Monday 26 November 2012

ALIA Sydney Event: Trivia Night

Celebrate the end of a fantastic year of networking and professional development with some trivia. There will be plenty of challenging questions, but no sports (we promise!)...
This is a great opportunity for networking with familiar faces - and new people!!!
Organise a team of 4-5, or we can arrange a team for you- just let us know when you RSVP.
Awesome prizes courtesy of Thomson Reuters.
Light refreshments will be served. 

Venue: CQUniversity Sydney, 400 Kent St, Sydney (near Town Hall)
Date: Tuesday 11 December
Time: 6pm (for a 6:30pm start) - 8:30pm
Cost: $7 ALIA members / $10 non-members
Spaces are limited, so RSVP now to

Tuesday 20 November 2012

ALIA Sydney Committee 2013: Call for Expressions of Interest

Note: deadline for Expressions of Interest extended to 17 December!

ALIA Sydney presents a selection of formal and informal professional development events to encourage discussion and critical engagement and create networking opportunities across the library and information sector in Sydney and beyond. The ALIA Sydney committee is a group of vibrant and committed volunteers who make it all possible.

ALIA Sydney is currently looking for new committee members to join our team. Through these roles you will have the chance to develop skills in event and project management, and make vital professional connections through your contribution to our community of practice-- plus you can have a lot of fun along the way. 

Each of the below positions is voluntary in nature, and each role is for a 12-24 month period. These roles are to commence in the year 2013, which is a very exciting time, building on some great events held this year.

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) should be received by COB Monday 17 December 2012. EOIs should briefly introduce yourself and cover the criteria outlined for the position of interest. All EOIs and any questions should be directed to the ALIA Sydney Convenor, Crystal Choi and Convenor-Elect, Amy Croft at or call 0414 477 493.

Coordinator x 1

This role shares responsibility for coordinating the professional development events of ALIA Sydney in conjunction with our existing Coordinators.

Each Coordinator is expected to:
  • Plan and organise 2 events each year in conjunction with the rest of the committee.
  • Liaise with the ALIA Sydney Convenor for event ideas and ongoing support.
  • Liaise with the ALIA Sydney Treasurer for event budget submissions.
  • Submit updates for the ALIA Sydney blog at least monthly, including upcoming events (
  • Post on/Update ALIA Sydney social networking pages regularly, featuring both ALIA Sydney event promotion and current awareness of library and information sector news and issues.
  • Ensure a consistent and professional format for all ALIA Sydney communications in line with our communication strategy and templates.
Average Time Demand per month: 8 hours (prep plus actual events)

The interested person should:
  • Be, or be willing to become, a current member of ALIA.
  • Have an active interest in professional development with the Library & Information Sector.
  • Maintain an active awareness of new issues and development within the L & I Sector.
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills so they can be good at kick starting conversations and making introductions to put attendees at ease.
  • Have a head full of ideas for ALIA Sydney events, promotions and online content (eg blog posts).
  • A strong interest or expertise in technology, career development, emerging or other topics related to the L & I sector.

Event Officers x 3

This developmental role helps make events happen. On a rotating basis, the Event Officers will be teamed up with the Coordinators to help with event organisation and management.

Each Officer is expected to:
  • Assist with the organisation of at least 2-3 events each year in conjunction with the Coordinator and Convenor.
  • Post on/update ALIA Sydney social networking pages regularly, featuring both ALIA Sydney event promotion and current awareness of library and information sector news and issues.
  • Submit updates for the ALIA Sydney blog at least monthly, including reports on ALIA Sydney events (
  • Ensure a consistent and professional format for all ALIA Sydney communications in line with our communication strategy and templates.
Average Time Demand per month: 4 hours (2 hours prep plus actual events)

The interested person should:
  • Be, or be willing to become, a current member of ALIA.
  • Have an active interest in professional development with the Library & Information Sector.
  • Maintain an active awareness of new issues and development within the L & I Sector.
  • Have strong communication and collaboration skills. 

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Shades of grey notes

Hi there!
For those of you who weren't able to attend last weeks event at Parramatta Library 'Shades of grey' here are some notes on the talks from our three presenters.

Philip Anderson
First up, we had Philip Anderson from Wyong Library who discussed the implementation and maintenance of the library's Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgendered collection, which was launched in 2007 with 200 titles. It has now grown to its maximum agreed size of 1400 items which is between 1% and 2% of the total collection. Philip pointed out that the items in this original collection were actually already part of the broader collection, but were not defined or easily identifiable.
Most libraries will already have a GLBT collection under similar circumstances for example, does your library hold Four Weddings and a Funeral? Or Oranges are not the only fruit? Are they consistently identifiable as belonging to a GLBT collection?
The approach that Philip and Wyong Library have taken is to identify the collection virtually. They have created a subject heading of 'GLBT' which is used on every single item in the collection. This means that the titles are spread throughout the collection and across the Library's multiple branches.

