Salem Press once again surveyed the library blog landscape in search of exceptional thinking, writing, and information. Hundreds of blog nominations poured in, thousands of votes were cast, leaving our distinguished guest judges with the difficult task of selecting one winner per category.
The public has voted online. All votes have been tallied. The judges have now spoken. Without (much) further ado, we present our list of 2011 Library Blog Award winners, broken down by category and complete with collective musings on what made these eight blogs beat the competition.
Congratulations to all who won and all who came close to winning.
Salem is also happy to share that its Library Blog Award Directory has been revised and brought up to date. (Links in the upper portion of the left column on this page.) We hope you find it a useful tool as you navigate the ever-expanding universe of librarian expression online. Help us keep it current by providing more information about existing entries, alerting us to anything that seems incorrect or misplaced, and recommending new blogs to add to the list. To do so email Peter Tobey: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big thank you to this year's judges for graciously volunteering their time, expertise, and insight, all of which ensured the most outstanding blogs came out on top.
A special thanks to this year's Director of Library Blog Awards, Mirela Roncevic, whose creativity and resolve added great value to the process and made it fun and meaningful for us all.
General Library Blog Winner
She describes herself as "Amazingly informed & therefore properly opinionated." The tag line is right. But Sarah is much more than that: she is intelligent, passionate, and enviably literate. We love the ability to chat with her through the Meebo widget and like the "share post" feature within each post. We cheer her on when she stands up against issues like DRM (Digital Rights Management) and appreciate the nice balance of too often/not often enough postings. Topics are always timely, in synch with current library news, and provocative. In short, Sarah's blog delivers the goods and should be on everyone's must-read list.
Public Library Blog Winner
If we have a reference question, we're asking Brian. His blog may be a collection of tech news, upcoming events, and behind the scenes information, but the standout has to be his Reference Question of the Week feature, where he shows impressive research skills and public library customer service. We love his positive attitude and that he's not afraid to point out areas where he could have performed better. Even when off topic, Brian makes relevant and fascinating connections to technology, reference librarianship, and everything in between.
Academic Library Blog Winner
We praise many things about this next-gen academic librarian but one in particular: Andy may be coming of age professionally, but he already knows to avoid the easy route to juvenile triviality. Whatever the topic-technology in the service of education, social media, information literacy, new approaches to old library problems-Andy's posts always get to the heart of the matter. We enjoy his sincerity ("Not everything has to be scholarly."), his insistence on the "fun" factor at the Reference Desk, and even his fascination with dinosaurs.
School Library Blog Winner
Oh how we wish Buffy was our teacher-librarian in high school. As if being proactive, well-informed, and cutting-edge weren't enough, Buffy is also enthusiastic about everything she does (within and beyond school librarianship). This enthusiasm comes alive in her blog, as do her energetic ideas and the clarity with which she presents them. This blog has it covered: perfect-length postings of practical information with just enough graphics, updated frequently and conscientiously.
Local Library Blog Winner
This vibrant blog may be written for Cecil County, MD, residents, but there's something in it for everyone. The topics truly run the gamut-covering everything from books on reclaiming your taste buds with herbs to hard-core advocacy from staff on why public libraries matter to their communities. It's easy to see why this library has a history of strong programming for adults, children, and young adults and why its patrons stand by it (just read their comments).
Quirky Library Blog Winner
The "quirky" category was invented because of blogs like this. It not only made us smile-repeatedly-it was so much fun to read, we forgot we were evaluating it. This collection of etiquette tips pokes fun at library-related foibles with a clever voice, unique writing style, and tons of personality. We agree with almost everything, including this: "In tough economic times, librarians may cut book budgets, lay off staff, and reduce hours to make ends meet, but never purchase a lower grade of toilet tissue for your public restrooms lest you face a public uprising."
Newcomer Library Blog Winner
Meet Micah, Heidi, Julia, Nicole, Britt, Lauren, Annie, Zachary, Rebecca, and Turner: your resident hackers (and recent LIS graduates or students in various library schools). Their mission is simple yet noble: to redefine library school "using the web as a collaborative space outside of any specific university or organization." We salute the perfect blend of personality and information and the group's willingness to explain (to the newcomer) even the most rudimentary stuff. What's more, they not only follow conferences (and meet at them), they follow the bloggers among us.
Commercial Library Blog Winner
This School Library Journal offering is chock full of timely content and solid, unpretentious writing. Even if they aren't always flashy, Joyce's posts are frequent and thoughtful. The deep connection she has with her students doesn't go unnoticed either. A solid, professional undertaking by a teacher-librarian who is plugged-in, ready for action, but never in your face about it. What more could we want? A pleasant mix of school library information, advocacy, and links to other sources.
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