08 February 2006


If you are an OPL, you probably think you don’t have time to blog. Here are some things to help you change your mind.

Debbie Abilock, quoted in Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog, listed some of the reasons that school library media specialists (aka librarians) don’t blog. I’m sure that some of these are the same reasons you give.

1. Not enough time

2. It’s a low priority

3. No compelling professional need.

4. Ignorance of technology—“and no clear reason to learn it”

5. “Current library website does the job”

6. View blogging as “vanity journalism” like “deadly, self-absorbed Christmas letters”

7. Other traditional outlets for writing available

8. Lack of writing skills

9. Lack of tech support to maintain blogs.

I would like to answer each of these excuses in order. (They are not really reasons, but excuses. Reasons assume that you can’t do something; excuses are why you don’t do it.)

1. Of course you don’t have time to blog if you add it to all your other tasks. You should decide that blogging is so important that you will drop something else in order to do it. You can also start with a short-term blog, one that deals with a subject with an automatic end date. Jill Stover, Undergraduate Services Librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of the Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book blog, gave the example of a blog for Black History Month. (See the blog, “Short-term blog for long-term marketing gain.” You limit the amount of time you will spend blogging, but you might find that you and, more importantly, your customers like the blog so much that you will continue it.

2. If your customers (or potential customers) include young people, what is called the millennial generation, you need to reach out to them in a way that they are comfortable with—and they definitely are into blogging.

3. There are a couple of compelling professional needs: the need to stay abreast of new trends and technologies (to avoid obsolescence) and the need to attract new customers—customers that might not be reached any other way.

4. Ignorance is no excuse. You have the ability to learn anything and I’ve just given you the reasons to learn blogging.

5. Unless your web site is very hip and “with it,” I doubt that it “does the job,” especially with the younger crowd.

6. Yes, may blogs are merely online journals or diaries, but a librarian’s blog should be more—it should be another educational and public relations vehicle for the library.

7. The problem with this “reason” is the word “traditional.” The reason blogs are so valuable is that they are not traditional, not print, and not likely to be dismissed by the younger generation.

8. I sincerely doubt that you cannot write. What you need to be sure of is that you can write clearly and in a style appropriate for the web. And this you can learn. Besides, the only way to better your writing skills is to write.

9. You can use Blogger or another similar blogger site to host your blog and you will not need tech support—it is that easy.

The March issue of my newsletter, The One-Person Library, will be devoted entirely to the subject of blogging. It will include Thinking About…The Importance of Blogging (an editorial) and these Theme Articles: What is Blogging, Anyway? Why Should I Blog? How Do I Learn to Blog? Which Solos are Blogging? and a Selected and Annotated List of Library and Librarian Blogs. If you would like a sample copy of OPL (as a Word file), just email me at and request the March issue.

So, now that your excuses are taken care of, blog on!


“Blogs? Blogs? We don’t need no stinkin’ blogs!” Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog:

“Short-term blog for long-term marketing gain,” Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book: http://librarymarketing.blogspot.com/2006/02/short-term-blog-for-long-term.html

The One-Person Library: A Newsletter for Librarians and Management: http://www.ibi-opl.com/newsletter/index.html

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