In my traipse through the highways and byways of the interweb, looking for UK library and librarian blogs, I learned a few things about blogs in general, and UK library blogs. I'll try and make sense of it below...
- Have an “About” or “Profile” section easily locatable on your blog. Without this, it's like a book without a “blurb”: there’s no information to guide the reader on what to expect from you, and people may well get frustrated, leave and not return, regardless of how interesting your content is.
- Give people some idea of what you blog about. If you blog infrequently, it can take a fair amount of time for a reader to skim through multiple posts and get an idea of what you’re about. A tag cloud is very helpful to allow a reader to see at a glance what your main blogging themes are. Or sort your labels by order of frequency, so people can see what you most often blog about.
- Identify, if not who you are (if you want to blog fully or semi anonymously), then at least where you are. Don’t assume that because you know where you are, everyone else will without being told! I spent a lot of time just trying to identify the country some bloggers were located in, and often had to resort to trawling the blog posts for cultural references and diffrences in spellings to help me decide. Knowing where you're located can give the reader some idea if what you post might interest them / have common interests.
There are bloggers working freelance, in health libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, public libraries and special libraries. Every sector does seem to have at least one blog.
Even library suppliers have blogs!
Quite a few bloggers have started in the last 6 months.
The smaller countries have proportionately smaller amounts of bloggers, unsurprisingly! 4 or 5 Scots, and 2 or 3 Welsh (a rough estimate), both individual and institutional.
Academic institutions are well represented. They are usually very active blogs, with regular posts. This may be a result of both working as a team, and blogging as a team - it's perhaps easier to keep the momentum going if you're able to chat to co-workers about post ideas, what should be posted, when etc.
Very few, if any (going on memory here!) bloggers comment on their place of work...this isn't unexpected, as mentioning workplaces can create all sorts of problems for the blogger. Any comments about workplaces are usually positive. This does mean that library blogs are skewed quite heavily towards the "isn't the world a lovely place?" attitude, which may not actually reflect the reality of their work.
There are a good few librarian bloggers in the UK, but nowhere near as many proportionally as in the USA. What is it that encourages Americans to blog, but not British? Is it an attempt to stand out / be heard in a much larger group, which is easier to do in the UK without blogging, as the library pool is smaller?
Politics seems to be a taboo subject on UK library blogs - I'm aware of quite a few American blogs whose authors are happy to write about their political views / support for a certain candidate, but I can't remember seeing any posts touching on politics on UK blogs. This might well be because of the upcoming Presidential election in America, and the fact that the UK isn't near a General Election, but I'm not altogether sure about that. American bloggers seem to be more confident on voicing strongly held views anyway, and are willing to defend them, whereas UK bloggers are more reserved. Or am I just perpetuating cultural stereotypes? ;-)