Blog Spotlight: Readers’ Salon

I read a lot of library blogs by librarians, but Reader’s Salon represents an entire library system.  The contributor all work for the Winnipeg Public Library system, with each voice as unique as the selected topics . Why call it a ‘salon’?  Isn’t that for hairdressers?  you ask.  Actually, a salon once meant as Merriam-Webster states:

a fashionable assemblage of notables (as literary figures, artists, or statesmen) held by custom at the home of a prominent person.

Since the prominent person in question, Winnipeg Public Library, has A LOT of homes, a blog on WordPress provides the best way to interact with library users.  The sidebar includes handy links to their online catalogue, Ask a Librarian, and even accessing your library account to put a hold on a book discussed in an entry.

The posts themselves take on a theme with the latest entry about teen lit adapted for the silver screen.  The blog also gave me the idea to link book covers to their library holdings.  As much as I would like to support my local, independent bookseller, library access provides variety at a fraction of the cost.  To paraphrase Jayne from Firefly a fraction of nothing is pretty much nothing.  (DVD and Blu-ray are the exception of course.)

The blog has kept itself active since February 2011, with entries on Tuesdays and Thursdays during a month.  I have noticed entries on other days as well.   It’s a smart way to maintain without burning people out, or supplying the internet with yet another abandoned blog.  Most all the writers themselves write with a genuine love of their topic.  It’s one thing to start something in the name of marketing a service, but quite another to actually have some enthusiasm.  It shows the people running the blog know their clientele.  If a library starts a blog as yet another trendy tool, people may check it out only to drop it later.  In my estimation, depending on how well the library refreshes the site with a new set of writers to give others a little rest, this blog has the best shot at longevity.

It’s not enough to have books and other materials in the library.  People need a sense of the people answering their questions, even shelving the materials, to feel ‘at home’ with the place.  Interaction between library staff (Librarians, Library Techs, and Library Clerks) will always happen.  Technology, if used properly, helps the evolution enabling people to remain engaged with libraries.  People engaged with libraries will hopefully find themselves engaged with their communities.  May be even the world.

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