While deciding on a topic for the annual Library Professional Growth Day, I needed some inspiration, so I decided to read a few library blogs, listen to some library podcasts, and just generally poke around in some library related websites. I found more than I bargained for! It turns out there are many great library websites out there connecting librarians, passing information along, and generally getting the word out – in other words a virtual library grapevine. I had found my topic!
Of the many sites I came across, I concentrated on those with applications to the academic library from a variety of perspectives, hoping to find something for everyone. I eventually settled on these seven grapes on the grapevine:
Annoyed Librarian. This anonymous columnist for the online edition of Library Journal is not annoyed with co-workers or patrons, but rather with the many controversies, big and small, affecting the library world. Readers submit library news articles of a controversial nature to her which she then discusses, usually challenging the popular view. No one knows who she is, and some are offended by what they see as insults in her blogs, but no one can deny that she has an opinion about everything and doesn’t hesitate to express it. She is entertaining while being annoyed and brings newsworthy library topics to the attention of readers who otherwise might not know about them.
Mr. Library Dude aka Joe Hardenbrook is a reference librarian in Wisconsin. He is a prolific blogger, posting under 17 categories who got his moniker when a student who had forgotten his name, tried to get his attention by calling out, ”Hey, Mr. Library Dude.” It is obvious he loves all aspects of his job and the broader library world, but high on his list of current interests are social media, 3D printing, user experience, and space assessment. Don’t miss his popular Lego Librarian blogs, where he features a whole library world he has built out of Legos!
Awful Library Books. This site has some fun with a serious purpose – weeding and collection development. Its creators, public librarians in Michigan, remind us in the most visual way that “hoarding is not collection development” and sometimes you just have to let go! Librarians eagerly submit books from their own library’s weeding pile, of which there seems to be an endless supply, demonstrating why we weed. Many books are just hilariously out of date, while others are of dubious value at any time. The commentary and images will make you laugh, but beyond the awful books that are featured is sound advice about the importance of weeding. These two experts also share slides from their many presentations here.
Disruptive Librarian Jester and Library Technology Launchpad are two sites that focus on technology issues and trends in the library. The Jester, whose tagline is “We’re Disrupted. We’re Librarians. And We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore” is all about change, the small ones and the more radical, disruptive ones. “The Launchpad offers “library technology for every librarian” including blog posts and podcasts.
Library History Buff Blog features blogs about libraries from times gone by that preserve our library heritage by providing glimpses into the past. Posts are richly illustrated with historical photos and library memorabilia, giving it the feel of a library archive. Whether it be a collection of old library cards, bookplates, stamps, postcards, or conference programs or tales of long ago library services and events you are sure to find many items of interest here.
In the Library with a Lead Pipe is heavier reading for the serious librarian! Though it started as an award winning peer reviewed blog in 2008, it transformed itself into an officially recognized online peer reviewed open access journal in 2012. The impetus behind this is a team of librarians of all types from around the world. Some articles have been published as open access elsewhere but they also take original submissions. These will be reviewed by a panel before being accepted for publication. They publish one to two articles a month representing all kinds of libraries and topics.
I will revisit the grapevine often and surely find a topic there for next year’s Professional Growth Day!
A few other grapes on the vine: