum to connect with other professionals to discuss contemporary issues, take some time to establish your own criteria and purpose for publishing your own work. View multiple blogs to see which ones are exemplars that you would want to emulate. Both Judi and Karla suggested a few places to begin your search. This should not be an impulse decision, but one for consideration and reflection. Commitment to ongoing and timely publishing is a key to successful blogging, along with nurturing and tending the links and topics.
Explore several blog platforms before you choose one to jump into. Blog platforms have tutorials, and templates that will help you get going, but the primary focus should be on the clarity of the purpose for your work. Why is a blog important to your school library program? Who is your audience? Why do you want to connect with other interested professionals? How will you maintain the content of the blog? How will you use the blog as a bridge to other social media sites?
Jump start to blogging: Dear Blogger-a blog about blogging…
Do you have a favorite platform to share? Talk to us….
Take the plunge!
Links to websites:
School Library Journal: http://www.slj.com/
Knowledge Quest: http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/
Dear Blogger: http://www.dearblogger.org/blogger-or-wordpress-better
Keen, Andrew (2008). The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture. New York: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Web. 24 Jan. 2016 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog>
Judy Kaplan Collection