Note: with this post, I am bringing back to life a blog that has been dormant for a while. I began this blog in my very first class of library school, so my earliest posts will show my starting point as a library student. Hopefully, my blog entries over the years of the program will show my progress as I learn more about what this profession means to me.
Today, in a very circular kind of way, I am blogging about blogging, particularly how I might use a professional blog in my role as a school librarian. My reading and experience with blogs has convinced me that a library blog as part of the school library website can play an important role in communication with students, parents, and the entire school community. If regularly updated, a library blog can publicize special events in the library, as well as documenting the great learning that happens from day to day. An informative, librarian-written blog such as this is a great start, but what I have learned this week is that blogs can do much more.
I was particularly inspired to expand my thoughts on blogging by two exemplary educators. The first is Janie Cowan, who described her blogging experience in her article: “Diary of a Blog: Listening to Kids in an Elementary School Library.” Ms. Cowan went beyond simply using a blog as a one-way communication tool. Instead, she used her library blog to engage the entire school community. Ms. Cowan’s blog entries took the form of open-ended questions (for example: if you could be any character in any book, who would you choose?) addressed to the school community as a whole. Teachers and students all replied enthusiastically, and a school-wide dialogue was begun. This example helped me to think of blogging in a new way, and see its potential as a tool for engagement.
Another inspiration came from Kim Sivick, whose video about student blogs was eye-opening. (You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRvAGN7h-a0 ) In it, Ms. Sivick describes a 4th grade project in which students used blogs as a way to connect with the world community. The addition of blogging to an existing research project added an authentic worldwide audience that proved to be incredibly motivating to the students involved.
So how do these inspirations affect my plan for my own future use of blogging? First, my future library blog will be multi-faceted. I will use it to communicate regularly about library news, but also incorporate Cowan-style questioning to engage the school community. I would like my blog to foster two-way communication in which the dialogue through comments becomes as important (or even more-so) than the initial post. Second, I will encourage teachers to use blogging as part of student projects, so students too can experience this motivational connection with a larger audience. Now I just need a school library of my own so I can get started!
In case you are still unconvinced, using blogs in these expanded ways would connect with many of the Common Core and ASSL Standards, particularly the following:
- CC.5.W.6: Production and Distribution of Writing: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others;
- AASL: 3.3.5 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community.
Cowan, J. (2008). Diary of a blog: listening to kids in an elementary school library.
Teacher Librarian, 35 (5), p. 20.