Monday, October 22, 2007

On blogging about my library experience

Since I changed jobs last month, it has made for a chance to reflect on my blogging and where I may want to go. The question of blogging about my library experience is one I have thought about in and out since I started blogging. For the most part, here is how I handle things:

  • When it comes to my experience as a librarian, I am willing and able to write about it in my blogs. This is mostly in general terms. So I am looking more at lessons learned, reflections, ideas I want to try out, etc.
  • When it comes to my actual place of work, I try to keep the references to that to a minimum. I rarely mention people's names. Those who have read my blogs will usually notice I use titles ("my director," "our interlibrary loan librarian," etc.). If asked to explain it, I am not terribly sure why I do it other than it just seems to work for me. Maybe a part of me works on the assumption that it's my blog, and I should not be dragging others in it more than I have to. You could label it a little superstition of mine.
Those are the little basics. It is pretty much ingrained in me that you do not blog specifics about your workplace. Certainly you don't do it with your name in the blog someplace. I have been fortunate in both work instances that my bosses knew of my blogs. I believe this blog, in some small measure, helped me get the job I have now. But overall, you don't air the dirty laundry in public. It does not mean, however, that I will shy away when I want to say something that may or not be politically correct. Though for the more personal things, I do put them over at The Itinerant Librarian.

So, why am I thinking about this now? As I said, in part it is because I am in a new job. It is a new beginning, and new beginnings are always good points to stop and think a bit. I have recently posted a few things about work, mostly the fun stuff. Will I post about the "not-so-fun" stuff? The long meetings where I would rather commit seppuku than sit on them another minute? I honestly don't have the answer, but I will reassure my readers I won't be posting the details of those meetings here, tempting as it may be. It's not what this blog is about. At the end of the day, when it comes to answering the question, I just have to go back to the purpose of this blog. This is my professional blog. It is a tool of reflection. It is my workshop. It is where I keep a lot of my reading notes. It is where I think in writing about my profession, my work, what I read, what I learn, and what I need to learn and improve. The other stuff that does not fall into that purpose? I let the unruly cousin handle it. I will tell you this much. I am not going to worry over it much. After all, it is my personal space at the end of the day.

This rambling thought was prompted by Sarah Houghton-Jan's post on "Blogging your own library's experience." I will point out that we are currently planning to implement a library blog here at the library. It is not as easy as it sounds since we may have some administrators who may be a bit leery (the whole image thing) given that, apparently, no one here has tried it before. At any rate, while we were recently conversing in a meeting, my director suggested linking to my blog in the library blog, to which I told her, gently, no since it was a personal blog. The issue is addressed in Ms. Houghton-Jan's post, which is why I am mentioning it now. Way I see it, it's not a library resource. Sure, it is online, freely available, and so on. If you find it and want to add it to your favorite aggregator or just visit now and then, that is fine. I hope you enjoy your visit and tell a bunch of your friends about it. But not on the official site. Besides, we'll be linking to all sorts of good stuff on the library blog when it goes online, so no need to put in this old thing. At any rate, I think that it is up to each blogger to find their limits and boundaries. Be honest and be yourself. Take a risk now and then if that is your nature; I do. The rest will work itself out.

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