Monday 12 June 2023

A half-life of blogging..

Today I found myself reflecting on how long I've been blogging, and it turns out that it's amounted to about half of my life - though for many reasons...

Pre-2007: Livejournal

I had a livejournal for many years, as did many of my friends at the time. I didn't even realise it was called 'blogging' until some techy dude used the word at a choir camp in a game of "I Never Never", and apparently I had to drink because I was a blogger. It was an interesting time - in the days before Facebook and other social media... we created streaming written content in the form of a daily blog, and then my feed kept me in the loop for everything that my social circle was up to. Blogging was plentiful, as was commenting, and there was much fun, oversharing, and drama. They were my audience and I was theirs.

2007-2011: Librarian Idol

In late 2006, I became a fully fledged librarian, and moved to Darwin for my first professional role as a new graduate. It was also the so-called golden age of 'biblioblogging', and I joined in on the community with my blog, "Librarian Idol". The name itself was something of a random conceit - it was April 2007, when I auditioned for Australian Idol. I made it onto the first episode on national television, and I found myself saying in front of a camera, "I think what Australia needs right now is a Librarian Idol." Whilst it was in itself a throwaway ad lib, the idea kinda stuck... after all, here I was as a new graduate librarian, a whole new professional career promised to me, but not all was as expected. My blog explored questions around why library and information professionals didn't necessarily have the esteem of the wider society that they'd like, and what we need to do as a professional to not only 'keep up' with emerging technology, but lead the way through innovative libraries. There was a fair share of opinions, frustrations and career-limiting rants (though never specifically directed at anybody or any organisation). I deleted the blog at some point around 2013... though there are still bits of it floating around web archive land. After all, nothing is truly gone on the internet.

2011-2013: Land of Surprising Pun

In mid 2011, I moved to Japan. The opportunity was there, and I needed a bit of a circuit breaker in the professional side of my life. I decided it was time to retire my library blog, and start a new blog documenting my travels, and experimenting with a little Flip Video camera, which became one of my favourite possessions (these were the days before camera phones, after all!). I'd never made so much great video content before... or since! Mid-2012 I returned to Melbourne, and spent six months in a temporary role, before planning new adventures, first backpacking in SE Asia, and then getting on board with the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, doing short-term stints in PNG and Vietnam. By the end of 2013, I made the conscious decision that whilst this was all great and fun and all, I needed to get serious about my career again, which meant... returning to a library job.

2014 - present: Bibliotheque Bound

Well, that job didn't last very long... five months in fact before I quit and moved overseas again, first to Vietnam and then to Kosovo... and then back to Australia, moving to Canberra in 2016. It's interesting that I named the blog "Bibliotheque Bound" - there is something of a double meaning. That is, I am headed in the direction of the library, and I am perpetually connected to the library. I've never stopped caring about the importance of libraries in society, especially now that misinformation and disinformation has become such pervasive issue. I've also felt that there are many other organisations out there that make a much bigger social and cultural contribution, and that I have much more capacity to make a difference and effect change elsewhere. And still, I find myself looking back at the library, and dreaming about what else is possible. Can I take the lessons I've learnt elsewhere, apply them in a library context, and help them do better?

But in the meantime, where is this blog going, audience-wise? I feel like nowadays, I'm mostly blogging for myself. Like the original idea of a "live journal" online, where I can look back on episodes in my life and reflect on everything that's happened so far. It's already given my hours of nostalgia fodder... some extremely fond memories, a few cringeworthy, but I'm ever grateful to past-me for taking the time to document all the things that I'm potentially going to forget in the future.

And whilst, in the past, I blatantly shared out the URL for every post via my social media channels, I no longer crave the validation of seeing hundreds of clicks from around the world. I am content to merely exist and reflect for now, and if you happen to be accidentally reading this right now... hello there. :)


  1. I miss "Librarian Idol" and the person who was blogging then. :)

    I found it really useful to think about what you had written when I first started teaching in LIS degrees. It was heartening to know that some new graduates were really thinking, and engaging and asking questions that maybe made some people uncomfortable (because they were astute and maybe too close to the bone).

    When I wrote an assessment or some material I could use the world of a new graduate that you built on your blog as a yardstick. Would someone like that call bullshit on what I was asking them to do?

  2. Thanks for sharing your travels through Bloglandia. I'm now on my second librarian blog (Beating the Bounds). My efforts there and on my earlier blog, Digital Reference, have a solidity to me that my nattering away on social media sites (even the beloved Friendfeed) will never have. On my deathbed, I won't recall much of what I said or did on Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, etc., but I will always recall what I did on my blogs.

  3. I had NO IDEA that that's where "Librarian Idol" originated. I just thought it was a good name... You've made me think about my blogging history, such as it is...