MONTHLY DISCUSSION: READING AND WRITING

Our monthly discussion topic for May is all about reading and writing, which brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from Alice in Wonderland:

‘Reeling and writing of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied, ‘and the different branches of arithmetic-ambition, distraction, uglification and derision.’

What we want to know this month is  how do you stay up to date with professional issues?  Are you a skim reader, touching lightly on multiple sources of information to find out just a little bit about everything? Or do you delve deeply into particular issues, reading books and articles, following conference presentations? Are there particular journals that you read every issue or particular blogs that you follow? Do you do most of your professional reading on Twitter?

We’d also like to know about your experiences writing material to share with the library community. Does tweeting about professional issues count as professional writing? Have you ever written an article for publication? What about a blog entry – or do you manage your own blog? Have you written a book – and if you haven’t, but might want to, what would you like to write a book about? Do you write alone or do you collaborate with colleagues?

(By the way, if you’d be interested in writing a guest blog post for the ILN website, we’d love to hear from you!)

And finally, does your workplace support you keeping up with your professional reading and writing? Do you think they should, or do you think this is a personal responsibility?

So now it’s your turn, share with us below your suggestions for excellent library-related blogs, journals and books and your experiences in the world of library related reading and writing.

If you’re enrolled in our pilot program try discussing this topic with your partner or join the conversation on Twitter using our #interlibnet hashtag.

13 comments

  1. […] had discussion topics about professional reading and writing before, so when this post came across our reading lists, we just had to share it. Have you ever […]

  2. Thank you to everyone who has commented so far – there’s a great list of reading forming already.

    Last week there was an interesting (and timely for this discussion) blog post from thewikiman entitled “Is it the end of an era for librarian blogging?” You can check it out over at: http://thewikiman.org/blog/?p=2243

    What do you think? Have you noticed some of your favourite blogs being more or less active over time? What do you think about his comments on ‘time’ and that if it was really important, you would make time?

    1. Afroditi · · Reply

      I read thewikiman post and I wrote a comment which I’d like to add here too:
      I used to blog much more in the past when I started my blog. Nowadays, I rarely use it to write or comment. I find other social media easier and faster to use (lack of time is always a factor). I’ve said too much in the past, just like thewikiman said. Now, I find it more useful to share with the community as many more different views of point as I can, that’s why I curate others’ posts or articles. Also, in my country (Greece) most of libraries’ blogs mostly copy other people’s writings in stead of writing something new and when they don’t it’s mostly to promote library projects and nothing more (that’s the case for public libraries mostly – and every rule has it’s exceptions). I don’t think that if we stop blogging we’ll also stop sharing, we’ll just use different ways…

  3. I’m really interested in this topic as I am still struggling to find the right balance for professional reading. On the one hand, I want to read about stuff that is relevant and I find interesting. On the other hand, I worry that by only reading stuff that is relevant and interesting I am somehow limiting myself and actually living in an information silo! I wrote a blog post about my dilemma with this in great detail a few years ago so won’t repeat all of that now 🙂

    I rely on RSS for the bulk of my reading, although I do find many great links via the folks I follow on twitter. The forthcoming demise of Google Reader is causing me some dramas as I attempt to find a replacement! I’m also still studying, so reading has a couple of different contexts for me and I will sometimes set up a different RSS feed or twitter list to follow subjects I’m studying rather than ones I’m especially interested in or find relevant for my work.

    Loving the comments on this topic!

    MPOW is very supportive of a reading and writing habit – we are encouraged to be up to date and informed and actively supported to write and present at conferences.

  4. This discussion has been very valuable to me. Thanks for all the blog links!
    I am also realising that I should give more attention to get my hands on professional reading material, and will follow it up with my corporate library.
    My partner Fiona Malcolm in Australia says she uses diigo, which I am going to try out to compile all the worthwhile reading material.

    I personally use Twitter and Scoop.It to stay ahead, but I realise that it also just skims on top, and don’t dig in deep into the content.
    Flipboard is a great reading app on iPad which makes it possible to feed all the feeds, such as Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, webs etc to one place. You can them proceed to compile magazines from articles that looks like more in-depth reading.

  5. I manage my own blog (or used to mostly). The past year, I’ve been focusing on my rss feeds that come from a great variety of local and international sources (newspapers, websites, blogs, tweets etc) and I curate my own topic on scoop.it (scoop.it/t/infoscienceaddict) through which I share all information I find interesting on linkedin, facebook and twitter. I have to be a skim reader since I don’t have enough time to be thorough. The workplace should definitely support professional reading, but I don’t feel that’s the case for me. I try in my personal time, because I feel it’s trully important to network and link other professionals of our field with information and knowledge that comes to our attention. I’ll try to get back to this thread with some specific sources. Really interesting topic, btw.

  6. Jenny · · Reply

    I find that I mainly use twitter to take me to sources that will be prove useful. I do however look at http://stephenslighthouse.com/ on a regular basis for great insights and reflections. I think all of us have become great skimmers, the nature of so much information available on line so we quickly take what we need and move on. How many of us really read the whole thing? I think that is the attraction with twitter, we can easily skim and make quick judgements about whether to follow through with the suggested link or photo. I use facebook alot to source things I am interested in, main ones I follow are GOOD and Project for Public Spaces ( Placemaking ) Also enjoy joining collaborative groups such as Australian Women’s Writing Challenge within Goodreads, great tool to use to widen reading choices.