After implementation of this system it was identified that gay books had lower borrowing stats than the lesbian books. After further consideration, Philip considered that perhaps this was because of the rather suggestive covers on some of the gay titles, such as the cover of 'The Secret Tunnel' Philip will be watching these stats closely when the library introduces RFID self checkers later this year which may offer borrowers a little more discretion when checking the titles out. Philip has also considered that a higher level of theft of this collection possibly has the same basis of people being a little uncomfortable taking their titles to the counter.
The library has received few complaints about the collection. The issues that have arisen have often involved the staff and their reactions to the collection, rather than the public. All the complaints that have been received involved the DVD collection.
Philip discussed classification and that R18 DVDs are the highest turnover collection at Wyong. The demand is there, and the library is offering items that can be bought over the counter at any store. There have been incidents where customers have taken M rated DVDs from the GLBT collection home and have made a complaint. The library's strategy for dealing with this is to make it clear that responsibility lies with parents or carers to supervise the loans of children according to their own values and explain borrowers who take issue with R18 DVDs or the GLBT collection that the library is providing services to a range of different people in the community.
Philip stresses that in these situations, statistics are your friend and can be used to show both customers and other staff that there is an identified need for these parts of the collection. It is also important to understand classifications and censorship laws and how they work.
Philip is available to answer questions for anyone interested in finding out more at

Katherine Mitchell
Next we had Katherine Mitchell who stepped in for Debbie Best who was unable to attend the night. Katherine is the Information Access Librarian at Parramatta and was actually the first Young Adult Librarian in NSW.
Katherine was discussing the way the library has handled some issues with young people in the library who have been disruptive.
Parramatta is a growth LGA and a bit of a melting pot with many young people from different backgrounds and experiences coming together in the one place. The library was dealing with groups of school kids coming in at all times of the day and being disruptive seemingly for the sake of it. The situation reached boiling point when staff were threatened and intimidated and the library management approached Council about the issue.
They were able to get the Lord Mayor on board, who happened to have a big interest in youth issues. The issue of poor behaviour by some young people was then identified as being CBD wide.
Working with the Council, the library was able to forge a network of stakeholders, including the local schools to focus on the issue. Through these contacts a protocol was able to be initiated.
The library learned about the schools system of giving students pass outs to leave the school grounds on free periods.  Through the partnerships with the schools, they were in a position to ask the students for their pass outs and to be in contact with the school to check the schedules of the students that were in the library.
This process empowered the staff in the library who were able to see the students as young kids who were doing the wrong thing and who could be sent back to school, rather than the scary, disruptive customers who were causing so much trouble.
Katherine stressed that this network of support from the community is imperative in overcoming such situations and that having all staff on the same page, with a consistent message will help overcome these situations.

Linda Bathur
Last up we had Linda Bathur from Waverley Library discussing some of her experiences and asking us to think critically about difficult situations in the library.
She raised examples of customers she has come across, such as drug users disrupting others with paranoid outbursts, a  man who was so in need of a bath he could clear a room not just when he was there, but for hours after, and a homeless man who was very surprised to be asked to leave when staff found him on a bean bag in the children's library, swigging on a beer. Linda also raised the more socially accepted 'difficult customers' such as the mothers whose children are perfect and couldn't possibly be introducing other younger children to porn on the library's computers, and of course the customers who will not pay their overdue fees because they always return their books on time!
Linda questioned our term of 'difficult customer' and wondered whether we are setting ourselves up for further issues based on assumptions with these customers later on. Would it be more appropriate to take the customer out of the equation and call it a 'difficult situation?'
She asked us to consider whether dealing with these situations should be part of our job, which we all agreed was a yes, as libraries pride themselves on being 'the last bastions of free public space and welcoming to everyone.'
So whose problem are these situations? Management or staff? Linda agrees that in many instances frontline staff will try to defuse a situation but if the customer will not back down will then pass the issue up to management. This is often the best way to deal with the situations, but Linda stressed should not be the only way. She pointed out that often managers are no better equipped than the frontline staff in dealing with the issues. The best outcome would be creating workable solutions for all staff through developing strategies, policies and procedures for staff to reduce problems. This could be in the form of a 'customer service charter' or protocols for dealing with homelessness. It is important through such documents to focus on the behaviour that is an issue rather than particular types of people. Training staff to deal with situations and promoting morale and sense of safety are also important as is stressing that no conversation about dealing with difficulties can occur without also discussing good customer service.
Some of the tips Linda left us with are:
  • listen and apologise for the customers inconvenience, for example 'I'm sorry you have had that experience/ that you are feeling this way'
  • be diplomatic- 'getting to the bottom of this is just as important to me as it is to you'
  • go in to 'computer' mode- don't rise to any bait or get emotional
  • show empathy
  • show appreciation for customer feedback- 'thank you for bringing this up with us, we will be following it up at our next staff meeting'
Thanks so much to all of our fantastic speakers. I think we all picked up some valuable skills on the night.
Thanks also to all those in attendance, we hope to see you again at the next event!


Sunday 7 October 2012

Project Next Generation

On a recent trip to the US I had the pleasure of meeting with Cynthia Smith and Alyce Jackson of the Peoria Public Library to talk about Project Next Generation.

