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5 reasons why Library Professionals need to start a blog journey

Jane Cowell


I had 3 reasons for starting my blogging journey. One was to develop my writing style.

Being in government roles my whole working life my writing style is very formal and bureaucratic. Still is but I am learning, through blogging, to find and try different writing styles.

I also wanted to share more broadly with the library profession what I was learning, doing and innovating in my own library so that other library professionals could learn and build on the ideas shared. Building into my professional life a reflective learning practice through my blog has helped me immensely to clarify what I learnt and how I can, if needed, build this learning into my professional practice.

And thirdly I hoped to start conversations in the library world about the questions I have about how we do our business. What needs to change to keep libraries alive, vibrant and relevant? How do we support long term library staff through this change, build their skills and look after their resilience, and their mental and emotional health? How do we attract new people to the profession without burning them out? Lots of conversations to be had!

So why should you write a blog too? Here are the five reasons why I think every library professional should start a blogging journey of their own.

1. To Share What You are Doing

The Library world is all about sharing — our values and are work are based on free access to information and the freedom to read. Sharing resources, sharing knowledge and sharing ideas. Every library service I visit or library professional I speak to at seminars, conferences or meetings are doing something amazing with their communities. Yet no-one outside that library service knows about it. We need to share what we are doing with each other — celebrate what works, share what we have learned from trying something that has not worked — so that other libraries can build and adapt on the idea to meet local needs. Whether you are a special librarian, University Librarian, School Librarian or Public Librarian, you have done something amazing within your communities. Share it so that we can all learn from each other. Some of the best outcomes for my library service have come from adapting an idea from another library service that was shared in an article or blog post. Ideas can come from anywhere but the best ones come from what we share with each other.

2. Build a tide of stories of how libraries have changed

We are now connected globally and writing a blog post about what your library is achieving is a great advocacy tool for the profession. Many professionals say to me that their organization or new community partners have no idea of what a modern library does or how it can help the organization. When that happens we see that budgets are cut and in the case of school librarians sometimes the very position has been cut from the school. We need to build a barrage of voices that celebrate and showcase the outcomes libraries achieve. And we need to post these messages in the blogosphere so that they are found by others outside the profession. The more global library voices contribute, the more the impact of what we in libraries do will permeate throughout other industries and ultimately more widely in our own organisations. These stories could also feature in your own advocacy campaign within your library service.

3. Building a reflective professional practice

Reflecting on what we have learnt and pondering what we could do, change, or practice from what we have learnt is how we continue to grow — as a profession and as a professional. The practice of writing it down, for me, and I believe for everyone, helps us to commit to change. It is also great to be able to go back to when we need a reminder of what we committed to. It helps us to grow. This quote from Mark Schaefer’s Marketing blog has always resonated with me and the very act of writing out your thoughts can give a boost to your own mental health — so blogging can also become part of your own self-care toolkit.

The immersive act of writing is probably similar to meditation or walking in the woods.

4. Build a Professional Profile

Library professionals read library blog posts. And we are good at sharing blog posts within our networks. Writing about your experience as a librarian in a positive, thoughtful way will build your professional profile. You can also advocate for changes in the profession based on your experience — detailing the why, the actions needed to be taken to have the change take place or even post the questions that could drive change. You will also build your library network globally which means a wonderful web of professionals to reach out to when you are testing an idea.

5. Drive Change Within the Profession

I have been reading a few blog posts about library professionals suffering burnout. What needs to change in the profession to alleviate this? We should all be sharing our ideas, our reflective practices an any positive self care practices that have worked for us. How do we build a culture of test, try and learn into library services so that young professionals learn to fly rather than feeling stunted or stuck? We need to attract many more passionate advocates to the profession to keep our industry alive, positive and relevant. Asking positive questions, seeking to understand the why, and working together to drive change will ultimately help our profession be more inclusive, welcoming of every professional and grow as a profession and industry.

So have I convinced you? Remember it does not matter if your blog post is read in the early days. My first blogs were really bad. So formal, too long, and very rambling. And yes not read by very many at all. That was okay as I was learning. My blogs are still a bit too long, a bit too formal but they are getting more focused so I am learning and my writing is developing. Yours will too. It’s about the way not the destination.

If you need some support join the newCardigan and the Glam Blog Club and commit to blogging once a month to start. I look forward to reading them. And now I have written this I must also commit to writing more blogs!

Photo by Les Argonautes on Unsplash



Jane Cowell

Librarian, interested in libraries, digital disruption, startups, Australian politics