When I first started this blog, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted it to take ~ did I want to blog about libraries, parenting, products, etc? Did I want to focus on giveaways or something more personal? I mean, I was already blogging about libraries at Curious Child’s Library Wanderings so I really didn’t want to start another library blog. Besides, I wasn’t working in a library at the time and really felt like I had nothing to contribute to the profession. So I decided to write about everything but the library.
Well, that didn’t work out as I had planned either because, like it or not, being a librarian is a big part of who I am, whether I’m working or not. So I decided that I’d write about whatever struck my fancy and throw in a bit of library related information when I could.
As a “mom blogger”, one of the first things I learned is that you’re supposed to find a niche (reviews, giveaways, couponing, etc) and stick with it but as a librarian, I’ve learned that sometimes we have to extend our reach so we’re not simply preaching to the choir. Or, in librarianese, we have to escape the “echo chamber”.
Fellow librarian and fashionista, Bobbi of Librarian by Day has been writing about the need to escape the echo chamber on her blog. Recently, she and Ned Potter extended a challenge to librarians to escape the echo chamber and speak to those who matter ~ our patrons. After all, it is for them that we exist…
To help meet the challenge, I want to adapt a post that I wrote for Curious Child’s Library Wanderings last year called “Five Things Archives and Libraries Can Learn from Mom Bloggers“. I give you four tips from a mom blogger for escaping the echo chamber:
- Guest post ~ Mom bloggers are big on guest posting. Why? Because it introduces their blog/cause to a whole new audience who otherwise wouldn’t know they exist. For example, I’m a contributing blogger at Eighty MPH Mom where I write a monthly post about LIBRARIES.
- Get out and mingle ~ Tweet with people outside of the library community. Find interesting people and develop relationships with them. For example, I have twitter lists for mom bloggers (At the Cafe), gym buddies (In the Gym) and geeks (In the App Shop)… Use those lists as jumping off points for meeting and engaging with people outside of Library Land.
- Share your expertise ~ Librarians have answers and there are lots of people out there with questions, so answer them. My Facebook friends are always asking me about books, tech stuff and other things, and I enjoy it. If I don’t have an immediate answer, I find it for them. This helps to strengthen the image of libraries/librarians as valuable resources.
- Make them care ~ We know why libraries are important, we know what we do on a daily basis and we know the services we provide, we need to let others know. Let them know how budget cuts impact the library. Tell them why it’s important that their children develop a love for books in all forms.
If we’re only talking amongst ourselves, how can we make a difference?
How are you reaching people outside of the library community? Does your social network consist of people other than information professionals?