Thursday, February 17, 2011

Six Years of ricklibrarian and Many Years of Letters

Today I have been blogging for six years. I started with a short review of the novel Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, which is still one of my favorite books. I have given it to a lot of readers at my library. It is not actually representative of what I review, as I read much more nonfiction. I also now aim for three paragraphs instead of the review journal model of about 150 words. I feel the longer review lets me sound more like I'm writing you a letter.

I miss writing letters. I used to keep a box of nice masculine stationery (nothing flowery and no perfume) in my desk and bought sheets of commemorative stamps to attach to the top right hand corner of the matching envelopes. I enjoyed composing messages to friends in far-flung places and then getting replies with out-of-state or foreign postmarks. Weeks might go by before a response, but I cheered finding replies in our mailbox. I always enjoyed receiving news and stories paired with kind words and encouragement from my friends in other places. (I still have boxes of letters in the closet and am contemplating a conservation project.)

I have reaped many benefits from writing this blog, but I have always wished that more readers would comment - satisfy my letter-in-the-mailbox desire. Many bloggers have told me the same tale of too few comments. We're all Charlie Brown's waiting for Valentines. I understand that many readers are busy and just pass by to see the latest posts, reading only when the subjects appeal. Often, they may feel they have nothing to say about a book that they have not read. I am more likely to find comments when I write about something other than books or other library materials. I got many comments last summer when I wrote about the library job market.*

When I finish my latest book project, I may try to reflect more on library services and culture, like I did in the early days of this blog. What do you think? Send me a comment.

* By the way, we now have another opening for a tech savvy reference librarian who enjoys event programming, writing, and readers' advisory. Check the Thomas Ford Library website.


HistoryJoe said...

Oops, guilty as charged. I really enjoy the blog but usually rather than comment I'm racing around to get the book you mentioned. Lunar Men was the most recent for me -- I happened to be in the middle of a Joseph Priestly biography when you posted that!

ricklibrarian said...

Thanks, Joe. And I am going to make an effort to respond to more comments. I hope you have the time for Lunar Men and that it is then time well spent.

beret brenckman said...

Congrats on six years. I mostly read your blog to help the weak part of my readers' advisory skills. I'm more of a genre fiction gal myself. I'll try to respond to more blogs...before you said this I didn't even think about it!


Citizen Reader said...

I'll be happy to read more of whatever you write, Rick!
Thanks for six years of great blog posts and wonderful bio and memoir tips. I recommend your blog to everyone I can who is looking for NF reading suggestions.

ricklibrarian said...

Beret, genre fiction is where struggle. It is good that there a variety of librarians keeping our collections diverse.

Thanks, CR. I often think of you when I write.

Anonymous said...


I regularly read you blog - and I occasionally comment - often I take exception with your observations - I am what you might kindly refer to as a "crazy" conservative" librarian - I did read and enjoy two of your titles - Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea, and most recently Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's. I am still waiting for your review of:
LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay

ricklibrarian said...

Kindly is how I want people referring to each other. Glad you found a few reviews to enjoy.

Cha Cha said...

Rick, I'm a lurker who doesn't comment. However, when I need a new book, your blog is where I turn. I appreciate your honest reviews and your sense of humor. Keep up the good work!

Marit said...

Hi ricklibrarian!
I have followed you since 2007 - on and off, I even tried to post a comment before, but it seemed to vanish into thin air.
I can't say, I've read every bit you've written, as your are very industrial. But I like this peep into American librarianship.
Who am I? A Danish librarian with quite some years' experience in public libraries. I work in the Literature & Music section of Aarhus Central Library and am one of the editors of the literary website, Litteratursiden, run by the public libraries:
If this gets through, you'll know that you have not blogged in vain :-)

ricklibrarian said...

Cha Cha, I am glad that you have found some good books here. Marit, sorry that you had trouble commenting. It got through this time, for which I thank you.