Feb 19th, 2011
I’ve been building up to writing a few posts in a series for the past six months or so about participation in the Library Profession, making professional choices, getting a reputation, hard work, hope, despair and motivation. I know it seems like a tangle of themes, but they fit together, honest. It’s part confessional, part update, part desire to return value via this blog and part, well, me trying to say and show a version of “I love you, man!!!” to my profession and fellow professionals while not sounding like a goof or a beer commercial…and showing real ways YOU can make a difference…a very powerful and real difference…even when you seem or feel “stuck” or not particularly hopeful for your career or our most honorable profession. So whether you are stuck, or excelling, or under appreciated or just plain pis*** off about the state of libraries or your career, I’m hoping this may be of some use. I’ll give you some updates, show some progress and even point towards some things you might participate in or model for your own projects. Projects that are starting to do things you are likely desperate to address or can use to inspire and manifest your own ideas, plans and dreams.
I’ll talk more frankly here than usual and will try not to edit myself too much. This first post (it’s a series I’ll complete in the next two weeks), I realize may be pretty close to navel gazing in some respects, but its designed to share things I’ve learned from the evolution of my experience with and being know as “Libraryman” that may be useful for others to hear. It’s stuff I’ve wanted to share here for a long while at any rate.
To folks who have joined me here at libraryman.com for years, you have of course noticed it has become a much less regularly updated resource. Still hopefully periodically interesting and useful, but you heavy blog readers can tell I haven’t been scrambling to make and/or keep it as one of the top library blogs. It’s been interesting stepping back a bit (just from this part, but more on that later). Along the way several people have quietly approached me about this stepping back from blogging. Some were either worried about me or, for the more ambitious amongst them, simply wondering how the heck I could let something that had readership, had clearly returned huge benefits to my career seemingly “slip”? **It’s worth noting that for any library blogger the real value of our work and the part that is most important comes when we hopefully return value to this profession and to our fellow librarians and library staff as we work our blogs. Having that attitude and focus is also the best way to create a successful professional blog imo** So how could I do step back and what might it mean for you, whether you are currently a “popular” blogger, are hungry to engage with ideas and the profession via blogging or simply wanting to contribute and perhaps thinking that blogging is one of the only opportunities and glimmers of hope that you have seen pay off for people in our profession?
Over the past few years, especially in our active and highly intelligent and thoughtful profession, many of the reasons to blog, and the landscape surrounding blogs, have/has changed. Blogging clearly holds value and is a worthwhile and important activity for many. At the same time, for some of the more ambitious among us it is worth noting that it’s often harder now to boost your career in a deeply significant way via blogging. It is useful to do it and to know how to do it but it has become more for personal edification, professional communication that serves you and your “posse” as it were, and gives you a chance to think on and talk on things, while hopefully contributing something of use to the profession.
To some of the especially ambitious and strategic (nothing wrong with that and something I wish we saw more of in Libraryland, particularity from those fresh to the profession) there is something additional to frankly speak on as well. Fact is, getting “library famous” now is harder to do via blogging. There are more social tools to fold into your “persona” and maintain and, well, blogging is just less novel now. Honestly, in the early days I think many folks got a significant boost from simply know how to make a blog. They started early and got know for that (not to disrespect them of their work of course, but that boost just isn’t there for folks starting our now). Frankly, I’ve often wondered how much of that has factored into the traction I had with the Libraryman Blog. Its just that blogging has matured and expectations I believe are often higher. And few have or make the time and commitment and focus to pursue one of the the most ambitious potential career goals, that often elusive “library famous”. In some ways I actaully see this as encouraging, because frankly, “library famous” is a little ridiculous in many ways, often accurately and snickerifically being equated by many with being famous in a small town (aka who gives a ****).
And this of course fits into the narrative of this series of posts. First, they aren’t about blogging or the biblioblogosphere. And this is clearly not a “Oh man, I know I need to blog more” post. I don’t need to do that. Rather this is a series of posts about WHY I I don’t. And what I’ve done with the time I would have spent blogging. And how what I’ve been working on during those times. And how some of that can hopefully help inspire others to feel encouraged and hopefully and more willing to do *their* own thing.
In the next couple posts I’ll show you some of the things I’ve been working on since I’ve been blogging less. You’ll see why it was the right thing to do. And along the way you’ll have some opportunities laid at your feet to join in, to affect the change you are hungry to see, to work around any limitation you have because you may not be high ranking or “well known” or able to move, or whatever. I’ve seen some things, people, and I want to share them with you. So stay tuned.