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taygete

adventures, by accident

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library

Travel

Work has been crazy so far this semester, and of course that’s never helped by an early-semester vacation. Nevertheless, T and I ducked away to his home state of Connecticut for a few days the week after Labor Day for a quick trip. His parents threw us a wonderful, thoughtful engagement party with lots of delicious food and homemade cookies, and we enjoyed unseasonably lovely weather. We spent one day in New York City, shopping, eating, and of course checking out the New York Public Library. We toured a few other CT public libraries, and T took me to a deli he used to frequent in his finance days (it was delicious, and picnicking between a yacht club and golf course is quite scenic), and spent lots of quality time with his family. Re-acclimating to the mundane nature¬†of everyday life has been quite challenging!

Check out pictures from our trip here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/taygete05/sets/72157646860157819/.

Bloggery

If I were the sort of person to list things I hate, moving and hot/humid weather would absolutely be in the top 5. Possibly the top three. Suffice it to say, I am in a better mood post-move than I was for the month pre-move.

Luckily, even though I live without central air or ceiling fans (but window unites now, yay!), I work in a well air conditioned building, and therefore have respite from the heat during the bulk of the day. It’s gotten cooler, but it’s still wildly humid, and the AC is much appreciated.

Once nice thing about summer at a library like mine is that, while still quite busy, there is a little time to catch up on professional reading related to projects we’re working on. Right now I have a stack of articles on faculty spaces in academic libraries, another on screencasting tutorials for students, and a number of bookmarked blog posts on social media (Pinterest especially) to catch up on. I enjoy that the library world has a plethora of blogs in a wide range of topics and specialties, some of which are highly personal and some of which are strictly professional. I find it’s usually easy to get a few different perspectives on the topics of the day, even given that there’s a bit of an echo chamber effect (blogs talking to each other but not engaging with wider audiences).

I follow a number of the “big” names – In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Hack Library School, and the Smithsonian Libraries Blog, to name a few. There are also a few smaller* blogs I follow, and I’d recommend to anybody interested in the topic:

SearchReSearch: Billed as “A blog about search, search skills, teaching search, learning how to search, learning how to use Google effectively, learning how to do research.” It focuses heavily on using Google’s tools for research, which I find helpful, both because Google does provide a number of powerful search tools, and because it’s relied on heavily and to some degree trusted by the public. While librarians occasionally steer people away from Google and similar broad public-web search activities, it’s also important to be able to meet the user where they are, and I think SearchReSearch provides good skills for librarians to do just this. I also like the blog/author’s approach to information searching, wherein a problem is presented, readers are encouraged to participate by “searching along with” one another, and then strategies and tactics are discussed. It’s as useful, if not more so, than the “Information Access Services” class I took in graduate school.

Eleventh Stack: A blog from the Main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh highlighting their offerings, co-written by a number of librarians and staff members. I’m not sure how I was turned on to this blog, but I really like that it blends in a personal element to discussions about home renovations, diabetes treatment, and other topics. The bloggers do a good job of presenting the library as a solution to their problems or questions – framing the library as a resource for fun and information.

Swiss Army Librarian: This blog, written by one public library reference librarian, is really hands-on and tactical, as the name implies! He talks about little things, like the “Reference Question of the Week” post, where he discusses a specific reference question and how he did (or didn’t) find the answer. He also discusses library policies and ongoing projects in a frank and open manner. I like that this blog provides some transparency to library administration, and Herzog is really upfront about what has or has not worked for various policies and projects the library has undertaken. It’s a good behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of a public library.

Finally, two blogs I like, but aren’t updated as often: The ‘M’ Word: Marketing Libraries and The Outreach Librarian. The former is written by a pair of librarians presenting information on marketing trends and tactics in the library world, bringing in outside experience and a tried-and-true perspective. The latter is written by a blogger who does both academic and public style library outreach, and highlights the work of other outreach librarians. Individual programs and assessment are discussed, and it’s a great place to go for inspiration.

What library blogs do you read?

* By smaller, I’m not even considering delving into hit counts, blogbacks or other quantitative metrics. I consider these smaller because of the relatively small staff behind the blogs, the individual perspectives they provide, and especially the practicality of the tips they provide.

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