Library Blogs

Virtual Cheesecloth

This blog is written by Amalia Connolly, a Library Media Specialist in Westchester County, New York. Just as cheesecloth is used to strain products in the culinary world, she says that this blog is “an attempt to filter my learning and wonderings about the ever-growing set of collaborative tools called Web 2.0.” This blog is useful because she sorts through the many technologies available to us, and creates posts about those that can best help students in school.

I loved the set up of this blog—it was very organized, colorful, and filled with images. Many of her posts deal with books that she has read, and there is even a section of the blog dedicated to favorites—at the moment it displays her favorite picture books. One can click on the book title or image, and be taken to a book summary and book reviews. Her own posts are filled with great information about the books she is currently reading and how they connect to curriculum or other books. She includes several posts about the activities she creates for her students, such as a nonfiction study with first graders that concludes with them writing their own nonfiction book. I loved the idea of her “Mohansicott Award”, a recreation of the Caldecott where first graders choose the winner for the most distinguished picture book. I thought this was a great way to have students take an active approach when learning about the different awards for Children’s Literature.

Aside from her own work, Amalia posts links to professional development resources for other Library Media Specialists and reflects on her time spent at various conferences. Overall, Amalia’s posts show just how much fun you can have as a Library Media Specialist as you journey through literature with your students!

Gargoyles Loose in the Library

This blog is written by Frances Harris, a librarian at University Laboratory High School.  She uses this blog to capture student moments at the library and as she puts it to “promote all things library-related and techno-geeky.” I just loved this blog because it was so realistic to things that go on in my own high school. I found myself chuckling at many of the posts and could tell that Frances really enjoys her job.

Frances’ posts feature photos and videos of her students in action. She captures them at their fine moments (eagerly reading, discussing literature, etc.) and at their not-so-fine moments (being crazily dressed for spirit day, playing games, hanging out INSTEAD of studying, etc.) It is such a real depiction of how kids act, and she maintains a great sense of humor about it.  A few posts detailed activities/unit plans that she carries out with classroom teachers and her reactions to them. Other posts review new technology as well as feature her opinions on new books and newspaper articles written about education and technology. Of course, she includes posts for other librarians, alerting them to professional development resources.

I loved how each post contained a hyperlink to the article, book, or technology she discussed. It was easy to follow her posts, and she had a nice balance of humorous entries with more serious entries, such as those dealing with resources for other librarians. This site made me eager to work in a school library and hopeful that I can enjoy my career as much as she does.

Northfield Mount Hermon School Library

Northfield Mount Hermon is a day and boarding high school located in Massachusetts. This blog is written collectively by the group of librarians that work at Northfield. One thing I liked about the format of this blog is that on the left side of the page all of the library links were listed (library catalog, databases, hours, citation sources, etc.). None of the other blogs I visited had library information on the blog, instead it was listed on the library’s homepage, available on the school’s website. I thought that this feature as well as the content of the blogs, served to make it the most “professional” of the blogs I visited.

When I say the most “professional”, I mean that this blog does not seem to be written for personal use, as was the format for Gargoyles in the Library. Whereas in Gargoyles and Cheesecloth I had a real sense of who was writing the blog, this blog was completely different. The others were filled with personality and posts to their interests, while this blog seemed to be written mostly for book reviews and article postings.

Most of the reviews that I read were book summaries from Occasionally there were reviews of audio/visual materials as well. Posts also showcase new books to the library, including an image of the book as well as a summary. Every so often posts would have links to recent Netflix videos, downloadable books, or articles from major newspapers that discuss new technology tools.

I find this blog to be useful if you want credible recommendations of books for students or even for your library collection. Other than that, I didn’t enjoy this blog as much as I did the other two. The lack of voice was certainly the contributing factor in my feelings toward the site. It didn’t showcase the creativity and fun that school librarians bring to their position. To be honest, I don’t see myself coming back to this site for daily reads, but I would use it in terms of looking for book recommendations.


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