Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Four Years of Letters

Four years ago (well, four years and eight days as of when this post will be published) I started my very first blog post with:
"I want to break down the barriers between library schools & students and professional librarians and I want your help."
If you'd told me back then that not only would I still be writing this blog, but that I'd see library science graduate programs linking to my blog and that it would change the course of my career... well, I would have listened eagerly to you, but I would have been skeptical.

Publishing opportunities and speaking opportunities and collaboration opportunities, all because I decided to shake my fist at the edifice of library science graduate program curricula.

For the first two anniversaries, I asked for feedback and gave away prizes as a way to celebrate. I got great suggestions. (2012, 2013) I'd like to resurrect that tradition for the fourth anniversary. So, here are the contest details (copied and pasted from past contests):

You will win a donation in your name to a book- or library-based charity/entity of your choosing. The amount will vary depending on whether you want me to make a cash donation or buy an actual book (there will be an upper limit - I am a librarian, after all, not a bazillionaire). The beneficiary can be the library where you work, your MLIS alma mater, the Ferguson Public Library or Enoch Pratt, etc.

To enter, you must, before midnight on June 23, 2015 (EDT), leave a comment on this post in which you:

  1. ...give me feedback about the blog. What's your favorite thing about LtaYL? Your least favorite? Is there someone who you really want me to get for a guest post? A topic you haven't seen me cover yet? A topic that has been covered, but for which you'd like an update? So long as it's constructive feedback, it counts.
  2. ...let me know how 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 details of the charity. 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, for your continuing readership:


  1. Oooh a contest! So you have my email and Twitter handle already. Check. As for constructive feedback: I love the animal gifs. I love the combination of fun and serious posts. I love the breadth of guest authors. I would like to see more posts on "so you want to be an X kind of librarian?" where X runs the gamut, and includes people doing things that aren't mainstream. I'd like to see posts on day in the life. For those who don't want to write a full post but who are doing interesting things, maybe an interview post? But really, if you kept on exactly as you are now, I'd be happy as a duck in a pond.

  2. First off, happy anniversary, and thanks for writing an incredibly helpful and readable blog! The thing I love most about your blog is how fiercely "you" you are. Whether it's the "just for fun" posts or you're writing about a project that did or didn't work in your library, there's no artifice. You're the director of a library and you wear silly hats because it makes students feel more at ease and because it's silly. While following animal Twitter feeds! And figuring out how to manage budgets! As someone who's only a few years post-MLS, it's awesome to see someone who is successful in their career because of the whole person that they are. You make me feel like there's not always a need to think of myself as "Professional" Alyssa and "Fun" Alyssa. Working on it!

    Hmm...in terms of topics to cover, I feel like you've really covered quite a breadth. I struggle with the day-to-day and month-to-month aspects of project management. I always wish that there was a blog series that followed a big or small project from inception to its "end." I love when people do project wrap-up posts and detail their process after they've reflected for a bit, but I'm curious about the "in the trenches" part of working on a project. Perhaps that's what Twitter is for, but curse the 140-character limit!


  3. Happy blog-iversary, Jessica! I would agree with Alyssa that you strike an excellent balance in tone and type of post. You're really good with titles, too - the overall title of the blog, of course, but also individual post titles.

    I'm excited for interview posts! Have you thought about asking for each interviewee's librarian origin story?

    My only suggestion for improvement is to update the sidebar 'My Blog List'...one or two of the existing entries appear pretty stagnant, and perhaps you have new ones to add.

    Thanks for all you do!
    bzitin at gmail