Georgia Institute of Technology’s Brian Matthews has published a thought provoking study on librarians monitoring student blogs for potential reference interactions.
[L]ibraries are missing out on the potential of using blogs for providing valuable educational opportunities. Instead of forcing patrons to interact with us, we can enter their domain and seek new ways of providing assistance. By monitoring blogs, librarians can step beyond their traditional role and serve as teachers, mentors, and counselors.
In the study, whenever a student blogger posed a research question or expressed a frustration about an assignment, Brian responded. “By submersing myself in this environment, I was able to detect and respond intuitively, before the patron considered contacting the library.” Talk about going the extra mile.
If I were a law student, I would probably be blown away by that. Mostly, I’d think it was really cool and be grateful for the help. But I’d probably also be a little unsettled to know that a librarian was reading my blog. Kinda like finding out that your mom reads your blog. But, hey, making your blog public means anyone can read it, your mom, a librarian, or even a potential employer.