What about academic library blogs?

I’d love to think that one or two readers are asking that question as they read this post announcing the forthcoming Public Library Blogs: 252 Current Examples (title subject to possible slight change).

The easy answer: I’m working on it. Or, rather, I will be working on it after this book is done, either in parallel with another major project or on its own.

The harder answer: I’m working on it, but the rate of progress and eventual outcome may depend on what happens (or doesn’t happen) with my future situation in general.

If things get at least partially settled in a favorable way, I’d guess the project might be done late this year. If I’m spending more time and energy looking for things that return more revenue than the couple of thousand bucks one of these books is likely to return (and that quite possibly over a couple of years), well, it might take a lot longer.


There is one bright spot, incidentally: Looks like I’ll be returning to writing a column in one of my favorite print publications. I’ll have more to say when it’s completely nailed down (and there’s a column title), but I anticipate that will start next January…

6 Responses to “What about academic library blogs?”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    As one who works in an academic library, I was indeed wondering. So thanks for answering!!

  2. Mark Says:

    As one who also works in an academic library, I was not wondering. But thanks for answering anyway. ;) (Sorry, Jennifer. Just messing with you.)

    I’m not saying academic libraries should not have blogs, but in a school of any size you’d need to target them to very particular groups. Perhaps you’d want to at a small school, too, but, maybe not as necessary. Thus, it seems like a larger project than the publics….

    I have no doubt it will be fascinating. I’m just glad you’re doing it and not me. :)

  3. Jennifer Says:

    As I reread my comment, it was definitely worth messing with!! :)

  4. walt Says:

    Mark–That’s a good point, but there’s a fair amount of complexity in the community of any large public library as well, and some of them do have multiple blogs for different targets. (Hmm. Compare the complexity of the library patron community at UIUC and, say, the Austin Public Library, serving 672,000 people…)

    I think it will be an interesting project. I hope I’ll have the time, energy and will to do it. There’s one other and even bigger blog analysis project, but I’m not even going to mention that one just yet…

  5. Mark Says:

    Yes, I realized that it would vary in large publics but my comment was already getting lengthy.

    I guess I was considering the divisions (inherent, perhaps?) in the university to be more so than in a large public. That may just show my bias, unintentional as it is. I imagine a large public could have just as many different divisions if they wanted, and in many senses their population will be no more homogeneous than a large university. But, in my “defense,” I was thinking of the already extant, “naturally-occurring” divisions of departments primarily, along with the divisions of undergrads, grads, and faculty and staff, and others.

    Now before someone jumps on me, I am well aware that there is nothing natural about the structure of the university. And while I do consider there to be some differences one may want to target between undergrads, grads, etc. I think those are extremely artificial divisions, even more so than the others. Also, UIUC having some 40+ libraries also enters the equation in my mind. Territory and all.

    And being the interdisciplinarist that I am–or habitually probing generalist, if you prefer–I think all of the divisions present some problems, and most of the divisions present large problems.

    Whew! I’m just glad it’s not me making any decisions of which populations get blogs, or the one doing the study.

    I’ll take a look at Austin Public, though, Walt. I assume you pointed it out as an example for a reason.

  6. walt Says:

    Mark,

    You’re absolutely right–there are differences. And, in fact, I really haven’t looked much at academic-library blogs, so have no idea what I’ll find there–but there’s a pretty decent list of possibilities.

    As to Austin: Actually, I chose it because it’s one of the largest service areas in the survey, one of very few >500,000. It’s interesting in its own way, as postings on the library’s blog also show up in a blog sponsored by the city’s newspaper. Otherwise, no special reason. (I didn’t want to use the same examples that seem to get used all the time…) It is true that Austin is a diverse city in some fairly obvious ways (what with the music scene, its status as state capitol, the university, the “keep Austin weird” movement, SXSW, etc…), but so are many large cities. (Actually, noting UIUC, the Champaign Public Library has an interesting set of blogs–but they all began this year, so they’re not included in the book.)

    I’m chary of pointing out particular examples…in fact, while I’m accumulating a short list of “blogs I find particularly interesting” as I do the final editing/markup pass, I’m not sure I’ll include that list in the final book.

    Anyway…there clearly are a fair number of academic library blogs. I would no more claim that every academic library should have one or more blogs than I would make such an assertion for public libraries (there are very few universalisms I’m willing to assert, and that isn’t one of them). Otherwise, well, I hope I manage to do the study.


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