Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

Why hello there. It’s been a minute.  I decided mid-way through the summer to give myself a break from blogging.  Mostly so I could soak up the sun that makes a rare appearance in Vancouver and partly because my brain needed a break from writing and planning.  It’s been a struggle to get back into blogging if I’m honest.  Partly because I’m still trying to be outside as much as possible before the weather turns and partly because my brain feels overloaded with other things.

I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.  When I first started blogging in 2013 there were tons of children’s librarians blogging regularly about storytime and beyond. I mean just look at our blogroll. Nowadays the number of people who post regularly are few and far between (major fist pumps to you all who do it!).  And I get it.  There is a lot happening in the world that demands our energy and attention, and the platform of blogging has been replaced in part by Facebook groups where you can ask a question or share an idea easily and get instant responses. Which is great! But I’d be sad if blogging went away entirely.

One of the main reasons I still prefer blogging is that the posts are findable and searchable on search engines like Google.  If someone doesn’t know about groups embedded in social media platforms or how to effectively search those groups, they don’t have access to the information shared there.  Blog posts are also easy to organize which is helpful when referring people with questions about services to the early years.  All this to say I still value blogging as a way to share, connect, and help others who serve children and I’m going to try my best to consistently post throughout the fall.

Which brings me to my next question. What should I blog about?  I’ve got lots of ideas floating around in my mind, but I would love to hear from you about what types of posts you enjoy.  Here’s what I’m considering:

  • New to Storytime Series: My toddler storytime series are among our most popular blog posts and we get a lot of email questions from people who have never done storytime before. I’d like to do another series where I get even more basic. Things like how to choose books for storytime, choosing rhymes and songs, preparing your storytime space, using a simple outline to plan effectively, etc. I might even create a landing page of some sort with external resources as well for storytime beginners.
  • Storytime Booklists: I want to continue doing my yearly favourites list but I’ve also got a non-fiction storytime booklist in the works. And I really need to update my favourite babytime read alouds.
  • Cool New Resources: I feel like I’m always bookmarking journal articles, blog posts, websites, webinars, etc. that have caught my eye. I’d like to start occasionally posting round-ups of these resources for others to learn from too.
  • Round-Ups: Okay what I mean by this is when I dig up a whole bunch of resources around a certain topic and share it in list form. Examples are my babytime beginner’s guide and my book character parties blog post. I definitely want to do one multilingual storytimes as I get emails about that one a lot.
  • Community Work Strategies: I would love to write about how I do community work and the different tools that support me. I’m big into Google maps.
  • School-Age Programming: I run an Early Readers Book Club program and a Creative Writing program right now. I’m considering sharing the activities we do in each.
  • Reflection Pieces: The way I do my work and the way I program has evolved over the past five years. I would like to spend some time writing about what’s changed and why. Where do I place the most value and importance nowadays? I love reading these sort of posts by other children’s librarians.
  • Guest Posts: We are still accepting guest posts! In fact, I have an awesome one coming your way very soon about how to use mirrors in babytime. If you’d ever like to submit a guest post for publication here, just shoot us an email.

Welcome back, friends.

31 thoughts on “Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

  1. Hey Awesome Lindsey!!! You’ve touched on and elaborated on so many things that I’ve been contemplating. I think that some of us were emboldened through our blogging, and as a result, have branched out to do other library-related things that have taken up more time (like me, with running for and then being elected as our state’s library association’s President).

    Every one of your blogging ideas made me excited to read about them 🙂

    I think the main one that I thought would be an amazing resource is your super-basic intro to storytimes. The vast majority of our state’s libraries are in rural areas, and usually run by one person, and who only do storytimes during summer reading. To give them insights, ideas, and confidence to delve into storytimes would be wonderful. I’ve had an incredible journey over my 8 years of library work where I started off thinking that storytimes were just about having fun, to where I’m at now – still fun, but there’s a whole undercurrent of early literacy skills and messages not just for the kids, but the parents too.

    Thank you for sharing – and keep on rockin’!

    1. Hey Awesome Rebecca!! Seriously, you are super awesome and have changed the library world. Excellent point about the branching out into other realms of librarianship. It’s been exciting to see familiar faces move into positions that can more easily facilitate change and improvement. I also know a few people who have completely switched roles and aren’t working with children and families anymore or an a regular basis.

      I’m so glad the New to Storytime series will be helpful to your community! That’s actually the one that I am definitely going to do. We get emails and messages from preschool and daycare teachers, music teachers, ESL teachers, and even caregivers who have no formal training in delivering programs but who want to learn. So I think it will have broad appeal.

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a comment. Truly appreciated <3

  2. I feel what you are saying. I miss the youth bloggers too who push my thinking and keep me fresh…there are so few left. What’s left in my feeds is mostly full of tech stuff. My library peeps are almost silent. And so am I.

    After I retired and started teaching grad courses and doing consulting – well , let’s face, and having tons of fun hiking, biking, paddling, and traveling – I found I have even less time than before to share on the blog. Also, in its lifetime, my TTFLF blog had a really practical approach and I have traveled into far more philosophical spots. I don’t think there is the same focus in my career and I have slowly drifted away from blogging there.