  7. Simms · · Reply

    Hello!

    Currently, I rely quite heavily on twitter for news about what librarians are doing. Shortly after I started tweeting (in December 2011!) I added individual librarians, professional societies, and lots of archivists to a list & just tried to make it a public list so I could share it with you all. Twitter doesn’t seem to want to let me do that at the moment, but I’ll look into it! I maintain a separate (and private) list that’s more focused on libraries, archives, museums, parks, historic sites, and so on. I would lift the privacy restriction on that list, too, if I could. Of course, now I’m wondering what possessed me to make those lists private?

    @hacklibschool, @jenica26, @rdlankes, @archivesnext, @libraryfeed, @GaviaLib, @RadReference, and @jessamyn are some of the twitter accounts I’ve added to the list I named “librarians & archivists: folks out & about in the field”

    I heard about ILN through twitter!

    @IArtLibraries, @TodaysDocument, @NSArchive, @RAINbyte, & @RuralLibAssoc are some of the twitter accounts I’ve added to the list I named “LAMPS: about libraries, archives, museums, parks, sites, etc.” There are a lot of institution-specific special collections twitter accounts, and most of them are southeastern U.S.-based, but I’ve recently added some Australian, Scottish, Irish & English institutions.

    It’s looking like I might need to manage my lists a bit better before adding more! :/

    I added a bunch of library-related blogs to Google Reader & recently started a feedly account. If the staggering number of unread posts is any indication, I’m afraid I added blogs pretty indiscriminately. Following the tweets of bloggers occasionally prompts me to read a post here and there, but I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately and I’m in the final stages (finally!) of my master’s paper. So, I haven’t been keeping up as much as I used to. That will all change soon!

    As one who’s still technically a student and searching for a job, I follow @HiringLib, @needalibraryjob, @ALA_JobLIST, @libgig_jobs, @archivesgig, and others. Of course, they’re all corralled in a private list, too.

    The extent to which a prospective employer supports reading & discussion of recent literature might be a good question to pose during the interview experience. I was imagining a small group of librarians meeting once a month over lunch to talk about a specific journal article or other readings. I don’t think I’d count tweeting, however incessantly, as professional writing. 🙂 Longer blog posts about library-related topics such as collections, personnel, reference, though? Yes.

    I know of one academic institution that counts grant writing as a publication, especially if the grant application is successful. I haven’t written a grant, much less a book review, but I know professional writing is in my (hopefully near) future and hope I’ll have the sense to ask for feedback and guidance during many stages of the writing process. In school, writing is such a solitary pursuit unless you’re assigned to a group; I’d be interested to hear how it differs once one is writing more professionally: did library school writing assignments prepare you for the realm of professional writing? To those librarians who have published, where do you go for support during the writing process? If you work at a university, do you have access to a writing center or writing lab? Have you used one?

    Simms

    I don’t always use the most polite language, but please feel free to follow me (or, just check out who I follow): @simmstoomey 🙂

    1. Oh! I couldn’t make my list public either, and I though I’ve done something wrong…

  8. Hello!

    I follow primarily english-speaking sites, although there are many in greek also. My favorite source is Twitter, Google reader (now that is closing I have feedly) and facebook sometimes.

    One interesting e-journal is D-lib magazine, which is related to my studies right now.

    For library news I like http://lisnews.org/ which is like an aggregating service.

    I also follow the facebook pages of libraries that I find exciting, like Biodiversity heritage library, or SOAS London library. It’s not very useful for professional development but I like it as inspiration.

    In twitter I browse through the news of organizations or unions for news, job postings and articles, like CILIP, eifl and others. Here is the address to my list:
    https://twitter.com/bubamarab/digital-libraries-list/members

    In general, I would say I am a skim reader, although I would like to change to a more thorough one 🙂 And unfortunately the environment doesn’t really help to delve into serious library reading, since there isn’t much encouraging in such matters.

    Paschalia

  9. Hi Amy – thanks for such a comprehensive response! It would be interesting to see what other library blogs people are reading. Let us know folks!

  10. Amy B · · Reply

    Oh boy, am I ever avid blog reader for professional development. I also find Twitter good for breaking news and quick tips. There are a few topics that will read more deeply on but in general my reading is online skimming and journal articles.

    Should workplaces encourage professional reading? Of course! I do realise that we are all crazy busy, but an hour or two a week of reading (and/or writing) will benefit the employer in the end because they will have a workforce that is more engaged in the wider conversations and aware of changes within the industry.

    Here are a few interesting library (and library adjacent) blogs:

    The Centered Librarian- http://centeredlibrarian.blogspot.com.au/
    Information is Beautiful- http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/
    Search Engine Showdown- http://searchengineshowdown.com/
    David Lee King- http://www.davidleeking.com/
    Free Range Librarian- freerangelibrarian.com
    The Scholarly Kitchen- http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/
    The Library as incubator Project- http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/
    and of course…
    This is what a librarian looks like- http://lookslikelibraryscience.com/

    1. Oh man, Amy you just increased my feed list by heaps! Sigh, so many cool things to read!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: