For the professional blogs activity, I followed two prominent blogs by librarians, Free Range Librarian and The Travelin’ Librarian. These blogs were enjoyable because they each had a unique voice and balanced professional topics and insights with personal musings. By giving some of the explorations of issues in librarianship a personal touch, the bloggers were able to connect more convincingly with their audience, which is composed of both those in the field and outsiders.
The Travelin’ Librarian is maintained by Michael Sauers, who is the Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library commission, where he trains other librarians in the use of new technology. He authors scholastic articles and books, and does many presentations every year, a number of which he makes available on his website.
As the nature of his day job might suggest, Sauers blogs quite a bit about technology of all kinds and its repercussions, including the nature of information in the age of the internet, and current events such as the Google books case and the New York Public Library’s recent digitization projects. Sauers’ weekly Tuesday Tech Tip blog is invaluable in itself, providing a wide array of tips and tricks about a multitude of software and websites. What I enjoy most about Travelin’ Librarian is that Sauers unabashedly embraces his inner geek— his website header is a quote from cult sci-fi tv show Doctor Who— and strives to post funny and interesting videos, cartoons, and clips to keep things from getting stale.
Free Range Librarian is authored by K.G.Schneider, the University Librarian at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. Schneider is a veteran library professional— she’s authored dozens of articles and even a couple of books, was a writer for ALA’s American Libraries magazine, and has won some awards for her contributions to the field. The thing that makes her blog noteworthy is her wickedly sharp sense of humor; every entry is laced with acerbic wisdom and self-deprecating one-liners, and it makes her blog a joy to read. She jokes about readers “shower[ing] her with compliments such as ‘Stop using the word suck, you tramp!’ and ‘My cataloger can beat up your metadata specialist!’” in her “About” section, and this is a typical example of her natural sarcasm.
The Free Range Librarian covers a variety of topics: her continuing education via a doctoral program, reflections on online instruction and the necessary technology, and the importance of shared print initiatives. However, what I found most useful about the blog was the way Schneider keeps the somewhat daunting world of librarian academia in perspective. To a new MLIS student such as myself, the slight tone of condescension or the feeling of elitism in established library sources (not to mention certain librarians themselves!) can be off-putting. In blog entries like “Life Sans Banana Slicer,” Schneider soothes those brave librarians who cannot publish volumes or run for offices (and those of us who have yet to reach that stage in our journeys) by writing, “The odds are you’re amazing anyway,” as she unapologetically mocks the overambitious “Movers and Shakers” who don’t always know what they’re doing, either. And, she proudly notes, contemplating her forthcoming foray into doctoral studies, “NO! I haven’t mastered APA citation!” – which is indeed a comfort to library science students everywhere.
Sauers, M. The Travelin’ Librarian. Retrieved from http://travelinlibrarian.info/
Schneider, K.G. Free Range Librarian. Retrieved from http://freerangelibrarian.com/