Friday, January 23, 2009

I'd be an idiot if it weren't for newsreaders

There. I've said it.

I was an early convert to RSS and newsfeeds. I realised it was a great way to keep track of book news: publishing, literary prizes, events, authors' blogs, etc. In some ways, I entered the professional world right on the cusp of things like RSS: in my first job, we kept track of literary prizes on a (physical, not online, even!) calendar. In my second job, I set this up. In my third job, everything was through newsfeeds and Delicious.

I love the immediacy of newsfeeds, and also the sense of being released from the labour of remembering to check various blogs, websites, or newspapers periodically. I appreciate the one-stop-shopping-ness of it all. I also have a terrible memory (there, you have two confessions in one blog entry: I'm an idiot and I have a bad memory. This is why I stayed away from blogging!!! All my secrets are out now!!!)

I think libraries in general absolutely do not make enough use of RSS technology. My employer has newsfeeds for new and on order items, library podcasts, events, and PSAs, which is pretty impressive (check them out here). We (libraries in general) could be making more use of blogging for short news items or hot book-related stuff, like Ann Arbor does. I like that their blog covers everything, from events to collection items - I think that's smart. In some ways, if people choose only an events feed or an "on order" items feed, they miss other news that might interest them, and we miss opportunities for cross-marketing.

I was just checking my feedreader and AADL is the only other public library feed I subscribe to, which is perhaps rather telling. Despite the fact that many entries are community-specific, I still get a lot out of it. In my children's work, for instance, I appreciate seeing what they do for children's events and storytimes.

In the non-library world, I find feeds for certain blogs have been lifesavers. As some of you know, I am still often doubled over with homesickness for Montreal, so get all my hometown news here now, and it helps.

I've wandered so far off the beaten track here I don't quite know how to conclude. Suffice it to say I think I truly would be intellectually crippled without Google Reader. I do still read the papers and follow other media (I swear)! I would, however, be lost (and utterly buried in newsprint) without newsreaders.

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