Starting a library blog

I have big ideas for my library- and it all starts with a blog.

Blogs are easy to use, easy to create, and (conceivably) easy to maintain. It seems like the perfect starter media for a small library looking to get into the web 2.0 movement. My library is in a small, close-knit community and located in the top floor of the administration building for the community’s elementary and middle school. Talk about an opportunity to becoming integral to the community! Presently, my library’s main web site is the system-wide website where patrons can manage their account, etc. But there is very little information about my library specifically. The friends of the library have a site, but the information focuses on their organization, not the library. I believe a blog is a great way to get my library on board and take advantage of the opportunities afforded us. However, we must first:

-Understand the time commitment involved and the high amount of posting we must do in order to maintain public interest in the blog (Sarah Glass Meyer)
-Create a goal and intended audience for the blog
-Discuss posting schedules and division of labor; Who will be responsible for the blog? Who will make the decisions about the blog? Who is the main “blogger”?
-Keep the faith; we may not have any readers for a while, but we must continue to blog!
-Interact with our commenters and always respond to our patrons
-Incorporate aspects of storytelling to make the blog more readable

However, one thing I am unsure of is whether we should spend time thinking and planning our blog or just dive in. Problogger‘s tips seem a little wishy-washy on this.

I am very eager to begin this social media experiment in my library… now all I have to do is convince the manager!


4 thoughts on “Starting a library blog

  1. I totally agree with you on all points! I feel that a blog is a wonderful and easy way to connect with your current and future patrons and getting your name out there on the web. It's also easy to start, although it can be difficult to maintain. I liked Sarah Glass Meyer's article about the amount of time it takes to maintain interest in a blog AND the importance of being patient. You certainly aren't going to get 100 “followers” right away. It takes time and effort on the part of the blog maintenance staff to get the word out and keep it going. But I certainly think that if a library wants to make their presence known online, a blog is a fantastic start.

  2. What a great list of all the key factors involved in starting a library blog. I definitely agree with you. A blog is a great way to connect with the community, but realizing how much time and effort it takes to keep it up is important before beginning the project. If the blog is not well-maintained, it's not going to be successful. I think that is where so many people get bogged down and lost in the process. For those who are able to keep up though, it is a great tool to use!

  3. What a fabulous idea to launch your library into the online frontier! It’ll be a great way for your library to be more involved with the community! It sounds as though you’ve prepared a great list of things to consider prior to starting a blog and making your pitch to the manager.

    Proper maintenance of a blog does indeed require adequate staffing and time commitment. As a fan of planning, I think initially establishing a solid foundation for the blog will be critical, especially if the blog will be a team effort and also essentially an extended representation of the library. Once a certain rhythm and flow is set, it would be fairly easy to simply ease up on the planning front. I can see how too much planning can sometimes hinder the enthusiasm and driving force to action though, so perhaps a happy moderate path will work?

    At any rate, it’s so exciting to see you being innovative with your ideas! Thanks.

  4. To plan or not to plan? That is the question. I would pick the plan option. I’m not sure you can ever plan too much or for every possibility, because things will inevitably work out differently anyway. I suspect if you answer all the questions you’ve already posed above ahead of time, you’ll be well on your way to a setting up a successful blog and convincing your manager in the process!

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