‘The goal of Next Generation is to bridge the digital divide by making recent technologies accessible to students who have limited access to computers. At the same time, the program strives to provide a safe and friendly environment filled with positive role models.’

In Peoria, Project Next Generation has been running at the Lincoln branch since 2002. The Lincoln Branch of the Peoria Public Library opened in 1911 with a new addition opened in 2011. This new addition included a state of the art computer lab where the Next Generation session takes place.

The session participants complete homework and work on projects using a variety of technology. Past projects include a newsletter and a science fair. Initially the library approached schools to refer students to the program but now after a decade the program has such a positive reputation the program is at capacity. The volunteer mentors come from a variety of fields and guest speakers also come to talk about different aspects of technology. 

This area of Peoria has a particular need because without this program many of these young people would not otherwise have computer access for academic or personal pursuits. (note the burned out building just outside of the Library's computer lab) But the program goes beyond serving just the academic needs by supporting whole person. Mentors regularly go beyond technology training by offering guidance and perspective to these young people. 

While talking, I heard the story about one young participant who came into the program at the bottom half of his class. He was struggling and was particularly anxious about public speaking and presenting in front of his peers. After participating in Next Generation his was at the top of his class and also presented at the Library’s science fair in front of students and adults. I do not doubt that these results are seen time and time again in this program. 

Nitty gritty-
  • Target students in years 5-8
  • Volunteers and librarians plan out the sessions, goals and support.
  • Sessions are run by tech savvy volunteers from the local community (librarians help out when needed)
  • Weekly sessions take place in 10 week blocks during the school year and some summer classes occur as wellParents sign a contact to promise students attend sessions
  • Group sessions are small (no more  than 13 participants per session)
  • The program is run at no cost to participants

For more information see Project Next Generation. Thank you to Cynthia and Alyce for taking time out of their busy schedules to show me around and answer so many questions. I found my visit very inspiring. It is amazing to see how one library can have such a postivei impact in their community.

-Amy Barker

Tuesday 2 October 2012

ALIA Sydney Group Committee 2013

The ALIA Sydney Group Committee has been doing some planning for 2013, and there will be a number of vacancies on the committee, which we'll be looking to fill with enthusiastic library and information professionals who would like to get involved.

We'll be inviting people to put in Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for a variety of roles soon, so keep an eye out for this upcoming announcement. In the meantime, if you're interested in finding out more about what the ALIA Sydney Group does, and how our professional development events run, please come along to our next event, which will be held this Thursday 4th October at Parramatta Library and check it out for yourself!

We'll be discussing some of the more challenging and controversial issues facing libraries, from censorship to dealing with difficult customers, but the committee members will be more than happy to talk about what's involved with being an ALIA Sydney group committee member before and after the event.

If you're interested in organising professional development events for LIS professionals, interested in your own career and professional development and would like the opportunity to network, work alongside and meet lots of other LIS professionals, please consider putting in an EOI- we'd love to hear from you. Details will be released shortly.

If you're thinking about coming along to our next event, I've copied the details below:


The ALIA Sydney group is heading to Parramatta!
Come along and join us for a lively evening of discussion around some of the more controversial issues that libraries are facing. Details below:
Have you dealt with some tricky situations in the library where there was no black and white answer? Has someone challenged the inclusion of something in the library collection? Have you dealt with an unusual customer?
If you're interested in unpacking situations like these, developing strategies to address them and come up with solutions, then come along to ALIA Sydney's Shades of Grey workshop!
6.00-7.45pm Thursday 4 October
Darug Room
Parramatta City Library
Civic Place, Parramatta
ALIA members $5 entry, non members $7 entry
Special guests include
  • Philip Anderson from Wyong Library who implemented a Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgendered collection
  • Public Library Managers including Linda Bathur from Waverley and Debbie Best from Parramatta who will be talking about their experiences handling tricky situations including managing the homeless users of the library, managing young people in the library and maintaining the public image of their organisation
Following presentations from our guests you will participate in a workshop to discuss the issues and brainstorm some ideas so that YOU can help inform the decisions that affect your library.
Please RSVP to 
Light refreshments will be provided. 

Recruitment and social media

Hi there,
We've all heard the stories of employers doing a search on prospective employees and checking Facebook for respectability in photo galleries and wall posts, but I came across something new in the last recruitment I did.
I received an emailed application that referred me to look up the person's LinkedIn page. This was the first time I'd come across this, even though it makes a lot of sense. However, it got me thinking about recruitment and how the use of LinkedIn fits with Council's often strict recruitment guidelines.
I see how LinkedIn is a great tool to use as a resume and to give insight to your career progression. It doesn't however automatically answer the essential criteria of a job advert, which is the most important part of the application (especially when applying for Council jobs).
It's so important to address the criteria thoroughly with clear examples of how you meet each of them.
Referencing LinkedIn in your answers to the criteria is a great example of how you are social media savvy or as an extra 'read on' section, but don't rely on it as your entire application.
The other danger in relying on referring to LinkedIn is that it does add an extra step to someone viewing your application. It's important to make your application clear and easy to read with subheadings for the criteria, for example, to break up the sections. Always remember that the person reading your application may have read 150 other applications before yours, so make it as easy as possible for them. Sending them off to look at a website is an extra step and should be used to complement your application, not replace it at this stage.
It is a great thing to add to your application however and I think including it is a step in the right direction.

