or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


2012 Library Blog Award Winners Announced

   June 19th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Salem Press released the results of the 2012 Library Blog Awards this morning - congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Salem Press Library Blog Award ribbons

Since I was a winner last year, I was asked to be a judge this year - and it was tough. I keep hearing that blogs are old-fashioned, but obviously the format is still going strong.

Thanks to all the writers and editors who put time into sharing information, experiences, and news with the rest of us - and to Salem Press for annually recognizing the standouts.



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Last Call for Salem Press Library Blog Awards 2012

   June 5th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Today is the last day to nominate your favorite library blog for an award! Read all about this year's contest in Salem's Library Blog Center or simply make a nomination by emailing them at blogs@salempress.com.

Last call for nominations
Last call for nominations

Use Salem's Library Blog Directory to search for or browse library blogs by focus, type, or audience.

2012 nominees will be announced on Friday, June 8th. Also be sure to check out last year's winners (full disclosure, I won in the public library category).



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Last Call for 2011 Salem Press Library Blog Awards Nominations

   May 10th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Salem Press Library Blog AwardsYou only have a few more days to submit your nomination for the 2011 Salem Press Library Blog Awards - nominations close May 13th.

Last year's inaugural awards went to some very deserving blogs, so be sure to support your favorite - new and old - again this year.

Read about the judges and full details on Salem Press' website, but here's a bit about awards, nominations, and judging process:

2011 Nominations
Please share your favorite blogs with us. Doing so will enter your beloved online reading in our 2011 Awards process. We'll be accepting suggestions through May 13, 2011. To send us nominations (including a working link to the blog), email ptobey@salempress.com.

Bigger & Better
This year, Library Blog Awards returns with the same goal—to recognize blogging excellence across the library spectrum—but with a new structure. We have increased the number of volunteer judges (from four to 15) and blog categories (from five to eight) and added a new dimension to the process: the public vote.

After our judges complete the first round of eliminations and finalists are announced on May 18th, we will ask readers and interested parties to cast their votes online. The list of winners (one per category) will follow in mid-June.

Last year I was awarded gold star recognition, which is great. But what I like most about these awards is how they work as a discovery tool in finding new bloggers and resources.

If you are so inclined, send in your nomination before May 13th.

Update 5/17/11: Public voting is now open until June 1st - cast your vote for your favorite blogs (and thanks everyone for nominating me for Public Library blog!)



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Library Blog Search

   August 31st, 2010 Brian Herzog

LISZENSometimes when I am working on a post, I wonder if another library blogger has already covered it - an am afraid I'll look kind of dumb rehashing something.

So I thought, wouldn't it be great to set up a Google custom search engine to search all library-related blogs? Before I did, I checked if anyone already created one, and it turned out Library Zen had - four years ago (I'm even further behind than I thought).

LISZEN Search searches over 500 library blogs, and has an accompanying wiki to keep track. If you write about the library world, add yourself.

Something related that would also be nice is a custom search of just library websites - so it would be easy to quickly see what other library's policies are regarding ebooks, or circulating laptops, or how much they charge for printing, etc. But considering the breadth of libraries and the complexity of maintaining it, just using regular Google might be more realistic.



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Salem Press Library Blog Awards

   June 3rd, 2010 Brian Herzog

Salem Press Library Blog AwardsThe winners of the first Salem Press Library Blog awards were just announced - congratulations to:

General Library Blogs

Quirky Library Blogs

Academic Library Blogs

Public Library Blogs

School Library Blogs

I hadn't heard of most of these blogs before this award, so yay for having a bunch of new people to listen to (which I end up doing every year when LISNews announces their 10 Blogs to Read, too).

Another nice side effect of this contest is that Salem ended up with a Library Blog Directory, of all the blogs that were submitted or nominated for the awards. They're divided into categories, General Interest Blogs, Quirky Blogs, Academic Library Blogs, Public Library Blogs, School Library Blogs, which makes finding even more points of view relevant to your field easier. Thanks for doing this, Salem Press.

Gold StarOne last point: my website earned a gold star in the Public Library category, meaning it was judged "to be of significant quality that they stood above the norm." This made me realize one huge drawback of the online world - it's much more difficult to hang something like this on the refrigerator. Too bad for the kids who have to turn their homework in by email or Google Docs - they're missing out.



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Library policy about personal blogging

   July 14th, 2009 Brian Herzog

The Man Behind The CurtainA couple of weeks ago, the director of the Wadleigh Memorial Library in New Hampshire wrote me with this question (I'm paraphrasing):

We have an intern for the summer, and she's started a blog about her work at the library. However, the next thing I knew, there was a link to her blog from the library's homepage (it's since been removed). While I like the idea of the public getting a bird's eye view of what we do at the library, I have to think of worst case scenario....

I couldn't find your blog linked from CPL's website, but you do publicly announce on your blog where you work. Does CPL have any policies in place about staff blogs? Have you ever had anything you've written come back to bite the library?...

This is a very interesting question. Something I wrote once did come back to bite, and the Town, the Library and I were all threatened with a lawsuit. That prompted a discussion between my director and me about separating library and personal, although no written policy ever came of it. But in general, here are the blogging guidelines that I follow:

  • Nothing written can be unwritten - think before you publish
  • Get permission before using names, and be vague when referring to people otherwise
  • Personal website has a disclaimer disassociating the library/town from me

Which is basic, I know, but since it's a personal website done on personal time, there's not much keeping me from doing whatever I want - other than common sense, experience, and goodwill towards the library. Since most of what goes on in libraries is public record anyway, pretty much everything I do at work is fair game, so long as I don't break the law or violate patron privacy.

Even still, it might be a good idea for libraries to create some sort of guidelines for staff who publicly use the library's name online. I don't think libraries can force people to do or not do most things (aside from using library resources and time), but basic guidelines might help a well-meaning library employee avoid awkward situations they might not have otherwise considered.

A few resources for these guidelines are:

It's a great idea for library employees to share their work with the public (and other librarians). Especially if the library is going to link to that personal blog from the library's website (in which case, the library might be entitled to more control over the content of that personal blog). If no employee is doing this on their personal blog, the library's blog itself could occasionally spotlight behind-the-scenes activities in the library.

I guess the bottom line is that people are still discovering Web 2.0, so there's a lot of inexperience and new situations out there. Libraries shouldn't try to prevent their employees from participating, but instead can assist them in doing it well (remember 23 Things?).

After our email discussion and speaking with library Trustees, the Wadleigh Library decided to put the link to their intern's blog back on their homepage, which was good news. So if you're looking for a model on how to do this, check out Lexi the Intern's blog - she's doing a great job.



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