One library, two blogs

Since the arrival of our new website, we have been running two blogs.

Blogs (new!)

Positives

  1. These posts connect nicely with web pages, so you can see them display on the right hand side of relevant content. See Art.
  2. We can embed Flickr photosets into these posts. See Street art.

Negatives

  1. Only library members can comment on posts.
  2. Library Web Team cannot easily see if there are any comments, and therefore can’t respond to people’s queries, requests or comments.
  3. People cannot subscribe.

New blogNew blog post

Christchurch City Libraries blog (old!)

Positives

  1. It has been going since 2007 and has a substantial readership that is still growing.
  2. People can comment easily, and we are alerted to their comments.
  3. People can subscribe and have the latest post delivered to their email, or have it available in their WordPress dashboard.

Negatives

  1. It doesn’t connect up with the new website.

Old blog

What next?

We will continue running the two blogs at the moment, as the new one does not have the full functionality of the previous blog. Here is how we envisage the system working.

  • Bloggers can write their post in either environment, and the Library Web Team will edit and publish on both blogs.
  • The Library Web Team will link to Christchurch City Libraries blog when we publicise posts.
  • At the end of the posts on Blogs, the Library Web Team will add the words Kōrerorero mai – Join the conversation and link to the comments section of the Christchurch City Libraries blog.
    Here is an example: Feminism is a feminist issue (Join the conversation added to the bottom of post, linking to http://cclblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/feminism-is-a-feminist-issue/#comments)
  • The Library Web Team will make content cards for some posts so they can appear in the Browse sections of the web site. See Books.
  • The BiblioCommons catalogue has a new feature. We can now link blog posts to the catalogue. This is a nifty development you can see in action – under the bib record for Fire and movement by Peter Hart you can see “Opinion” and “Staff blog post”. Hey presto, there’s a link to Kat Moody’s blog post. The Library Web Team will do this addition as part of our publishing process.

More blog info:

  • The Christchurch kids blog has been discontinued, and kids’ content will now be published on the blogs in the same way as other topics.
  • The Bibliofile blog (that you are on right now) will remain as a place to post on professional topics.

We are working with BiblioCommons to get the new blog doing all the things we want it too.

In the meantime, the old blog has been reskinned and given a new theme and fresh look. It is linked to in the footer navigation of the website. Blog on!

Blogging flavours

Central Library
You are cordially invited to use the wonders of the interwebs to share your opinions. Get posting!

I’ve been teaching some blogging workshops recently. Here are some of the links from those sessions – to places to start getting your blog on, and to blogs that are worth looking at for their content, style and the way they roll:

Blogging platforms

Some of the tools you can use:

Blog inspiration

These blogs are all different, but the common denominator is they are clear in what they aim to do, and they do it well. You might want to share some faves in the comments.

Christchurch

Blogging tips

  • Get used to reading blog posts before you start your own blog. Be a consumer, discover the good blogs and think a bit about what makes them effective.
  • Use comments as a way to dip your toes in the blogosphere.
  • Pictures are powerful – they tell the story, enhance it, and draw people in.
  • Give your blog love, and give your commenters love too. Keep the conversations going.
  • Look for feedback, ask questions and let people know you are interested in their opinions too.
  • Use a notebook or some other device to jot down ideas. Once your brain is in full blogging mode, the ideas will come at all times and you want to catch them if you can.

Water cooler moments with Dr Matt Finch

Last Tuesday, 23 October 2012, I had the privilege of participating in three inspiring and entertaining workshops run by Dr Matt Finch.

Dr Matt FinchThe workshops dealt specifically with:

  • Teen blogging
  • Comic book education
  • Television and literacy

I won’t go into details about each, because:

a) my notetaking couldn’t keep up with Dr Finch’s enthusiasm, and

b) these sessions shared the one and same underlying crucial message.

So what is this message?

Reading and writing are not natural.
Literacy is not a birthright, but a political act.

Literacy, according to Dr Finch, is a battleground. Schools have become too concerned with box-ticking at the expense of literacy itself and the curriculum usually reflects the cultural norms of the white middle class community.  (If you’d like to read more about Dr Finch’s educational philosophy, his article ‘Finnish Lessons for Kiwi Schools?’ appeared in the September 2012 print curriculum supplement to the New Zealand Education Gazette.)

In contrast to this, Dr Finch sees public librarianship as profoundly subversive, in that it is

  • egalitarian
  • creative
  • experimental.

Libraries can provide vital “water cooler moments” where real learning, rather than just box-ticking, can take place.

To engender these “water cooler moments”, Dr Finch recommends the following approach:

  1. Steal an idea (from pop culture is best)
  2. Tell  a story
  3. Include a practical/sensory element
  4. Lead in to a rich, independent language activity (talking is as important as writing)
  5. Come back together to share
  6. Always make them join the library!
  7. Always make them borrow!

For best results, the activities should be

  • creative
  • subversive
  • and, of course, cheap!

Play then, is the answer. Children are “marinated” from birth in pop culture – all we can do is play the hand we’re dealt with. So, if we agree with Dr Finch’s belief that the “mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation”, let’s lure the kids in with pop culture, then get them to talk about it or create new stuff.

Did you attend any of these workshops? What message did you take away from them? Have you tried or are you planning to try to engender “water cooler moments” of the type Dr Finch recommends?

P.S. You can follow Dr Finch on his blog Books and Adventures.