The world of information professionals is undeniably diverse. For this assignment, I followed two school librarians, an archive, and a blog on library marketing.
The Unquiet Librarian (Buffy Hamilton) – Buffy is a high school librarian based out of George. She has a range of experiences from teacher to librarian and in locations across the country. Her main interests pertain to her work in schools, especially with literacy and participatory learning.
Wendy on the Web (Wendy Stephens) – Wendy is another high school librarian, currently working in Alabama. Lately, she has been posting a ton of stuff about different professional conferences and organizations that she is a part of. She has also been writing quite a bit about books for all ages and genres.
ArchivesInfo (Melissa Mannon) – Melissa is an archivist based out of New Hampshire who runs ArchivesInfo, which is an organization that helps people and groups maintain their archives and records. The blog has a lot of posts about the bigger ideas and implications in archives and even libraries sometimes, with a particular focus on how to connect with the community.
The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries (Kathy Dempsey and Nancy Dowd) – Kathy and Nancy have worked in libraries for a while and use this blog to give suggestions on how to market libraries and other nonprofits. Their posts include marketing/outreach ideas, examples of interesting marketing, and information about grants and contests libraries can enter.
All of these information professionals are tackling the future of libraries (or archives) in a slightly different. I think The ‘M’ Word and ArchivesInfo are about finding ways to maintain relevance as information centers continue to change with the times. Outreach is crucial so that people know that we (libraries and librarians) still exist and are there to help them with their information needs. ArchivesInfo leans a little toward the theoretical side of things, considering where archives might be going and what they can and should do for the future. The ‘M’ Word is more on the practical side, showing what other libraries have done to reach out to their communities and get the support they need in order to function. Both theory and practice are needed because we have to figure out what libraries are becoming while continuing to serve the public.
The Unquiet Librarian and Wendy on the Web show me a couple of different possibilities for the future of school librarians. Buffy’s blog, full of activities she has done with students to encourage literacy, participation, and inquiry, shows the school library media specialist as curriculum partner with teachers. I think this is a good direction for school librarians due to everything I have learned about it thus far at SI; it helps us show our value while collaborating with our teacher colleagues and providing a more enriching experience for students. Wendy shows the librarian as a member of many different professional organizations and committees. This sort of networking is important to maintain the tightly-knit fabric of the librarian community and to bring new knowledge back to our schools, giving a perspective we would otherwise not see. Continual professional development is crucial in libraries because they are changing so rapidly, so attending all of these events and working on committees can keep us up to date on things.
I think all of these bloggers see a bright future ahead for what libraries and librarians and archives can be if we step up to the challenges ahead. This optimism shines through the uncertainty and makes me even more excited to be an information professional in this day and age. If we work together across our different disciplines and job titles, we can make sure that libraries have the future that we envision for them.