I'm interested to see the future of recruitment with sites such as this. Do you think they will one day replace the traditional cover letter and resume combo?
How do you use LinkedIn or sites like it?


Friday 14 September 2012

ALIA Sydney's upcoming event 'Shades of grey'

Shades of grey

Have you dealt with some tricky situations in the library where there was no black and white answer? Has someone challenged the inclusion of something in the library collection? Have you dealt with an unusual customer?

If you're interested in unpacking situations like these, developing strategies to address them and come up with solutions, then come along to ALIA Sydney's Shades of grey workshop!

6.00-7.45pm Thursday 4 October
Darug Room
Parramatta City Library
Civic Place, Parramatta

ALIA members $5 entry, non members $7 entry
Special guests include
  • Philip Anderson from Wyong Library who implemented a Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgendered collection
  • Public Library Managers including Linda Bathur from Waverley and Debbie Best from Parramatta who will be talking about their experiences handling tricky situations including managing the homeless users of the library, managing young people in the library and maintaining the public image of their organisation
Following presentations from our guests you will participate in a workshop to discuss the issues and brainstorm some ideas so that YOU can help inform the decisions that affect your library.
Please RSVP to 

Monday 13 August 2012

Beyond readers advisory

Hi there,
Just last week I finally completed my first lot of training in readers advisory.
Various circumstances have prevented me from ever completing this training throughout my career and I had found myself relying on just four resources whenever things got tricky at the lending desk: the library's reading lists,, the librarian's bible (Who else writes like...) and finally the shelves themselves for a quick search of ideas to offer people.

Well, my mind has been expanded since the training and I've discovered some new sites, some new authors and genres and what questions I could ask to make it easier to get to the bottom of the borrowers wants and needs.

I have also just recently begun using the Xbox Zune service at home (which is subscription based) which allows me to stream the music of just about any artist I care to listen to. I love it, but the only problem I have with it is that when faced with the possibility of listening to absolutely anything I want, I often draw a complete blank and forget the long list I have running in my head of bands I need to hear.

I guess I kind of feel like a lot of borrowers must in the library who come in, see a huge collection of options and just don't know where to start. So I started thinking, wouldn't it be great if there was somewhere I could go to have a 'listeners advisory' service. I investigated further and found that such services are out there!

I've discovered which can provide recommendations on not just music, but movies, tv shows, books, and games. All you need to do is put an assortment of say, bands that you really dig into the engine and voila, a cloud of bands that people are telling you you should listen to and bands that you forgot you liked appears like magic. There's also a list on the page of things that 'seem to be kind of popular' if you just want to follow trends or keep up with the conversation at a party ;)

I tried it with books and included authors as far reaching in my tastes as I could think of and included Carson Mccullers, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Donna Tartt, Douglas Adams, Charles Bukowski and Margaret Atwood.
I got a great mix of 30 authors, some of which I'd read and enjoyed, which means the engine was on the right track and others I was yet to. If you're into it, you can then create a taste profile by liking or disliking or 'meh-ing' the suggestions put forward. I haven't gone that far yet, but think it's another great tool for suggesting new things to people.

Does anyone else have any great tools that they use for readers advisory or for just discovering new things? What do you turn to when people ask you about music in the library, or movies, or games or how about apps?

Can't wait to hear back!

