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Tuesday, 1 June 2021

To blog or not to blog


By Jillian Viljoen

One of the tasks assigned to librarians is to write blogs; an A4 page of information or something of interest to the University Community. Something related to the library or the university. “Something of interest” is rather relative. What is of interest to the blogger may not necessarily be of interest to the reader. Also, writing a blog is sometimes easier said than done. To decide on a topic and then to discuss it in a meaningful manner can be a bit tricky. Do you use simple language, academic language, or refer to an article and include references at the end of the blog? Should the blog’s tone be conversational or serious? Should it include pictures or images? Should the blog have a human interest element or simply be structured similar to a research article? All these questions and so many others go through one’s mind when embarking on writing a blog. 

Well, one would ask, if there are so many challenges with writing a blog, why do it? What is the purpose of librarians writing blogs? Blogs are a way of engaging with the University community. Social media plays a vital role in marketing and engaging with people every day. Blogs are an avenue for the library to market its services, highlight certain events and topics, share knowledge, and connect with the University community. Granted, not all blogs may be viewed as relevant, but that is where the reader comes in. The comments provided for each blog indicate whether or not the blog topic was interesting and if the topic should be expanded upon in another blog. Or, on the other hand, whether to steer clear of a certain topic where comments were a bit disparaging. The reader commenting on the blogs creates dialogue and an engagement that is still enriching despite the connection being remote. The librarians want to connect with you.

So, if librarians were to choose whether to blog or not, they would choose to blog because blogs are a way of engaging more informally, in a creative way that allows the library to connect with the University community on a social media platform which promotes discourse and individuality.

Next time you read a blog by a librarian, spare a thought for the time, effort, research, and deliberation that was put into the blog in an attempt to engage meaningfully with you. Honesty in your comments is appreciated but constructive criticism and helpful suggestions would promote engagement and guide the librarians in their efforts. The blogs are the librarians’ way of reaching out and letting you know that they are aware that life encompasses more than just academia.

Blogs allow us to engage on topics and experiences across life’s journey in an academic environment. Let us keep the discussion going.

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