Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview with a Tumblarian

For my final project I'm looking at how librarians use the blogging website Tumblr to stay abreast of library and literature news and do professional development outside of work. I used Tumblr's sort of clunky "fanmail" system to contact and interview a youth services librarian who runs her own blog.

The librarian I interviewed works as a young adult librarian in suburban Arkansas. She works in a two-branch county library system as the head of the young adult department, and supervises another librarian who works in the smaller of the two libraries. She started out as a children's librarian in the same library, but switched departments in 2011.

She joined Tumblr in 2010 with no concrete goals in mind--she didn't set out to be a library blog. She was mostly a fandom blog and blogged about books, movies, and TV shows...with a little bit of library stuff sprinkled in. She learned about the Tumblr librarian community through the Library Journal blog and the blogger thelifeguardlibrarian, who keeps a list of all libraries and librarians with Tumblr accounts.

Since then, the focus of her blog hasn't changed--she still posts on a wide variety of topics, not all of them library related--but she uses the blogs she follows to stay up to date in certain fields. I asked her if she uses Tumblr to stay up to date on YA literature, but she says that she relies more heavily on journals and publishers for collection development purposes. She does use her Tumblr feed to stay current on library issues in general, though, and said that she can find out information about library land more quickly on Tumblr than in old issues of Library Hotline, Library Journal's source for librarian news.

I also asked if she had lots of colleagues or past classmates who consider themselves tumblarians. Her coworkers use Tumblr in the same way she does: blogging about fandoms, but following other librarian blogs to stay current.

This interview surprised me a little bit. Because I get so much of my library and information news from the blogs I follow on Tumblr, I thought that librarians working in the field would use Tumblr even more heavily. As professional librarians, however, they probably get most of their professional development library news at work, rather than at home on the Internet.

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