Thursday 9 August 2012

Social media and libraries

It’s been a busy year- I can’t believe it’s already August. Where has the year gone?
The ALIA Sydney group has been busy organising our next event, which will be a special free event to celebrate the National Year of Reading, put on in conjunction with the City of Sydney Library. We’ll hear from a variety of guest speakers on their thoughts on the future of reading and the event will be chaired by Mal Booth, the University Librarian at UTS Library. We hope to see you there! For more details, and how to register, see here. Update (13/8/12): Due to poplular demand, this event is now fully booked.
What else has been happening? Well, I just presented a session earlier this week at an interactive study day in Melbourne, put on by the Ark group on ‘Next Generation Libraries’ and as mentioned in my last blog post, I presented at the ALIA Biennial conference last month, so I’ve been pretty busy!
It was my first time presenting at a conference- while nerve-wracking, it was an incredible experience. It was a fantastic way to round off all of the hard work that went into my research (although I sense that this is just the beginning!) It was wonderful to see so many people in attendance. My research focussed on social media roles in Australian libraries, and I reported on the results of a survey that people working in Australian libraries were invited to complete.
I hypothesised that many Australian libraries have a social media presence, and that many people who work in Australian libraries are doing work-related social media tasks, but that social media tasks aren’t necessarily formally recognised in organisation-wide structures such as strategic plans and communication plans or in employee-level structures such as annual performance reviews, job advertisement descriptions or in duty statements.
The results of my survey demonstrated that some libraries already include social media into their strategic plans and communications plans, while other libraries do not. The same goes for recognising social media roles in performance reviews, duty statements and job advertisement descriptions. In fact, many people who completed the survey said that they don’t have social media tasks formally recognised in these three ways, despite the fact that they are doing social media tasks at work (it seems as though some people have collected it as a duty, and it’s been absorbed into their day-to-day tasks, without this formal recognition.)
So my argument would be for libraries to start thinking about how much they value the use of social media, and whether it should be worthy of inclusion into these structures. I think social media is extremely valuable, and that it should be included into formal library structures (but which particular structures and how social media is used, does depend on each individual library.)
There are many ways in which social media can be introduced. For example, if your library chooses not to use social media to interact with your client groups, social media could be used as a great professional development tool for library and information professionals to build their professional learning networks (PLNs).
Social media is now a mainstream way of communication, and to quote Phil Bradley, who is the current president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in the UK: ‘Social media is enormously important… social media is not a ‘nice bolt-on’ or something that we can put off learning until tomorrow. It’s not an added burden: it’s the future for the library profession-without a shadow of doubt’ (from the January 2012 CILIP Update newsletter).
Of course, there are still many organisations that may be constrained by policies that don’t enable them to use social media in work-related contexts, even if they’d like to implement it. For people who find themselves in this situation, I suggest to try and try again. Do your research and put forward a strong argument for different models of social media use and point out the many advantages of using social media. I sense that with the increasing socialisation of the internet and the way in which social networking tools are increasingly becoming more popular in the workplace, it’s only going to be a matter of time that organisations see the value of social media. (Just look at the increasing popularity of social networking sites for professional contexts, such as LinkedIn or Yammer. Incidentally Yammer was recently acquired by Microsoft, so I wouldn’t be surprised if social networking becomes part of the next rollout of Office.)
 What do you think? Is social media something that you think library and information professionals should be using? How have you argued the case for doing work-related social media tasks at your library?
If you’re interested in reading more about my research, you can download the paper here.
- Crystal
Crystal is the convenor of the ALIA Sydney Group and is a Faculty Liaison Librarian at the University of Sydney Library. She tweets @crystalibrary.
All opinions expressed are her own.

Friday 27 July 2012

ALIA Biennial- the value of discovery

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I recently attended the ALIA Biennial conference and I had a great time. It was a conference of firsts for me- I was on the social media committee, presented my first paper and I took part in the mentoring programme as a mentor for the first time. I also spoke at the First Timers’ Breakfast.
There was a great breadth of papers presented and some really wonderful keynote speakers. Some of the highlights were hearing Justice Kirby’s keynote address, as well as hearing the ideas put forward by Dr Tom Ruthven on data mining and Professor Mitchell Whitehall on the design of beautiful interfaces that encourage exploration and discovery.
Besides all of the ideas that I took away from listening to the keynotes and presentations, I also took away a lot of other valuable experiences with me, such as all of the new people I met and talked to, all of the people I started following on Twitter, participating and monitoring the social media streams (did you know that the #ALIA2012 tag actually trended in Australia at one stage?) and of course, experiencing presenting for the first time. In fact, I would have to say that the informal and incidental learning experiences and discoveries that came about from talking to people during breaks, meal times, at the informal Tweet up and after my presentation, were probably the most valuable to me personally. I made some wonderful new friends and acquaintances, who have expanded my professional learning network considerably, whom I hope to remain in contact with long after the heady rush of attending the conference itself fades away. 
Judging from the tweet traffic on Twitter, everyone seemed to enjoy joining in the conversation. And judging from the traffic still being tagged with the #ALIA2012 hash tag, as everyone is preparing to report back their discoveries to their colleagues, people are still abuzz with conference chatter, even three weeks after the conference. This really demonstrates the impact that the conference-going experience has had on the LIS community. And it's a great community to be a part of. From my experience, we're a generous and passionate bunch of people and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. 
Did you attend the ALIA Binenial? What was the most valuable thing you took away from it? Even if you didn’t attend the conference, you can search for the Twitter hash tag #ALIA2012 and check out some of the archives of Tweets that were captured on the ALIA Biennial blog.  
- Crystal
Crystal is the convenor of the ALIA Sydney group and tweets @crystalibrary.

Sunday 22 July 2012

100 Best blogs for School Librarians

Carol Brown kindly shared this blogpost, the original can be found here 

100 best blogs school librarians 

We hope you find this of interest and thank Carol for sharing.

If there is a topic you would like to share, or know more about, let us know by email at

