So you’re going to start a library blog–not a new books blog or an events blog, but a director’s blog or a blog about the library, what happens there, etc. (Which could and should include events, but I’m not talking about the semi-invisible blogs that just feed library home pages, beneficial and efficient as those blogs can be.)
I’ve heard the suggestion that, if you’re going to start this kind of blog, you should be ready to do 52 800-word essays a year–that is, one solid essay a week. Let’s pull that size down to 650-700 words and, depending on your circumstances, the frequency down to 26 or 12 essays a year. The essays don’t all have to be by one person, but there does have to be follow-through: A commitment to get the blog off to a good start and keep it going for at least a year or two.
Note: I am not talking about “sustainability.” I’m not saying you need five years’ buy-in.Â I’m talking about enough commitment so that it looks like a genuine effort by the library. Initiatives without followthrough are almost doomed to failure, and if they’re public initiatives, they make the library look foolish.
Great idea–but take it one step further
So here’s the next step: If there’s a local paper (a community weekly, for example) why not propose this as a column?
That’s not either/or. It’s both.
With a lot of luck, your blog will reach one audience. If you get a column, it will reach another audience–and for many community/local papers, it’s a huge audience within the community. The two audiences overlap, but they’re not identical.
Naturally, you’d cross-promote: Mention the blog in the column and vice-versa. You might not run all the blog posts in the column (fixed length is usually a given in newspaper columns).
The library story and more
This is about telling the library story–how your library serves your community, how you transform people’s lives, the pressure points, big stories, small stories, amusing incidents…
Who’s doing it?
This is really as much a question as a suggestion.
Who’s doing part or all of this?
- Doing a column in the local newspaper.
- Archiving the column on your library’s website
- Mirroring the column in a library blog.
Of course, if you do the first and third, the second is more or less taken care of.
Let me know
If you’re doing this–or thinking about it–let me know. Send me the URL for the archived column and/or the weblog’s name and URL, and the name of the newspaper. If you’re doing the first and second, but not the third (yet), send me that info as well…
Oh, and if you’re thinking of doing such a column or blog but wonder whether you’ll run out of ideas to write about…well, you know, if we can identify a group of people who are doing this, you can use one another as inspiration. That’s certainly true for LaRue’s Views–I can think of dozens of columns there that could inspire similar (but local) columns elsewhere.
So: Doing a column? Archiving it? Blogging it? Leave a comment here or send me email–waltcrawford at gmail.com