Oh, the controversy of blogging – is it good, is it bad, is it useful, does it create another point of access or is it just redundant information? Do blogs belong in libraries? Is it ethical for those who are supposed to present unbiased access to information to air their personal opinions online in a potentially accessible fashion? Granted this round table doesn’t really answer all of the big questions, but it does offer interesting insight from librarian bloggers – why they do it and why they think it’s useful to them.
All of the bloggers featured in the article say that they feel that blogging has had a positive effect of some sort on their career, which is interesting considering the plethora of articles that I’ve seen in the past year or two which very often talk about how the act of blogging can have a negative effect on one’s career. These bloggers seem to feel that it sets them apart in some way and demonstrates that they have an active relationship with technology in general.
As far as ethics are concerned most of the bloggers adhere to what Michael Stephens refers to as a sort of a “personal code” to which they adhere, although the introduction of the article points out that many librarian bloggers don’t necessarily keep things neutral and most offer the personal opinions of the author. Many of the bloggers who participated in the discussion state that they use blogs professionally in their own library. Some as an internal means of communication while other library systems have public blogs accessible to the larger community.
Blogs are a point of interest of mine; I obviously blog and research the use of blogs and I’m very interested in seeing how this technology is used within library systems. At the MCPL there is an internal staff blog that’s used for news and to communicate information that would be useful to any staff member. I haven’t talked to many people about it but there are usually a one or two short posts per day and it seems to be an effective and cheap method of disseminating information to the staff as a whole.
Blogs helped get me interested in the issue of information accessibility and librarianship as a profession. I was reading librarian.net well before I applied to graduate school and had the opportunity to have the blog’s author, Jessamyn West, out to speak at our program. Within the field of librarianship I regularly read librarian bloggers like Michael Stephens (a co-author and participant in this article, and an excellent speaker in his own right) and met an Indiana librarian buddy before I ever set foot in the state.
Not to sound too techno-utopian, but I do feel that if well-used and well-executed, blogs can serve the library community well – as nodes of personal and professional communication which link us together more closely, in a vast network of patrons and professionals.