Vikki Bell, for ALIA Sydney Committee
Principal, Bellinform Research

100 Best Blogs for School Librarians (Updated)

School librarians have much more on their plates than just managing books, often spending a great deal of time educating students and teachers, learning about and implementing new technology, and reading up on the latest new releases for young adults and children. It can be a lot to keep up with, but luckily other librarians are sharing their wisdom, experience, and expertise via the web. We’ve brought together 100 excellent blogs written by teachers, librarians, tech experts, and book lovers that can act as amazing resources for any school librarian.
This is an update of our previous list, as technology has changed, new voices have emerged, and some previously great blogs have gone dormant, making it necessary to revise and re-curate our selections. Hopefully this list will be as useful to those in library and education fields as the first.
Librarian Blogs
Here you’ll find some amazing blogs written by librarians at all kinds of institutions.
  1. Free Range Librarian:
    Librarian K.G. Schneider blogs about librarianship, writing, nonfiction, and a host of other topics here.
  2. Walt at Random:
    Walt Crawford is semi-retired, but that hasn’t slowed his interest in libraries, leadership, and technology, all of which he blogs about on this site.
  3. Cozy Up and Read:
    Head to youth service librarian Valerie’s blog to learn more about early childhood education, children’s lit, and working as a librarian.
  4. Libraryman:
    With topics ranging from community to technology to censorship, any librarian is bound to find something of interest on librarian and PEZ enthusiast Michael’s blog.
  5. Musings about Librarianship:
    This blog tracks interesting ideas for libraries and a wide range of other library centered topics, all written by senior librarian Aaron Tay.
    Formerly the Inspired Library School Student, this blog changed its name due to the fact that its author is no longer a student. Now blogger Graham is a full-fledged librarian who shares his experiences here.
  7. From the Library Director’s Desk:
    Julie Milavec is the library director for the Plainfield Library District. Her blog gives you some insights into the trials and tribulations that go along with the position, as well as some ideas that could help to improve any library.
  8. Closed Stacks:
    A collaborative blog, this site draws on the experiences of different types of librarians from those working in the city to those in the ‘burbs to those specializing in medical texts, offering a unique look at all sides of being a librarian.
  9. Librarian by Day:
    Librarian Bobbi Newman shares her passion for libraries and technology on this blog, speaking passionately about issues like the digital divide and transliteracy.
  10. Abby the Librarian:
    Abby is a youth librarian in Southern Indiana, and on her site you’ll find great book recommendations as well as regular book challenges.
  11. In the Library with the Lead Pipe:
    This multi-author blog is written by a team of librarians who touch on issues like education, administration, community members, and much more.
  12. Hi Miss Julie!:
    Learn more about the work this Chicagoland children’s librarian does, with a special focus on getting the youngest kids, toddlers, and preschoolers loving books.
  13. School Librarian Blogs
    These blogs are ideal reading for school librarians who want to connect with others in the profession.
    1. School Library Journal Blogs:
      Head to this site to read a collection of blogs written by librarians, educators, and reading enthusiasts.
    2. The True Adventures of a High School Librarian:
      This high school librarian shares her experiences with work, learning, and growing as a professional.
    3. Wanderings:
      Former high school librarian Jacquie Henry talks about the future of libraries, learning, and reading on this blog.
    4. Venn Librarian:
      Librarian Laura Pearle explores the intersection of schools, libraries, and technology here.
    5. TLC = Tech + Library + Classroom:
      Head to this blog to hear from Tara, an ES librarian at the International School in Bangkok, as she discusses the ways new technologies can help teachers teach and students learn.
    6. School Librarian in Action:
      School librarian Zarah shares her experiences teaching, working with students, and embracing new developments in technology here.
    7. Mighty Little Librarian:
      On this blog, middle school librarian Tiffany Whitehead explores books, social media, technology, and more.
    8. Lucacept:
      Get a look at the library science world from down under, as information services professional Jenny Luca talks about tech and education.
    9. Library Advocate:
      Librarians Jackie and Tracy share the blogging duties here, sharing fun, often motivational content for school librarians.
    10. K-M the Librarian:
      This school librarian shares insights into her work at a high school, with pictures, fun activities, and relentless optimism.
    11. Archipelago:
      School librarians should head to this blog by Elisabeth Abarbanel, a librarian at a K-12 school in LA, as it’s full of ideas, resources, and book reviews that can be incredibly helpful.
    12. Eliterate Librarian:
      Middle school librarian Tamara Cox showcases her work at school as well as her passion for edtech on this blog.
    13. Heart of the School:
      Need a little inspiration? This site was created to showcase and celebrate the work of school librarians in the U.K.
    14. Teacher Librarians
      These bloggers are both teachers and librarians at their schools.
      1. Booked Inn:
        Teacher-librarian Ian McClean shares his heroic adventures as an Australian elementary school teacher-librarian on this blog.
      2. The Busy Librarian:
        Here you can learn more about Matthew Winner, an elementary teacher-librarian. The blog features book recommendations, professional commentary, and great ideas.
      3. Chad Lehman:
        Chad Lehman has spent a good deal of time working both as a teacher and a librarian. On his blog, you’ll get a chance to see a bit of both, with a heavy dose of tech-talk as well.
      4. Wendy on the Web:
        Wendy Stephens is a librarian and instructor for a high school in Alabama. Through her blog, you can read about her day-to-day life, books she loves, and more.
      5. The Unquiet Librarian:
        The Unquiet Librarian is Buffy Hamilton, a high school librarian and teacher in Canton, Ga. Visit her blog to read about a variety of professional issues in the library and education fields.
      6. Industry News
        Keep up with the latest news, views, and more in the work of library science with the help of these blogs.
