Over the last few months at MPOW we searched far and wide for just the right book for an event to commemorate the addition of the 3 millionth book to our collection. You know how these things work. It isn’t really the 3 millionth book. It’s a ceremonial representation of the 3 millionth book. You’d hardly want to build a campus event around your actual 3 millionth book, especially if it was something from the “For Dummies” series or a graphic novel. So we obtained a rather distinguished rare book upon which to develop a nice campaign to publicize our great collection and all the hard work that goes into building a common intellectual resource for an academic community. I suspect that many academic librarians take a “who’s counting” attitude, and just focus on the work at hand without much routine thought about the size of the collection.
That’s how I’d describe my position on blog posts. Who’s counting? And until a few months ago I had no idea how many posts I’d written for ACRLog. But then one of our staff technical experts (ACRL spares no expense in supplying behind-the-scenes IT wizards to keep this blog operating at peak efficiency -right Kevin) said “Hey, we can add a side bar that gives the post count for each blogger.” I seem to recall it was there before I had a chance to chime in, but it certainly does offer a good way to quickly get to all the posts any one ACRLog blogger has written. If you should happen to have, oh, 20 or 30 hours where you have absolutely nothing to do and you want to read every post I’ve contributed to ACRLog, well, all I can say is here’s to better living through technology. But now that a running count of my posts was available I did take notice that I was closing in on number 400. Not that there’s anything particularly special about 400 posts. Now 500 posts might be special – some sort of landmark event – but like most bloggers if I get an idea for a post – well, why wait.
None of this is to suggest that quantity makes for a quality blog experience. I’d like to think that most of the posts have offered good quality – good ideas delivered with good writing – but a blogger will probably miss the mark more often than he or she hits it. I just try to keep writing, trying new or different things, and hoping they’ll work. So I thought this seemed like a reasonable time to take a look back at some old favorites – posts that I think did work. You may not agree:
Are You Where You Want To Be – some thoughts about career tracks; a rare post with a personal side to it
The Information Literacy Facade – maybe what we call it does make a difference
Debating the Future of the Reference Desk – this issue is still being discussed
Sense and Simplicity – the tension in our profession between simplicity and complexity – the “simplicity-complexity conundrum” is a topic I’ve returned to throughout the years
What It Really Means To Be A Faculty Member – what would a blog about academic librarianship be without posts about faculty status, tenure and academic freedom
What makes a post work? One good indicator would be comments – did readers care enough to share their thoughts with the blogger and other readers? We don’t get many comments at ACRLog, but those we do get are typically thoughtful and add to the conversation. Beyond that I’d like to think a post I write gets the reader thinking about things in a different way, perhaps seeing something that he or she didn’t see before. Most of all, I hope it’s something worth remembering. Of course no one is going to remember most of them – I sure don’t. But I know readers do because every now and then I’ll meet a librarian who will mention a post and tell me why it struck a chord with him or her – and chances are I’ll be asking myself if I actually wrote that post (or maybe it was Barbara and they think it was me – or it was some other blog all together). Of course it can help a blogger to say something challenging or controversial, but there’s no point in doing it just for the sake of playing the role of rebel or heretic.
Looking back, most of the posts seem to run together like a blur. Still I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to blog for ACRLog and share them all with you readers. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I look forward to writing a few hundred more.