December 23, 2004

Training Your Library Blogging Team

Last Thursday I did two training sessions for the official team of SJCPL Blogging Librarians. It was a 90 minute session. I developed some objectives for the training first:

After successfully completing this session, participants will be able to:

• Post SJCPL Weblog entries formatted with bold, italics and inserted hyperlinks.

• Insert special characters as needed with HTML coding.

• Locate and insert images that are “fair use” compliant for Weblog entries.

• Utilize stylesheet and guidelines to insure consistent posts across system.

And then I created a handout to go with it. A general guidelines sheet was developed by our Head of Collection Development who is overseeing the blog and a style guide was created by our Publicity Manager. Armed with three handouts, we discussed blogging, what the mission of the SJCPL blog is and how the team could make their posts effective and consistent and still have their own voice.

A note: blogging for the library via a team approach insures multiple POVs and coverage. One single person blogging for a medium to large library system will probably burn out quickliy.* I think the team inspires each member to blog and blog well.

Take a look at these excerpted guidelines, posted here with the permission of the author, Joe Sipocz, who heads up the Lifeline Team:

Have fun! If it’s a chore for you, your posts will bore people. We want our weblog to be snappy, informative, and interesting. Write about things you love or feel strongly about.

Be real. Avoid jargon or libraryspeak. While some of our audience might be staff members, we hope to make the weblog an information source for our community.

Bloggers tend to be somewhat informal and so should we. We’re not writing a dissertation, it’s an online diary. Remember, it’s the SJCPL Lifeline!

Even if we’re informal, don’t forget to spellcheck your posts.

Write as often as possible but do not dwell over every word, sentence, paragraph.

Posts can be as short as a sentence or two or as long as a few paragraphs. Shorter posts should have photographs or links, longer posts had better be really interesting.

Write in complete sentences and use proper grammar.

Establish your credibility and your own voice. It’s OK for us to not all sound the same.

While you’re establishing your own voice, don’t forget that you are speaking as a library employee.

Cite your sources and provide links to them when possible.

After discussion, I took them through building a post. I asked all via email a few days before to come armed with text for a blog post and we would use it to do some live training! We discussed choosing a GOOD title for the entry, that might catch readers eyes (as well as Google's), choosing a correct category and entering text.

Then we used this brief little handout to format text and possibly add graphics. Look at this GREAT post grabbing our computer class banner from another SJCPL page:

http://lishost.org/~sjcpl/archives/000152.html

We also utilized the cover art found in our Web Catalog to insert images of library materials.

Finally, I gave them an assignment to post to the blog before Christams. Take a look:

http://lishost.org/~sjcpl

* A note: But Michael, what if I'm the only one in my little library that blogs? Well, dear library person, just use some of these guidelines and blog as much as you can. Short sweet posts, in my mind, are much more effectrive that large blocks of text anyway!

Posted by Michael at December 23, 2004 11:07 AM