        1. AASL Blog:
          The American Association of School Libraries shares news and information pertinent to those in the profession through their regularly updated blog.
        2. LOC Blog:
          Learn more about what’s going on at the Library of Congress by following their blog, full of updates about their collections, great authors, books, and much more.
        3. LISNews:
          Here you’ll find an excellent roundup of news on library and information science.
        4. ACRLog:
          The Association of College & Research Libraries maintains this blog, a great place to find updates about library practices, academia, and more.
        5. Pegasus Librarian:
          Check out this blog for some excellent commentary on current issues in librarianship, including takes on court cases, IT integration, and academic research on the topic.
        6. Peter Scott’s Library Blog:
          Peter Scott shares excellent articles about the latest news in LIS through his blog.
        7. Tech-Focused Library
          Librarians today have to master a whole host of technologies to keep their institutions running smoothly and at the cutting edge. These blogs offer insights into that techie side of library science.
          1. ALA Tech Source Blog:
            The ALA offers up a heaping serving of all things librarian tech on this blog, helping you make smart, informed decisions about the tools and gadgets you choose to use.
            Jessamyn West writes one of the most popular library tech blogs on the web. It’s a must read for any librarian hoping to become more tech-savvy or just keep up with the latest trends.
          3. The Daring Librarian:
            This award-winning blog is penned by a middle school teacher-librarian, who also just happens to be pretty obsessed (and knowledgeable) about tech.
          4. The Shifted Librarian:
            The Shifted Librarian is another must-read site on ed-tech in libraries, with loads of great ideas on how libraries can use new technologies.
          5. Tech Tips & Timely Tidbits:
            This blog shares lots of tips for tech, information, books, education, and other issues from librarian Heather Loy.
          6. Not So Distant Future:
            Explore the future of libraries (and in many cases the present) with high school librarian Carolyn Foote.
          7. Information Literacy meets Library 2.0:
            Keep up with all the latest tech tools you can use for learning by following this helpful blog.
          8. Informania:
            Media specialist Fan Bullington shares her thoughts on libraries and digital technology here.
          9. 21st Century Collaborative:
            Head to this blog to read more about how educators can get and stay connected.
          10. Always Learning:
            Get an international perspective on teaching and tech from Kim Cofino on this site.
          11. Bib 2.0:
            Learn more about the role technology will play in the library of tomorrow and the way it’s already changing things today on this blog, with some additional commentary about the profession to boot.
          12. The Blue Skunk Blog:
            Doug Johnson, the Director of Media and Technology for the Mankato Public Schools, shares his expertise on librarianship, tech, and a wide range of other topics on this blog.
          13. Hey Jude:
            Librarian Judy O’Connell blogs about the leading edge of technology and Web 2.0 in library science.
          14. info-festishist:
            Visit this blog to read the thoughts of Anne-Marie Deitering, a professor working on undergraduate learning initiative at OSU libraries. She shares insights into the educational potential of the emerging web and much more.
          15. The Handheld Librarian:
            Use this blog to keep up with handheld computer news and to read ideas and opinion pieces geared toward librarians and educators.
          16. David Lee King:
            Keep yourself in the loop about the social web, emerging trends, and all things library-related by reading this blog.
          17. Tame the Web:
            Michael Stephens’ blog touches on topics related to libraries and librarians, technology, and education.
          18. What I Learned Today:
            This library technology enthusiasts shares tips and tools to help you become a programming and Web 2.0 whiz.
          19. No Shelf Required:
            Curious about the future of books? Head to this blog to read about e-books, audio books, and other digital content found in libraries.
          20. Children’s and Young Adult Lit
            Looking for some great reads for the students at your school? These blogs have tons of great suggestions.
            1. Welcome to My Tweendom:
              Looking for some great reads for tweens and teens? School librarian Stacy Dillon shares loads of the best children’s and YA fiction here.
            2. ALSC Blog:
              The Association for Library Service to Children maintains this blog (as well as a great podcast), which is full of ideas on how to improve your library, book recommendations, and much more.
            3. YA Books and More:
              This blog, from librarian Naomi Bates, focuses on reviewing young adult books.
            4. The YA YA YAs:
              Librarians Trisha, Gayle, and Jolene share their love of YA lit here, sharing loads of great reviews and recommendations.
            5. YALSA Blog:
              The official blog of the Young Adult Library Services Association is a great place to learn about techniques, books, and activities that will appeal to young readers.
            6. Watch. Connect. Read:
              K-12 teacher librarian Mr. Schu shares some of the best children’s lit through fun book trailers.
            7. Waking Brain Cells:
              Tasha Saeker, the assistant director of the Appleton Public Library, shares loads of insights into getting kids to read as well as providing a few great recommendations.
            8. Reading Rants!:
              If you’re looking for teen reads that are out of the ordinary, make sure to check out this blog for ideas.
            9. readergirlz:
              Created to spur on teen literacy, this blog focuses on recommending new YA books that are overlooked, appeal to a wide audience, and will get teens excited about reading.
            10. proseandkahn:
              You’ll find a great assortment of reviews of children’s and YA lit on this helpful blog.
            11. Oops.. Wrong Cookie:
              A number of Texas librarians (and their friends around the country) maintain this blog dedicated to reviewing young adult literature.
            12. Ms. Yingling Reads:
              Check out this blog to get some ideas on middle school-level reads, especially those that would appeal to young male readers.
