ACRL/CNI/EDUCAUSE Virtual Conference

April 17, 2006

Are you looking for quick, easy and affordable vehicles to market academic library services? Do you need to publicize new databases, new books and media, or information literacy instruction? Don't know HTML or don't have the time or skills to create web pages?

Blogging is rapidly becoming a new PR tool for the savvy 21st Century academic librarian. Without knowing any HTML, you can create instant web content in a matter of minutes. If there's an issue regarding posting your blog on your library/university web server, there are sites which will host your blog for free. Blogging software is free or inexpensive, and easy to learn, and there is a rapidly expanding academic library weblog community where you can keep current, be inspired and ask questions.

Blogs are exceptionally good for collaboration so multiple librarians can post to a New Books & Media Blog; blogs can also be used as an Intranet.

This overview of blogging in the academic library will include:

  • What is blogging?
  • Why would I want to create a blog?
  • What decisions are necessary to make prior to creating a blog?
  • We will view (via annotated links) a wide variety of academic library blogs.
  • You will learn the steps to easily set up your own blog.

The Presentation Blogs

The presentation blogs contain links to key blogging services and tools:

What is a Blog?

A web site containing…

  • Brief informational posts, often arranged in reverse chronological order
  • Frequently links to additional content
  • Timestamp for each post
  • Archives of previously posted content

Library Weblogs

"A Weblog can take the form of a diary, a news service (or summaries of and links to current news items on a topic), a collection of links to other Web sites, a series of book reviews, reports of activity on a project, a journal or diary, a photographic record of an event or activity, or any number of other forms."

Clyde, L.A. (2004). Library weblogs. Library Management, 25 (4/5), 183-189.

Anatomy of a Typical Blog Post

“Blogs share a common format. This uniformity facilitates usability by allowing readers to quickly skim a blog for interesting information. ‘The weblog format provides a framework for our universal blog experiences, enabling social interactions we associate with blogging,’ writes Blogger co-founder Meg Hourihan.”

Why Read Blogs?

  • Personal & professional
  • Keep current
  • No spam! (hopefully)

Why Create Blogs

  • Personal publishing
  • Professional publishing
  • Provide information

Why Blogs?

Easy to…

  • Create
  • Update
  • Publish
  • Collaborate


  • HTML
  • Web page software
  • FTP
  • $$$$$

Pew Internet & American Life Reports:

The State of Blogging
“By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture: 7% of U.S. internet users say they have created blogs and 27% say they are blog readers.”

New Data on Blogs and Blogging
"In two surveys of American adults conducted between January 13 and March 21, 2005 of 2,871 internet users, we found that 9% of internet users now say they have created blogs and 25% of internet users say they read blogs.”

Pew Research Center for The People & The Press:
News Audiences Increasingly Politicized

  • 40% of American adults are regular/occasional talk radio listeners
  • 79% of American adults regularly/sometimes read daily newspapers
  • So, the blog-reading audience is about 20% of the size of the newspaper-reading population.

Pew Internet & American Life Report:
Teen Content Creators & Consumers

  • Fully half of all teens and 57% of teens who use the internet have created content for the internet.

Latest Research on Millennials
Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet and American Life Project

Computers in Libraries 2006 Keynote (PowerPoint)
March 24, 2006
The Internet: Enhancing Digital Work & Play

Public Library Association National Conference (PDF)
March 23, 2006
Life Online: Teens and technology and the world to come

University Blogs

  • PR
  • Intranet
  • Outreach
  • Portfolio
  • Recruiting
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Course management
  • Knowledge management

Academic Library Blogs

First Steps

  • Find academic library blogs
  • Start reading blogs
  • Blogging presentations @ conferences

Find Academic Library Blogs

While there are blog-specific search engines, I find that a Google Advanced Search on all the words blog university library, set to 100 results, gives me the most options. See also Amanda Etches-Johnson's excellent list.

Creating a Library Blog

Why create a blog for your library?

  • To communicate with your users
  • To communicate with library staff

Public Blogs for User Communication

  • Library news
  • Recent acquisitions list
  • Announce new services
  • Recommended research sources
  • Supplement/replace library newsletter
  • Book/movie/web site recommendations
  • Your ideas….