    I love reflection pieces and hope you go there as well as community engagement pieces. The stuff that keeps us thinking and pushing our work forward. But, no pressure. As I posted on Mel’s blog year’s ago when her blogging slowed down as her life speeded up, we can wait. Or as I say now, “We’ll keep the porch light on.”

    1. Thank you, Marge! In a way I felt more motivated to blog when there was a large group of people who were also blogging. Herd mentality I suppose. I love when you blog about the more philosophical topics that you cover in your grad courses. Where else can we find these deeper conversations? In person, for sure, and perhaps also on list serves. But I love being able to refer back to blog posts. Thanks for the push and the patience to write about these things.

  3. So happy to see your post this morning! I’m excited for all the topics mentioned, but would also like to see a post or two focusing on middle school age children. Specifically, what are the hot books that are keeping our tweens engaged and how to keep momentum during meetings. I’m finding that this age group is coming into the library less due to after school activities and when they do come in, it’s for research projects. Getting them to commit to a pleasure read and to come to meetings has been a challenge. I’d love to hear strategies from other librarians who’ve run into the same issue.

    1. Hi Karla, thank you for your comment! I used to run a Tween Book Club when I worked at a different location but haven’t done so in a few years. I was thinking about making a Round-Up post featuring book club resources for kids. Things like ice breakers, best books, activities, and websites that provide more detailed information. One area of blogging that hasn’t slowed down is the book review blogs! Following a bunch of those has helped me keep on top of the best new books for tweens. Do you know about the School Library Journal newsletter called Be Tween? The description says, “This monthly newsletter explores middle grade books, library programs, and services for the tweenaged, helping librarians better serve their middle grade patrons. From collection development pieces and booklists to innovative programming ideas, Be Tween focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities around serving those kids who are not little children anymore—but not quite young adults, either.” I’ve found it really useful. You can sign up for free here: http://mediasource.actonservice.com/acton/form/10574/003d:d-0001/0/-/-/-/-/index.htm

  4. I’d love to hear about your community work strategies, first and foremost. I’m always eager to hear what’s working or not working for other libraries, and formulate ideas on how to engage better. Otherwise, I love the booklists you make, I’d love to hear about elementary age programming and see more round-ups.

    It’s so nice to see a new post from you! 🙂

    1. Great to hear there is interest in community work. It’s something I’m really passionate about and have always wanted to write more about. Thanks for your feedback!

  5. I almost started a storytime blog but got stuck at choosing a name. How sad is that? It is still in my list of things to do.
    I love reading your blog for storytime theme ideas, songs and your round ups. Everything you do is awesome though. Don’t stop!

    1. Thank you, Brie! Choosing a name is tough – it’s the way people will come to recognize you. If you do start a blog please let me know so I can add you to our blogroll and feature you in an upcoming Cool New Resources blog post 🙂

  6. I use you guys as a resource for my toddler and preschool story times. Your book suggestions are fantastic! I really like your pinterest page, just because it’s organized in a way that works for me. Do you keep it updated?
    I would love to hear about nonfiction books in story time – my patrons love it when I used them. I also like your “reflections” idea- its always interesting to me to read how others have evolved in their work.
    Thank you for all you do and for blogging about it!

    1. Oh man, our Pinterest page has not been updated in awhile! Good reminder to keep pinning as I find new things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – will definitely do the booklists and reflection posts. 🙂

  7. I’ll be updating over the weekend haha!! I got married so that took up A LOT of time. But I’ll have a few posts in the next few days. I didn’t realize I was on your blogroll, so thanks for that 🙂

    1. Congratulations on getting married, Peter! Definitely a valid reason for not blogging 🙂 Though I think any time we take to step away from the blogs is valid. I look forward to seeing you pop up in my feed again.

  8. I’m a preschool teacher and come here regularly for story and song ideas. I recommend this blog to new teachers who are looking for circle time ideas.

    I really love the book reviews and have found many great books that way. I regularly sing songs that I learned here.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sara! We’ve known for a long time that our audience expands beyond the library world and it’s great to hear how you use the website and videos as a preschool teacher. Will definitely keep up with the book lists!

  9. Lindsey your post has hit so many proverbial nailheads! I stopped blogging for ALSC for many of your stated reasons, time, other projects, job focus changing. And it has been a while since I’ve updated even my book review blog. Again, summer is a big excuse: take advantage of the nice outdoors while we can. Maybe blogging is a winter activity for us?
    I’d love to hear more about your community work, and also please do share those resource lists — I always share those with my staff and with classes I teach. And if we can encourage new bloggers, if there’s a way to get that word out… I’m happy to spread the word.

    Now, off to enjoy the rest of the autumn weather!

    1. I can definitely see taking a break over the summer every year. Especially since Sophie is out of school and we have that time with her. Community work has been requested a few times so it’s definitely in my line-up. Funnily enough it’s kind of what I am most nervous about writing about. Perhaps because it feels personal in a way that booklists don’t? But I’m going to give it a go. And I would love to encourage new bloggers. I thought about doing a “how to start a blog” series but it feels overwhelming given all the different platforms. I’ll continue to shine the spotlight on the new ones I discover though!