            13. Literacy Launchpad:
              Emergent literacy teacher Amy shares some excellent recommendations for children’s titles that can help librarians find, acquire, and recommend some great new books.
            14. Kid Tested, Librarian Approved:
              Get some solid recommendations and reviews of picture books from a children’s librarian when you visit this blog.
            15. 100 Scope Notes:
              Keep up with children’s lit news and find some helpful reviews of new and popular titles here.
            16. A Book Dork:
              Head to A Book Dork to get teen book reviews from YA librarian Aimee.
            17. Professional Development and Learning
              Check out these blogs for ideas on how to build your career as a librarian and embrace lifelong learning.
              1. Lifelong Learning for School Librarians:
                Need some motivation to get you learning? This blog is full of ideas that will help you find new resources to keep you learning for life.
              2. School Library Learning:
                This blog can help you build your tech skills, even featuring a week-by-week program to get you on the web, blogging, and creating wikis.
              3. Library Grits:
                Lifelong learner and librarian Dianne McKenzie shares some of the ways she’s changing, evolving, and staying determined to be at the top of her profession.
              4. Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts:
                Each Tuesday Cathy Nelson posts to this blog, sharing ideas on how librarians and teachers can integrate technology into their learning, something just about anyone can stand to learn more about.
              5. Information Wants to Be Free:
                Meredith Farkas offers her take on how libraries can embrace the wealth of 21st century technologies out there, as well as reflecting on the profession itself.
              6. Ed Tech
                You can never know too much about educational technologies, and these blogs will help to keep you in the loop.
                1. Geek Dad:
                  This Wired blog is written by a geeky dad who is always looking for ways to connect education to fun, tech-focused projects.
                2. Cool Cat Teacher Blog:
                  Teacher Vicki Davis shares resources and inspiration for teachers looking for new ways to embrace educational technology, but boasts a lot of content that can work well in a library setting, too.
                3. Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch:
                  Get a great look as some of the latest edtech products and ideas on how to use them from instructional technology specialist Kathy Schrock.
                4. 2 Cents Worth:
                  Here you can learn how to adapt old methods of teaching and learning to the new information landscape that dominates 21st-century life.
                5. Free Technology for Teachers:
                  Even if you’re not a teacher, there’s still plenty of great free tech content to choose from on this site that’s ideal for helping kids learn and do research.
                6. The Innovative Educator:
                  Lisa Nielsen writes about cutting-edge innovations in education on this blog.
                7. Moving at the Speed of Creativity:
                  Digital learning consultant Wesley Fryer documents on this blog his own journey of learning, experimenting, and working with other educators using the latest technologists.
                8. Successful Teaching:
                  Part of being a librarian is helping to educate your students, so get some ideas on how to best do that from teacher Pat Hensely, here.
                9. Will Richardson:
                  Visit this site to learn a bit more about the web and its applications in the classroom from Will Richardson.
                10. teach42:
                  Blogger Steve Dembo explores the intersection of education and technology on this blog.
                11. Book Blogs
                  Whether you’re looking for a great read for yourself or new titles to add to your library collection, these blogs host some great recommendations.
                  1. Bookslut:
                    Head to this blog to read book reviews, feature columns, and learn about the latest and greatest literature that’s coming to a bookstore near you.
                  2. Ready Steady Book:
                    If you prefer to limit your book reviews to those that are highly academic, learned and perhaps not for the wider audience, then this is the place for you.
                  3. So Many Books:
                    Explore the agony and the ecstasy that is loving books in this excellent book review blog.
                  4. 3000 Books:
                    Blogger Estelle tries to read 50 books a year and documents her progress, as well as some useful reviews, on this blog.
                  5. Biblibio:
                    You’ll find book reviews aplenty on this blogger’s site, many of which may just help you select your own next read.
                  6. Red Room Library:
                    Find selections that represent some of the best of contemporary literature on this review-focused site.
                  7. Paper Cuts:
                    Use this New York Times blog to keep up with the latest releases.
                  8. Booklist Online Blog:
                    ALA experts share their reviews of thousands of books on this must-read blog (and accordant website) designed with librarians in mind.
                  9. The Book Smugglers:
                    Find reviews of young adult and science fiction on this regularly updated site.
                  10. London Review of Books:
                    Here you’ll find reviews of some of the best fiction and nonfiction to hit the market, including those from some pretty big names in literature, philosophy, and social science.
                  11. Miscellaneous
                    From librarian humor to the Dewey Decimal System, these blogs cover a range of library issues.
                    1. Designing Better Libraries:
                      Learn more about how design, innovation, and new media can work to create a better user experience in libraries.
                    2. Unshelved:
                      Get access to regular library-themed comic strips on this illustrated blog.
                    3. The Dewey Blog:
                      Visit this blog to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Dewey Decimal system (and more).
                    4. A Librarian’s Guide to Etiquette:
                      If you’re looking for a laugh, head to this blog, with snarky takes on good librarian etiquette.