Internal Blogs for Staff Communication (Amanda Etches-Johnson's excellent list)

  • Announcements for staff
  • Project management
  • Forum for collaboration
  • Progress reports

Benefits of Library Blogs

  • Easy – no HTML knowledge required
  • Quick
  • Free! No software to purchase
  • Innovative, cutting edge
  • Attracts younger users

Steps for Creating a Library Blog

  • Consider purpose & audience
  • Choose blogging software
  • Develop a blogging policy
  • Select a template for the blog
  • Consider staffing issues
  • Post content
  • Market your blog

Consider Purpose

  • Determine content
  • Library news
  • Recent acquisitions list
  • Announce new services
  • Recommended research sources
  • Book/movie/web site recommendations
  • Your ideas…

Consider Audience

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff

Choose Blog Software

Software Used by Library Blogs

  • Blogger – 43.9%
  • Movable Type – 17.5%
  • Radio UserLand – 8.7%
  • Other Identified – Less than 2% each
  • Unidentified – 22.8%

Survey from Laurel A. Clyde’s Weblogs and Libraries, Chandos Publishing: Oxford, 2004, pg. 98.

Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool?
By Susannah Gardner
USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review

“Blogs are one of the hottest publishing tools around, but picking blog software can be confusing and frustrating. Use this primer to get a feel for what's available and what will work best for you.” See also:
Which tool does what? A blog software comparison chart

Caveat! While I have only used Blogger's software from 2002 through March 2006, recently this software has been acting up. This blog is my first created in WordPress, another free blog software.

Develop a Blogging Policy

Select a Template for the Blog

  • Consider features to include
    • Archives
    • Blogroll
    • RSS Feed
  • Choose color scheme and style
  • Test in multiple browsers

Who will post to the blog?

  • May be one person or team
  • Train staff on blog software

Post Content

  • Develop consistent style for posts
  • Use “your own voice” whenever possible
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors
  • Post often

Market your Blog

  • E-mail users directly
  • Issue a press release
  • Announce in library newsletter
  • Include URL on library publications
  • Create bookmarks, business cards, etc.
  • Seek links from other Web sites & blogs
  • List with search engines & blog directories

Key Library Blogs

See also Select Academic Library Blogs (annotated links):


  • Official blog of the Association of College & Research Libraries.
  • Authored by a group of academic librarians referred as the BAB (Blog Advisory Board).

The Kept-Up Academic Librarian

  • Steven J Bell, Director, Gutman Library, Philadelphia University (PA).
  • “Helping Academic Librarians ‘Keep Up’ With News and Developments In Higher Education.”


  • Written and edited by Tara Calishain.
  • Designed to cover the world of Internet research.
  • ‘Would a reference librarian find it useful?’ If the answer's yes, in it goes!”


  • Blake Carver and a dedicated team of authors.
  • Links to interesting stories and Web sites, original stories, interviews and reviews.
  • Updated frequently around the clock, usually 7 days a week.

Library Stuff

  • Steven M. Cohen, Senior Librarian at PubSub Concepts, Inc.
  • Library Stuff is “dedicated to resources for keeping current and professional development.”

  • Amanda Etches-Johnson, Reference Librarian, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • Created a list of library blogs, categorized by academic, public, school and special.
  • She also maintains a list of Blogs for Internal Library Communication.

Georgia State University Library
Library News and Subject Blogs

If there was a prize for the library with the most blogs, Georgia State University Library would win; this is an outstanding example of the value of blogs in an academic library. They were the first that I’m aware of to offer RSS feeds.

The Handheld Librarian

  • “Handheld computer news, ideas, and opinions from librarians and others interested in libraries.”
  • A collaborative blog.

Beyond the Job

  • Sarah Johnson & Rachel Singer Gordon.
  • “Articles, job-hunting advice, professional development opportunities, and other news and ideas on how to further your library career…compiled by the Library Job People.”

The Shifted Librarian

  • Jenny Levine, Internet Development Specialist/Strategy Guide at the Metropolitan Library System, Burr Ridge, IL.
  • “one simple goal: to help us librarians become as technologically adept as our users are so that we can deliver services to them when and where they wish to use them and in their preferred medium and platform.”

The Open Directory Project
Reference: Libraries: Library and Information Science: Weblogs

  • An annotated list of library/librarian blogs from The Open Directory Project. Currently listing 329.


  • Gary Price is a librarian and the Director of Online Information Resources at
  • Founder and chief editor/compiler of ResourceShelf: Resources and News for Information Professionals.
  • Contributing editors Shirl Kennedy, Dan Giancaterino, Steven Cohen, Laura Gordon- Murnane, and Stuart Basefsky.