      Have a wonderful autumn. I hear Nova Scotia is dazzling in the fall.

  10. I got into the blogging game late, and there were already so many well-known, established blogs like this one that I’ve never been able to attract much of a readership. I still keep doing it, but it is getting harder to stay motivated and find the time because I feel like I’m just doing it for myself. In the beginning I had really hoped to get a little more response and engage people , but I almost never get comments, so I feel like I’m just talking to myself.

    Mine started out as a purely storytime blog, but has evolved into a hodgepodge of things as I’ve changed jobs and my duties have changed. I still do storytime summaries, commentary about planning, picture book reviews, but now also do reflection and commentary about other things and STEAM programming. It comes in handy when I want to see what I’ve done before or when someone asks how I did something or for book suggestions, and I can just send them a link, but now that I’m in a job that is 80% desk duty and only 1 storytime and 1 STEAM program a month, it’s definitely slowing down.

    I personally like all your storytime book lists; they have brought several books to my attention that I had not gotten a chance to review when they came in, and I enjoy reflection pieces.

    1. Jen, I love your blog! It’s in my feed and I read all your posts. I am totally guilty of not leaving comments on other people’s blogs, I think partly because I read them in Feedly and don’t bother clicking on the titles to go to the actual websites. If you’d ever like to write a guest post here to try and draw more attention to your blog, just let me know! Or we could both blog about the same topic one week and point to each other’s posts. I’m very interested in working with others 🙂

      Glad to know the storytime booklists are well loved. I go back and use them myself all the time!

      1. I love to do some kind of collaboration, though I’m not sure what right now. I’ll e-mail you later!

  11. Yes, I started blogging and only lasted a year, but always have hopes to jump back in. I think time gets filled with other things and, sadly, sharing out with the profession comes low on a long list of items. It is a large goal of mine to get my blog back and happy now that I am moved and settled in a new job. Your post gives that goal an extra bump!

    I definitely think all bloggers should set up a way to view their site stats because those can be motivating when no one is commenting.

    I love a good round-up, but I would be super interested in seeing your community work tools and strategies!

    1. Happy to add any bumps to get others blogging too! Your blog is so chalk full of new and innovative ideas – I still go back and read your posts. But I totally feel you. We’re not allowed to work on Jbrary during work hours so all of it is done on my free time.

      Excellent point about site stats! I’ve been able to see which posts are viewed the most which has helped guide me toward the type of content people want to see. And it helps when you get a dry spell of no comments and wonder if anyone reads your blog anymore. Thanks for the feedback – community work keeps being requested so I will definitely do a series on that.

  12. Lindsey, I owe you a long-overdue blog post about featuring multilingual songs in storytime. This is the second year in a row that I’ve been serving on a reading-intensive ALA committee, but I will set a date next February to draft a guest post (if it’s not too late).

    I’ve also noticed the decline in children’s librarian blogging (not the quality but the quantity) recently, and miss some of my past favorites (Mel’s Desk for sure!). I do understand that blogging regularly is a lot of work though. Reading blogs from librarians around the country made me feel less isolated when I started doing children’s library services in a geographically remote area. I was especially excited when you started the professional development group focused on early childhood research.

    As for what I’d like to see you write about next, all of the above sound great. I’m especially interested in booklists of storytime favorites and board books. Also silly books–can’t get enough of them! Cool new resources sound…cool. School-age programming would be helpful to me as I’m less experienced with this age level, and would like to try offering programs for early elementary grades. And reflection is always fascinating.

    1. Definitely not too late! We have an open guest post policy and are always accepting things. I can’t even imagine how much time that committee takes up. Probably one of the reasons I don’t think I’ll ever do it. I’m sure the end result is worth it though 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your feedback – I am also on the hunt for silly and funny picture books, especially or school-age kids. My niece’s teacher asked that I send in a rotating selection throughout the year so I’m on the hunt.

  13. You recently responded to my email about being new to story-time and it was beyond helpful! I have done two weeks now! I think having a basic New to Story-time series would be wonderful! I am glad that you’re back into blogging, I had noticed a lapse in posts and was hoping you weren’t done! Your blog has even inspired me to start one! Stay tuned!

    1. That’s wonderful, Gina! I can’t wait to see your blog. Make sure to send us your website so we can add it to our blogroll.

  14. I used to blog predominately about my programs and story times, but found that I got much more reader engagement when I started writing more book reviews and book lists, so that’s sort of been where I’ve been focusing recently. I agree with what so many people are saying – we’re often pulled in so many directions all the time these days, and sometimes something has to give! I’m glad you haven’t given up blogging entirely, though I totally understand needing to step back and let the creative juices percolate a bit. 🙂

    And if you ever want someone to write about a MY program….. 😉

    1. Ummmm, YES PLEASE! If you’re interested in writing a guest post on any topic I am all ears! I’ve shied away from the book review game because it feels more high stakes for some reason. But man do I appreciate all the people who do so I can stay on top of the latest and greatest!

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