Sunday Reflections: The 12 Blogs of 2014, an introduction and look back at previous blog hops
Every year in December we like to do a little play on the 12 Days of Christmas that we call The 12 Blogs of Christmas. Given the recent debate about holiday programming that is currently taking place in the library world (see here), I kind of wish we had called it something else. Although the current debate does highlight why it is exactly that we make sure and visit a variety of blogs as a part of our professional development: when we engage in professional dialogue we can gain new insights and think about our profession in new, different and sometimes very challenging ways. I have been seriously interested in the discussion currently surrounding the great holiday debate and see the value in many points of view being expressed. As I mentioned in the comment that I myself left on the SLJ opinion piece linked above, I have always kind of wondered how it is that public libraries get away with Christmas displays and programming because they can in some ways be construed as being exclusive and promoting one religious point of view over all others (and I say that as a Christian). But I also think the rebuttal that everything we do is exclusive in some way to at least one person is also true. I could not take Thing 2 to library storytimes because they refused to go food free – and I worked there! – and their inclusion of food in toddler storytime put her health in serious jeopardy. And yes, when we do a gaming program we are appealing to only one segment of our population, etc. Like I said, there are lots of good points being made on all sides of this heated debate.
So, while I am enjoying the thoughtful debate that is currently happening in our profession, and in the spirit of great debate and professional growth, this year I am going to call The 12 Blogs of Christmas the 12 Blogs of 2014. I very much enjoy being a part of a community and want to share with you the blogs that help inspire, inform, educate, and entertain us here at TLT. Every day for the next 12 days we will highlight one new blog, with each TLTer sharing 3 of their favorites. And to get us started, here’s a look at the 12 blogs we have done each year for the last 3 years.
The 12 Blogs of TLT 2013
A Beautiful Mess – a craft blog with lots of great photography tips and some great Instagram crafts that make great library programs
Diane Ravitch’s Education Blog -lots of great discussions about public education
Terrible Minds – Author Chuck Wendig’s awesome blog with both lots of insight and sometimes great sarcasm
The Daring Librarian – AKA Gwyneth Jones, she is one of the most vibrant people online that I follow, and has awesome energy and creativity- and when I need a pick-me-up, I start browsing through her site and her twitter.
Women Write About Comics (Seriously, a lot) – Women writing about comics, the title really says it all
Justin the Librarian – A Mover & Shaker and YA librarian doing lots of cool stuff
Book Blather – YA Librarian Drea does lots of cool stuff
Make it @ Your Library – A great place for Makers
Hi Miss Julie – Though Julie Jurgens works with a younger group than many of the TLT readership does on a regular basis, her blog is still great, even essential reading
YA Lit Quotes – A great place to find book quotes, and they are easy to reblog (We Heart YA)
Go Book Yourself – It’s reader’s advisory!
Diversity in YA – Lots of important discussions about diversity in YA
The Nerdy Book Club – An amazing blog with lots of contributors reviewing books, talking about reading, etc.
The Goddess of YA Literature – Professor Nana talks books, libraries, education and more
Oops, I Craft My Pants – A great craft resource
Dual Perspectives – TLT guest contributor Bryson McCromb and super A. S. King fan used to blog here. It hasn’t been updated in a while.
Huffington Post Teen – The Huffington Post has lots of great posts by teen guest contributors and about teen issues.
Stacked – Kelly Jensen and Kimberly Francisco blog about a variety of important topics and give great analysis of books and the publishing world.
The Show Me Librarian – Amy Koester blogs about a great variety of librarian things, including STEM/STEAM programming and providing program outlines
Guys Lits Wire – I am not of the whole ‘guys and girls read different books’ mentality but I do like to find books that have male main characters. Guys Lit Wire is a site I stumbled across via Twitter one day and fell in love. The best part, to me, is that they often talk about older titles!
Forever Young Adult – a blog done by nine (YES, nine!) readers that discuss everything YA
Swiss Army Librarian – Brian Herzog blogs about life at the Reference desk
The Red Reading Chair – My friend and fellow librarian Amianne Bailey shares her life as a high school librarian
YA Books and More – Naomi Bates is a high school librarian in Texas, an amazing one. On her blog, YA Books and More, Naomi reviews the latest teen titles and often makes book trailers that you can share with your teens.
GreenBeanTeenQueen – Besides having a cool name and cool design scheme, this blog is full of book reviews by a tween and teen librarian. You’ll want to check it out if you are not already following it.
YA Book Shelf – They provide me with a lot of good information not only about booktrailers, but about books themselves. It’s a good site.
Popwatch – Popwatch is a pop culture blog on the Entertainment Weekly website. They cover everything: video games, books, movies, TV, and celebrity in general.
Teen.com – To work with teens you have to spend a little time in teen culture so I go to Teen.com. Teen.com is the Popwatch of teen culture.
Reading Rants! – Reading Rants is now over 10 years old and it is still fantastic. Here a middle school librarian, whose favorite flavor if you should care to know is blue raspberry, writes insightful but fun book reviews and puts her books in unique book categories like “Dead-heads and Moshpits” and “Fanging Around”.
Y Pulse – YPulse provides you with a wealth of information on everything teen; from marketing to research and even trending topics.
Guys Read – Guys Read is the brainchild of Mr. Jon Scieszka. Yes, THAT Jon Scieszka. The site’s goal is to help connect guys with books.
TeenReads.com – Teen Reads is a great place to find book reviews and information about upcoming teen releases. Awesome added features include Coming Soon lists, On Sale this Week lists, Books on Screen, and Adult Books You Want to Read.
Rookie Magazine – Rookie magazine calls itself a magazine, but given the way it is formatted and updated I am going to go with blog. Rookie is a site for teenage girls by teenage girls.
Daily Infographic – I really recommend you check out Daily Infographic for a few reasons:
1) We deal in information and it is interesting to see what others are thinking and talking about;
2) They are often good for sharing on your teen social media pages;
3) They are good examples and inspirations for design ideas;
4) I strongly encourage you to create your annual reports to your co-workers, admin, and community in infographic form as opposed to traditional pages of text and numbers. They show professionalism, are easy to interpret, and they can really convey the message of what you are doing; and
5) If you check some of my previous blog posts, they can make some good programming idea (graduating teens can infographic their lives, all teens can do their year, etc.)
The Hub – The Hub is the teen reads blog of YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association (a division of ALA).
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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