Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One Year of Letters to a Young Librarian

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I'm going to have a contest. However, I first want to share my thoughts abut the last year.

The Long and Winding Blog Road

Wow. A year had gone by since my very first blog post. Most of my thinking about the last year seems so cliched. For instance, it really does seem like just yesterday that I first had the idea for this blog. I was reading about how and why someone else started her blog and thinking about my frustration with what I was hearing about some library science graduate programs, when BLAMMO, the seed for Letters to a Young Librarian was germinated. On the other hand, I don't remember what it was like not to have a writing deadline every week. I know the deadlines are self-imposed, but this blog has always felt like a way to pay back my obligation to the libr* and higher ed communities, so meeting the deadline is important. Besides, posting something every week, regardless of whatever else might be happening, has made professional self-reflection a habit. For me, this is a good mental space to inhabit.

It seems that this is also a good space for you to inhabit. My readership has steadily grown. The conversations that happen in the comments keep getting richer. Blogs that I respect and read have started linking to posts on my blog. And, if the blog analytics are to be believed, Letters to a Young Librarian has started to make an impression on those who are teaching library science grad students. I really did start this blog for me, but it's been an amazing experience to realize that what I and my guest authors have to say is resonating with the broader community. I'm grateful for that.

The Contest 

Yup. I did mention something about a contest. Just a small way to pay you all back for embracing my blog. What will you win? A copy of the children's book, Librarians A to Z by Jean Johnson, that was published in 1989. I recently weeded it from my library's collection, but bought it for myself. Much of the alphabet is out of date, but not as much as you'd think for a 23 year old book. A children's book that shows how much our profession has changed seems an apt prize. Here's a picture of one of the pages, to give you an idea of how fabulous it is:

In order to enter you must, before midnight on June 13, 2012 (EDT), leave a comment on this post in which you:
  1. ...give me constructive feedback about the blog. You could share which was your favorite post and why. You could tell me something I could do to improve the blog. You could even suggest topics and/or guest authors you'd like to see featured in the future. So long as it's constructive feedback, it counts.
  2. ...include a way to get in touch with you. I'd prefer an email address, but a Twitter handle or a Google+ link will work as well if you don't want to advertise your email address publicly.
The rest of the rules are simple:
  • One entry per person.
  • The winner will be selected, as randomly as I can manage, from all entries.
  • I reserve the right to tweak the rules as necessary.
Once I've picked the winner, I will contact him/her for a mailing address. After that, I'll announce the winner.

Now it's your turn. How can I improve this blog? What should I never change?

And, as always, thank you for reading.

UPDATE: And the winner is... JC Brown! Thanks for the feedback everyone.


  1. I checked that book out for G (it's still circulating up in these parts) from one of our smaller area libraries! I may have to get back to you with constructive feedback after I wake up, but: I like what you do here, and I'm glad we connected on Twitter. Thank you!

  2. In June of last year, you wrote: "I want this blog to be about more than an experienced librarian dispensing advice to the new kids, however." As a reader and follower of your blog, I can attest that you have surpassed merely doling advice to the green librarian -- you have encouraged much thought and reflection. I wouldn't change a thing as far as the direction of your content. The only improvement I would suggest is changing the look and feel of the blog to give it your personal touch.

    jcbrown at wayne dot edu
    author of hermionish.com

  3. Goodness, I can't believe LTAYL is only a year old! It feels like it has been around a lot longer, probably because I've read so many posts as they're always regular, useful and interesting. Happy anniversary!
    Clare (not in the competition)

  4. First up, congratulations. Seems like a quick year, that, in some ways.

    My favorite post is your Day in the Life one:
    ...partially as it had some interesting pictures which gave context.

    Which is also one of the two recommendations I'd make. Only minor ones, as this blog is great, and the maxim of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is valid.

    1. Have some more pictures in guest blogs. To the visually inclined amongst us, and I'm one of those impatient people who if I see more than 3 paragraphs of text in a row I tend to mentally wander, it's great.

    2. You've got over a hundred posts on here now, so you have a significant body of content. Legitimately, you can publicise it in more places; a polite note on mailing lists, various forums, Facebook groups. It wouldn't be spam as (a) it's not for loads of dosh and (b) the content is there.

    What should you never change? Your writing personality. It makes or breaks a blog. In this case: definitely makes.