Thanks to Doug Johnson (on his blog) and Peter Milbury (on LM_NET), I was also asked to share the reasons why I blog. I am certainly the newby to this group…and after reading what Joyce Valenza wrote…and Doug and Alice Yucht and Sara Kelly John …I would invite other school library bloggers to share your responses to these questions as well. Here were my responses to Beverly Goldberg’s “school library” blog questions for American Libraries:
What differentiates blogging for library media specialists from writing for the generalist biblioblogs?
The thing I have learned about blogging is that it takes some time to find your “voice.” When I used to teach writing, I taught students that their voice would emerge about any chosen topic. The same holds true for blogging. I started my blog thinking I would talk about libraries and online learning and education in general. However, after reading other people’s blogs and writing my own, I have found that the “school library” voice is not well represented in the blogosphere. Having worked in and around school libraries for 15 years, I have discovered I have more to share about school libraries than other topics. So, that has become my major focus.
What are your professional objectives for blogging?
To provide thoughts and ideas about the changing nature of school libraries. I also think it is important to blog on a daily basis because there is always something new to share and talk about. I would say my goal is to encourage other school library personnel to blog about the great things happening in their libraries. I’m also encouraging administrators in my school district to start a blog as well. As with many emerging technologies, you don’t know what they can do for you until you start using them.
How much time do you devote to blogging?
About two hours per week on my own blog. I find I do my best writing first thing in the morning.
How does having a professional blog impact your work with students?
I don’t directly work with students. However, indirectly, it is a model of how to put words together, how to select topics to write about, and put your thoughts down to share with others.
What are the pitfalls for a school librarian to be writing a blog?
As with all “new” technologies and/or new initiatives, it takes time to learn how to make it work into your current schedule. So, the pitfall, if you want to call it that, is that it will replace the time you are spending doing something else. However, blogging brings new and useful ideas into my life and keeps me up to date with the latest issues of education, technology and libraries in a way that email, websites, and discussion groups never have.
How does blogging affect your interaction with nonlibrarian colleagues?
Not at all.
What has been the response of your faculty and/or administration to your blog?
I have freely share with others that I have a blog. I think the response is generally neutral for most of the people I work with, because it is not something they have thought about. Even when I share that there are fifth graders in China who are blogging every day, people are too busy with the things they already do to be concerned about the fact that I have started a blog.
If your administration was wary of you blogging, how did you allay those fears?
I have put together a short presentation for my administration and school board members to educate them about the positive aspects of blogging and Web 2.0 tools. I have presented it to my immediate administrators and hope to present it to a sub committee of our school board soon. My message to all has been that we need to be proactive in educating teachers and students about the appropriate uses of the Web on a yearly basis. The presentation is on my wiki at: http://robdarrow.wikispaces.com for anyone who would like to use it. I call it my “Web 2.0 journey.”
What is the greatest benefit to blogging about school libraries?
Sharing about the great things that happen in school libraries and questioning others about why they are not including school libraries or school library personnel in their school design. I wrote a series of blog posts showing my disappointment about the number of “high tech” schools that were built without a library, including Microsoft’s “School of the Future” in Philadelphia. It is nice to have a forum where we can cause other people to think about what they are doing to inhibit increased literacy through libraries in schools.
How do you see the evolution of blogging (i.e., the growth of online video) as intersecting with the job of school media professionals?
When the Web first came into existence, some school library media professionals learned about creating web pages and created their own. Today, most school libraries have a web page that is linked off the main school web page. However, there are still school libraries out there that don’t have a web page at all. I think school libraries need to move with the times and be on the cutting edge of technology use…because this is the world in which our students are living. Blogging is a powerful information tool that should be incorporated into every school library. It can be used to highlight collaborative lessons, new books, events in the library, student reading events, student lead book discussions, etc, etc, etc. We have only scratched the surface on what a blog can do for a school library.