My Top Five Non-Library Blogs

Photo by Laura & Chris Pawluk on Flickr

Photo by Laura & Chris Pawluk on Flickr

There are a lot of great library blogs out there, but only reading library blogs leads to narrow mindedness  and circular thinking. To truly innovate we need to look at disciplines outside our profession and bring their ideas into the library world. So in that spirit I’ve compiled a list of five of my favorite blogs outside the library world that are still relevant to what we do:

  • Mashable - This blog provides social media news and web tips. They have a lot of great posts about Twitter or Facebook, or new web technologies that are coming to the forefront. This blog is a great way to stay current on what’s going on in the social web.
  • Chris BroganChris Brogan blogs about all kinds of stuff, but he primarily focuses on marketing, building relationships and communicating using emerging web tools. He always has a lot of great content and really cares about his audience. A must read for anyone interested in marketing and PR in relation to your patrons.
  • Read Write Web – “ReadWriteWeb is a blog that provides analysis of web products and trends.” This blog is a good one to stay up to date on new technologies. I’d call it the “thinking man’s Mashable.”
  • Harvard Business Blog – This blog offers a lot of great info. Libraries could learn a lot from the business world. There are posts on innovation, leadership, marketing, and effective communication. These are all things libraries should be thinking about and doing.
  • Seth Godin – Marketing guru, author, speaker, and generally dynamic individual, Seth Godin’s writing is inspiring. His blog posts are almost always thought provoking and his latest book Tribes really got me energized.

My favorite blogs have a lot to do with web technologies and business/marketing, but library and information science could benefit from a lot of disciplines. What about psychology blogs or anthropology blogs? What about history or media/communication blogs?

Often new ideas aren’t new, they’re just transplanted from somewhere else. More interdisciplinary thinking in libraries is what will drive innovation. What are your favorite blogs outside of the library world?


How to Customize Your Library Facebook Page (Screencast)

I’ve received a several questions from people about how to customize their library’s Facebook page, so I decided to create a quick screencast showing how I went about doing it. Enjoy!

Facebook Page Customization Screencast

You may need a little bit of FBML so here’s a link to the Facebook Developer’s Wiki. It just takes a little playing. Feel free to add your questions or your own suggestions for customization in the comments.


Library Blogs Aren’t Getting Comments

Walt Crawford took an in depth look at both public and academic library blogs in the September issue of Cites & Insights. He examined over two hundred academic library blogs, first in 2007 and again this year. He made some interesting discoveries:

  • 122 blogs had no comments in either year.
  • Very few library blogs averaged even one comment per post in 2007—five of them, four fewer than in 2009.
  • Only 33 of the 155 blogs with posts in May 2009— 22% —had any comments at all.

What Crawford’s study shows is that there is very little conversation that goes on in the comments of most library blogs. Patrons, for the most part, are not interacting with these blogs.

This does not mean that  library blogs are useless or that patrons aren’t reading them. Many library blogs are awesome, but they serve a different purpose. Often they’re informational and as Crawford says,  “serve functional roles that wouldn’t call for responses.” If that’s the purpose behind your library’s blog then that’s fine. But what if you actually want interaction with your patrons? What if what you’re looking for is online conversation related to your library? Blogs don’t seem to be doing the trick for most libraries.

It’s important to have your goals in mind when you implement a technology. What is it you want to accomplish? If you’re looking for online conversation related to your library and blogs aren’t working, then perhaps a different technology is appropriate. Maybe a tool like Twitter or Facebook would help you accomplish that goal. It’s much quicker to post something and these tools are more conducive to conversation and responses to posts.

It’s not necessary to do something because “everyone else is doing it.” You don’t have to stick with technologies that aren’t getting the results you desire. It’s always important to reevaluate your technology from time to time to see if it’s actually helping you accomplish your goals.

Some library blogs are great, but perhaps some libraries could accomplish their goals more effectively using a different technology.