When was the very first Democratic caucus in Iowa?
How do I set up a VPN on my laptop?
Is wheat bran the same as wheat germ?
These are examples of questions you might take to a librarian at your local library. People with pressing queries often turn to librarians for help, especially if they are looking for answers from a trusted or authoritative source. But where can librarians go if they have questions of their own? While an advanced level degree such as equips them with the knowledge necessary to navigate complex queries even they may have, there are a number of resources available to librarians to help them keep abreast with trends in library science and learn how to better serve the people they interact with every day.
Blogs are one of those options. There are also free online resources dedicated to library science, a multidisciplinary field in which librarians help to bridge the gap between people and information and technology. As technology and the way we store our information continues to evolve, librarians will play a key role in teaching and supporting others and online resources can help them do that.
Top Librarian Blogs for 2020
This may come as no surprise. Many blogs written by or for librarians are informative, erudite, topical, and authoritative. , while those for school librarians might feature exhaustive resources for handling questions from hiring managers.
Here is a collection of librarian blogs:
David Lee King — This is a solid resource for digital librarians and others interested in information technology. King, digital services director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas, writes about issues relevant to the field of library science. Those issues include how integral iPads have become in library services or technical reviews of microphone sound quality.
Librarian.net —This long-time blog by a Vermont library technologist is an ode to libraries across the country and a wide range of books. Learn about library associations, dive into common queries, and obtain reading lists on this blog.
Mr. Library Dude – This is an encyclopedic blog by a veteran academic librarian that covers a wide range of topics, from user experience to library management to job hunting. The information on this blog can be useful to all types of librarians.
Librarian By Day — With posts dating back to 2007, this blog features personal musings on an eclectic range of topics, including male domination of library leadership, health literacy, and information privacy for library goers. The tags included on the blog homepage allows readers to select and read posts that are of particular interest to them.
ACRLog – The tag says it all: “Blogging by and for academic and research librarians.” Not only do you have an opportunity to read posts by fellow colleagues in the field, but you can also write for this blog if you want. Details for guest posts are outlined on the website.
Agnostic, Maybe — Written by a New Jersey librarian named Andy, this blog is a deep and highly opinionated dive into library science esoterica. This blog is no longer being updated, but it offers a repository of almost a decade’s worth of posts.
6 Great Websites for Librarians
The best library-centric websites tend to invite browsing. It’s easy to get lost in the digital stacks of resources for library professionals.
Here are a few websites to frequent if you’re professional in the field of library science:
Public Libraries Online – This website of the Public Library Association is chock full of content, including author interviews, industry news, podcasts, innovative programs for library patrons, and more.
EveryLibrary – The aim of this political action committee is to build more libraries in schools, colleges and communities by lobbying for tax funding, bonds, and other support. You can volunteer and connect with other like-minded advocates, whether you’re a reference librarian, special librarian, or a school librarian.
New York Public Library — This is arguably the country’s greatest public library system. It’s a smorgasbord of library-related content: research and digital projects; book, music, and movie reviews; audio and video recordings; blog posts from dozens of contributors, and more.
Library Technology Guides – This website, run by Marshall Breeding, covers the organizations that develop and support library-oriented software and systems, from e-book lending technology to immersive technologies. The site offers extensive databases and document repositories to assist libraries as they consider new systems, and is an essential resource for professionals in the field to stay current with new developments and trends. Relevant news items are posted daily on Twitter.
American Libraries – This national magazine comes as both a print and online edition. Library science trends and data, industry spotlights and webinars are all available on their website.
Helpful Apps and Other Online Resources for Librarians
Are you a public librarian hoping to attract more patrons to your branch or a school librarian who’s interested in discovering ways to turn your library into a more accessible and inviting hive of learning? Maybe you’re a research librarian who wants to share fascinating news and facts with the wider community?
The following apps, websites, and online resources are available to you and can to help make all that happen:
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter — Love it or not, social media can be a convenient and powerful way to garner new library users and forge connections with current patrons. Share a best-selling book title or advertise an author visit. Be mindful of your target audience on these platforms. Three-quarters of teens and young adults have used Instagram, but fewer than one in 10 people over age 65 have, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center article.
