Why we blog

As a fan of the Princeton Public Library’s blog even before I was affiliated with the library, I have long enjoyed its flexibility. Sometimes it provides space for announcements, updates on initiatives, or information about an event. Other times it highlights the library’s collection or offers insight into staff members’ role within the library and our community. In this way, it supplements other library publications like, Connections, our quarterly print publication, and This Week at Princeton Public Library, our electronic newsletter, as well as our social media activities on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Specifically, the Princeton Public Library blog provides a venue for three activities:

1. Highlighting the collection and programs in an engaging way. When the library added Chromebooks to the collection, Gayle Stratton took one home, got cozy with it, and wrote about her experience with these notebook computers in order to encourage others to get to know these new resources. We also subtly and not-so-subtly add links within our posts to books you might want to read if you find the topic of the post interesting. For instance, if you are interested in blogging, depending on your age and interest, I recommend checking out “How To Be a Blogger and Vlogger in 10 Easy Lessons,” “Start Your Own Blogging Business,” “Say Everything,” “Nicely Said,” “Create Your Own Blog,” and “Bridget and Bo Build a Blog.”

2. Sharing news and information, or providing a perspective on that news or information, that does not fit as well in other publications or social media. An example in this genre is Erica Bess’s recently updated post, “Getting to brighter days,” that details Princeton Public Library and Princeton community resources that are available to support people struggling with mental illness, grief, loss, and other hardships.

3. Showcasing the work of some of the many, many talented writers who work at the Princeton Public Library. Reading the blog is a pleasure, and that pleasure is derived as much from the joy of reading good writing as it is from the opportunity to engage with intrinsically interesting content. While choosing just one post to highlight is an injustice to several dozen others, I have winnowed my selections to those written by the blog’s Editor-in-Chief, Kristin Friberg (because E-i-C duties are too often thankless). The post that Kristin wrote that I have returned to more than any other is “Blue Skies.” I recommend reading it, and then taking some time to read through the blog’s archives. You will not be disappointed.

A couple of weeks ago, Jason Kottke, the author of one of the oldest and most influential blogs, announced his blog’s latest design. Anticipating the natural question—Has the world moved on from blogs?—Kottke argued that his blog and others like it influence the conversations that take place in other formats (he has a large following on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). He also implies that blogging is as much about style and content as it is about medium when, on the kottke.org About page, he refers to it as “one of the oldest blogs on the web,” (italics mine) suggesting that blogs in other media preceded the web, and placing his own blog in a narrative sequence that started with print publications, or even oral traditions.

I see evidence for Kottke’s argument every time I read one of the Princeton Public Library’s often lovely and always insightful blog posts. Each one prompts and extends conversations, creatively complements the information in the library’s other publications, and inevitably demonstrates ways that the library is even more valuable than I had previously imagined.

Blog image by Sophie Janotta, released under the Creative Commons Zero license.

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