The title of this essay has three important key words namely: impact, blogging, and library and information science (LIS). In librarian lingo, blogging is not a new word. Blogs and blogging has been around since 2000 so if you miss this “phenomenal” word, you must have been living under a rock. As for LIS, you have to be a worm not to know what it is all about. Put them all together in one nifty title and a host of images, contexts and meaning arise. Among these key words, it is the word impact that has caught my attention.
I suppose it is the same key word that organizers of the UP FLIPP seminar thought about in awhile otherwise they could have concocted another title.
What is the impact of blogging to LIS? Believe me, I have pondered on this for weeks. It seems that, blogging has something philosophical and profound that it affect librarians and the profession at large. Or perhaps, there is a scarcity of literature, scholarly or not, on the effects of blogging to LIS be it in an online environment or a printed format that we, in the LIS field must talk about and conduct discussions on. If this is the case, then blogging has indeed become a serious topic for LIS practitioners and students alike.
Walter Crawford has recently published a book, Liblog Landscapes. Between 2007-2008, 600+ liblogs has mushroomed in the WWW. Crawford has been studying blogs by librarians and about libraries since 2006. Judit Bar-Ilan of Isarel conducted a content analysis of library and librarian blogs from 2003 to 2005. There had been a 15-20 percent increase in the two-year period of the study. Several websites like the International Association of School Libraries Online contain a directory of blogs by school librarians and libraries. The list grows longer every year that it is already categorized by themes and topics.
Liblogs are multiplying in the speed of bytes and broadband, indeed! But we go back to the same question. What force attracts LIS professionals from blogging?
One important role of LIS professionals is to extend public awareness and appreciation of information availability (Bar-Ilan, 2005). There are many ways to actualize this role. Library newsletter and bulletin boards are examples. With the advent of blogging technology, blogs are becoming ideal tools. Aside from this, blogs are avenues where librarians can promote and market the library’s collection, services and programs. Online directories and book reviews can be published. Announcement of library activities and calendar of events can be disseminated via blogs. Even job vacancies and applicant requirements are uploaded in blogs! The campaign for library awareness and its importance can be expressed through blogs.
The advocacy of uplifting the image of a pro-active LIS professional is another reason for blogging. More so, scholarly papers, essays, networking and linkages, collaborative projects by librarians with in and with others are contents of many liblogs. These online readings help a lot in the professional growth of librarians.
Such things are possible through blogs and blogging. Just like libraries, it is a free enterprise. For as long as you have the time, the technology, the skills to thrive in an online environment, and something relevant to communicate with an audience, blogging can be a worthwhile and liberating experience. So no wonder blogs, like libraries are growing organisms!
Let us now go over these blogs by librarians and libraries to further understand its impact to the discipline. Allow me to begin with our very own, homegrown blogs.
1. School Librarian In Action
2. Filipino Librarian
3. Arnold Digital
5. Mindanao Librarian
7. PLAI NCR
8. Weekly Job Notices
Let’s look at the following blogs of librarians in other parts of the world .
1. The Shifted Librarian
2. Peter Scott’s Library Blog
3. Deep Thinking
4. The Rambling Librarian
6. Library Grits
7. Library Profession
8. Judging the Books
With the continuous growth and development of IT, libraries and librarians can do a lot more with blogs. I would not be surprised if blogging becomes a requirement in library school. The challenge now for us in the LIS field is two fold. One would be the creative way in which we can increase blog readership. And two, the internal motivation librarians must possess to continue blogging about the profession and LIS related issues.