Keynote — This apps lets you create snazzy group presentations by melding still photos, sounds, videos, writing, and other elements right from your iPhone or iPad. Spruce up your next major management meeting with your presentation.
BookBub – Get alerts to limited-time offers for free or deeply discounted eBooks to add to your library’s collection.
BiblioApps — Created with public libraries in mind, this fee-based product allows your patrons to browse your library’s offerings right from their mobile device. Borrowers can use the app to hold their digital library card, look up operation hours, or even receive notices in different languages.
Axiell — This is another mobile library app for patrons. You can reserve books or other content, download audio books or videos, and look up activity calendars for your branch.
The Speech Accent Archive — This handy audio resource is for any public librarian who wants to better serve patrons who speak with different accents in English. You can listen to recordings of sample speeches in dozens of languages and dialects.
STEM Activity Clearinghouse – This website features a curated collection of science, technology, engineering, and math-related activities that school librarians and others can offer patrons of all ages.
TechSoup for Libraries — This nonprofit donates computers, new software, and cybersecurity support for libraries. Offerings include products from Microsoft, Adobe, and Symantec.
Institute of Museum and Library Services – This federal agency’s mission is to promote libraries as critical hubs of connection and learning in communities. You can find interesting statistics about annual tallies of library visitors and priority issues like expanding broadband, or accessibility challenges for patrons with autism, blindness, or other disabilities. The website also has links to grants for libraries and professional development opportunities.
4 Acclaimed Books for Librarians
“The Library Book.” Best-selling author Susan Orlean traces the 1986 fire that tore through the Los Angeles Public Library. The seven-hour inferno destroyed or damaged more than a million books. The fire’s origin remains unsolved, and Orlean asks if it was set intentionally. The book is part mystery and part Orlean’s paean to the vital importance of libraries in our lives.
“The Boy Who Dared.” This is a fictionalized account of the true story about Helmuth Hübener, a teenager in Hitler’s Germany who was imprisoned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. Children’s author Susan Campbell Bartoletti writes about censorship, truth, and standing up to evil in controlling societies. Books such aas “Fahrenheit 451,” “1984,” and “Brave New World,” explore similar themes.
“BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google.” What is the role of libraries in an era when you can look up pretty much anything on your smartphone? John Palfrey’s answer is that libraries aren’t simply repositories of information. Instead, he regards them as crucial tools of empowerment for undereducated, poor, or otherwise informationally dispossessed citizens. Palfrey contends that survival and vitality of libraries depend on leaping into the digital future as soon as possible.
“Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria.” This isn’t a book but a long article in The Atlantic about books. Specifically, Google’s “moonshot” project to create a universal library by digitizing every book ever published – some 130 million volumes. It’s a gripping tale of how a legal fight pitting Google against authors and publishers has stranded a database of 25 million digitized books largely beyond the public’s reach.
Professional Development Resources for Librarians
Who are librarians if not people who embrace knowledge and learning? From a master’s in library science to related studies, librarians have the option to continue learning, developing themselves as professionals and switching work environments if they please.
Here’s a curated list on free online resources to help information and library science professionals reach their personal and professional goals:
WebJunction.org – This nonprofit group calls itself “the learning place for libraries.” It offers tools and information for library professionals to sharpen and advance their skills. You also can find tutorials and webinars under the “personal growth & development” tab.
Competency Index for the Library Field [PDF, 3.5 MB] — This detailed guide for core skills required for various jobs within libraries was compiled by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and WebJunction. Among the positions covered include administrators, cataloging librarians with a master’s in library science, librarians serving children and young adults, and information technology and support staff.
Hack Library School — This is a resource for soon-to-be professionals: library science students. A group of bloggers take on wide-ranging topics that include academic curriculum, networking, social media, time management, internships, and the occasional horoscope.
Online Tools for Librarians – This is WebJunction’s compilation of tools of the trade for the 21st century librarian. It includes free and for-fee programs that teach you all about web conferencing, Google Hangouts, screen casting and more.