Well, we did a little spring cleaning, and we are delighted to welcome you to the new and improved hacklibraryschool.com!
Since the Fall of 2010, Hack Library School has grown by leaps and bounds, from Google doc to wiki to the rotating cast of bloggers you all know and love. In 2013 alone, we published an ebook, co-sponsored a paid internship with EveryLibrary, and drew over 200,000 page views. In the past year, we’ve had visitors from 170 countries, covering every continent (except, alas, Antarctica). Our views to date total over 625k, and daily views have already risen almost 14% in 2014. Our audience has grown to over 5,300 Twitter followers and 1,250 Facebook fans, with nearly 2,500 shares directly from our site; over 5,200 comments (not including the spam!) with top posts receiving 65+ comments and top commenters averaging about 30 comments each. I’m citing these numbers not to brag – nor because they’re even that impressive in the age of clickbait blogging – but so you know what I mean when I say that we have an amazing community here at Hack Library School.
HLS is not just a blog; it’s a support network. We turn to each other for advice; celebrate one another’s jobs, graduations, and other big life news; and become collaborators on other projects. I recently chaired a conference panel about diversity and student engagement with three other students and recent grads – two of whom I’d met through HLS.
The spirit of taking matters into our own hands has remained at HLS’s core throughout, from Big Tent manifestos to building a better business card. We have our work cut out for us as information professionals, with persistent challenges both within our field(s) and in the world at large, and we need each other to make it happen. So this new website is designed to help you more effectively leverage the work that this community is doing and go forth to hack library school your way.
The brand-new Features slider at the top of our homepage will highlight not just our newest pieces, but also a rotating selection from the archives – hand-picked posts from our past that still ring true today. We’ve made it easier to find and browse author pages and enabled a “Like” feature on comments so you have one more way to engage. And behind the scenes, we’re working hard to improve categories and tags so that our 500+ posts are more discoverable and can better act as resources for students now and in the future. Most HLS posts don’t cover topics that can be neatly tied up with a bow and deposited on the Internet as a gift to the world – they’re meant to be revisited, commented on repeatedly, argued, used as resources, and revisited some more. We hope this new design will help facilitate that.
Last week as I was sitting in a CalMex restaurant in Pittsburgh doing mind-numbing data wrangling for this site update, fun.’s “We are Young” came on – right after I’d sent Steve an email referencing Kathleen Roe‘s rousing April 2014 MARAC keynote on the theme of “Catching Fire.”
It’s not very protest-y, as protest songs go, but “We Are Young” was pretty much inescapable a couple of years ago when I was running a grassroots campaign office. Despite the long hours, steady diet of cheap pizza and family-style vegan cooking, damage to our personal lives, and almost constant run-ins with hostile jerks, we stayed fired up and ready to go because we knew there was work to do, and we were the ones to do it. The words of this chorus constantly on the radio gave something of a voice to that. Hearing the song takes me back immediately to that sense of common purpose and urgency to be the change, so I think it’s only fitting that it became the soundtrack for me to inventory tags and visualize pageview data in the hopes of reigniting our older content and empowering our readers.
So, if you see library school as a place to get ready to do great things in a community of like minds, Hack Library School is the place for you. Take the resources here and use them, add to them, get inspired by them. Take matters into your own hands. We may not all be that young, but let’s set the (library) world on fire. We can burn brighter.
PS: As Project Manager for the new website, I am indebted to fellow team members Casey McCoy and Topher Lawton, Senior Editor Julia Skinner, Managing Editors Brianna Marshall and Courtney Baron, Community Manager Nicole Helregel, and the rest of the Hack Library School crew, past and present. Thank you!