I found several great librarian blogs this week and thought I would share them with you. I felt almost as if I was partaking in an online scavenger hunt for great library ideas. Each blog I found and enjoyed led me to another one, and then another, and then another! Time flew by. When I looked at the clock two hours had gone by!
I discovered that different blogs had different goals; some wanted to share information about books they recommended, some wanted to share tech tips, some both. Other blogs spoke to fellow LMS or LMS candidates while others targeted their students. Whomever the intended audience was, the blogs shared valuable information and inspired me to look for new, creative ways to encourage reading and utilize technology.
I discovered that a blog is an amazing tool to increase student engagement, communicate with students, staff, and families, as well as to promote your media center or classroom. Once students or parents subscribe to a blog, they receive email notifications of any updates including announcements and homework assignments. For these reasons, I am considering switching to a blog instead of a class webpage. This will be a fun summer activity!
Two of the following featured blogs share great ideas about how to integrate technology in the media center and are sources of inspiration for readers. The third blog not only shares interesting techno tips, but also book trailers and recommendations to inspire even the pickiest reader. All three blogs feature creative LMS doing what they do best – engaging students.
This past November, I attended the 2014 MASL Conference and was truly inspired by the Keynote Speaker, Jennifer LaGarde. During her speech, Ms. LaGarde referenced her blog several times and, recently, I visited the site. Due to her great sense of humor, I anticipated that her blog would be quirky and highly entertaining. I was not disappointed! While reading her posts, I could hear her North Carolina southern drawl in my head and almost felt her sunny smile. Ms. LaGarde addresses several issues on her blog, however her most recent post was about her goals for this school year. She shared how she asked the faculty and staff in the building one question , “What would it take to make you see bringing students to the library as good use of your instructional time?” Based on the responses, Ms. LaGarde sorted the responses into categories and used this input to determine her path for the school year. Very inspiring! Here’s a link to this specific post.
My only disappointment was that Ms. LaGarde has not posted on her blog since September 2014. However, it appears that she hosts a webcast called EdGeekCast that I will definitely take some time to check out one of these days. I like how Ms. LaGarde included a “Live Traffic Feed” to show where people visited from. By including this on her blog it was evident that she has a global internet presence and seeks to make connections with other LMS. Every post on her blog attempts to educate and inspire other LMS to continue being the best professional they can be.
Mrs. Hembree’s blog, Bulldog Reader Blog: bridging books, lessons, and technology is a finalist in eduBlog’s Best Library/Librarian Blog of 2015. The Bulldog Blog definitely deserves the nomination. On her blog, Mrs. Hembree creates her own book trailers, links with libraries around the world, looks for opportunities to make the world a better place, and encourages students to learn to code. As of March 20th, 2015, Mrs. Hembree has had 197,370 visitors from around the world. Very impressive!
Mrs. Hembree also includes several inspiring ideas for fellow LMS in her blog even though the blog is intended for student reference. For example, there is a QR Code link to student created trailers for books, links to Web 2.0 tools that will prove extremely useful one day, as well as links to classroom blogs around the world. In this post from February 7th, 2015, Mrs. Hembree shared her Valentine’s Day display titled Love Your Library Month. I love the idea behind the display as it suggests that the readers should “go on a blind date” with a book. The books in the display are wrapped in red paper and patrons are supposed to borrow a book and give it a try without knowing what it is. What a cool idea! Also, in this post from June 2014, Mrs. Hembree discusses a recent Skype event where she and her first grade students Skyped with a friend in San Francisco about their experiences diving in relation to their unit on Oceans. What a great idea!
A little closer to home, I discovered Gwyneth Jones’ blog, The Darling Librarian. Ms. Jones is a LMS at Murray Hill Middle School here in Howard County, Maryland. Almost like the scene from Elf where Buddy the Elf exclaims, “Santa Clause?!?!? I know him!” I met Gwyneth Jones at a Professional Development Day a few years ago. I felt like i had met Library Royalty! Her blog is amazing and, in person, Ms. Jones is just as inspiring. Check out this post from March 10th about encouraging LMS to create a school Instagram account in order to demonstrate to students the need to be positive digital citizens.
Ms. Jones is a Professional Digital Footprint specialist – if such a thing exists. She is the ultimate online marketing specialist. When I Googled her name, there were multiple pages of results with links to her blogs, her Twitter account, and her SlideShare channel among others. Everything appeared very professional and recent. I highly recommend you check it out!
My only criticism with Ms. Jones’ blog is that it is difficult to find archived entries. I wanted to read some of her old posts and found them difficult to find. I eventually clicked around and found them buried on a separate page. I also explored her school library blog page at this link. She has a lot of great resources for her students in this blog as well as contests and images from the media.