Interview with a librarian blogger.

Posted: June 5, 2009 in Blogger Interviews, Uncategorized

Your name: Holly Hibner

Name of your blog or blogs: Awful Library Books, as well as my personal blog that doesn’t really have a name.

URL(s): and


1. In a few sentences, describe your blog(s)

Awful Library Books is a fun site that shares the worst of library holdings.  We scan all kinds of libraries and get our hands on some truly horrible collection choices!  Most are just outdated.  My co-worker, Mary Kelly, and I are a bit obsessive about weeding and collection management in general, and we decided to share that passion with others.


My personal blog is where I share my personal opinions about libraries and librarianship and projects I am working on at work.  It really is a rofessional

blog – not my personal life – but is not sponsored by my place of employment.


2. How long have you been blogging?


About a year.


3. Why do you blog?


Both of my blogs were created in an attempt to learn how to blog.  Mary Kelly and I wanted to learn how to use WordPress, so we created a wordpress site.  I wanted to learn how to use Blogger, so I created one for myself.  That was how it started. 


Now I blog because it is an outlet for my professional passions.  I like to write and don’t have a lot of time for that kind of activity in my regular job, beyond press releases and promotional bits.


4. What’s the most positive aspect of blogging? Most negative?


The most positive aspect has been the networking that has occurred.  People comment on our posts, share their thoughts and feelings, and come together in a virtual way.  I’ve met some really great librarians through emails and posts!  I also love the fact that I’ve learned so many techie things, like how to create an RSS feed and email subscriptions.


The most negative aspect is the fact that once Awful Library Books became popular, it kind of became work.  It is still fun and the passion is definitely still there, but now we feel obligated to update it every day.  It started out as a once in a while kind of thing to pick at “when the spirit moved us.” Now we each draft several posts at once to get us through the next week or so of new content.


5. What inspires your blog entries?


Mary Kelly and I work at a real public library reference desk, so we answer reference questions all the time.  Our library belongs to one of the biggest cooperatives in Michigan , so whenever we do a catalog search we can see

the holdings of all of the other libraries in our system.  We are constantly

amazed at some of the holdings we come across while looking things up for our patrons.  My personal blog entries are usually inspired by a project at

work, something I’ve read, or a discussion I’ve had with a colleague.


6. Do you compose posts ahead of time, or do you write “on the fly”?


My personal blog is definitely on the fly.  The Awful Library Books site used to be on the fly, but is now definitely composed ahead of time.  We just don’t have time every day to write a new post (especially since ALB is not a product of our work place.  It’s a personal project that we do on personal time.)  Right now there are about 8 or 10 drafts in the queue, so we can post a new one pretty much every day.  I tend to draft 3 or 4 new ones every weekend.  Mary is a bit more regular than that with about 5 new drafts throughout the week.


7. What blogs do you read on a regular basis? Please list up to three or four.


Mary Kelly’s personal blog:


David Lee King:




8. What have you been reading lately? Do you read books, ebooks, or both?


I’m a big fan of audio books, which I download from my library’s digital collection (an Overdrive system).  I’m currently listening to The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond.  I usually have a print book going too.  Right now I’m reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova.


9. What music do you listen to? Any favorite artists or genres?


I have very eclectic tastes.  My favorite band of all time is Rush.  I’ve been to a wide variety of concerts: Indigo Girls, Fleetwood Mac, Queensryche, Kiss, Disturbed, Elton John…the list goes on and on.


10. Where do you get your news?


World news: mostly radio.  Library news: blogs and listservs


11. Are you reliant on any technical devices (iPod, Blackberry, etc.)? 


I do love my iPod Touch!  Ok, technically it is the library’s iPod Touch and we use it for roving reference – which I LOOOOVE to do – but I also use it for off-site communications when I’m at conferences, meetings, working at home, etc.


12. What is your political leaning? Do you consider yourself affiliated with a particular party?


I think it is really important for public library reference desk employees to keep their political leanings private.  I always want to seem approachable, even to people I would disagree with politically.  I make no judgments on the information I’m asked to find.  On a personal level, no, I do not affiliate with any particular party.  I tend to vote for the person, not the party.


13. Do you consider yourself religious?


Spiritual – yes.  Religious – no.  Same answer as number 13, though.  I keep my personal beliefs to myself so that I’m approachable to people with different viewpoints.


14. Have you done any foreign traveling? Favorite destination?


I went to England last summer and Australia when I was in high school.  Oh, and Windsor, Ontario is about an hour away from where I live, so I guess

you could count Canada.  London is my favorite destination so far.  My

husband is a pilot, so I have big plans to start taking full advantage of my

flight benefits!  I’d love to go to Italy.


15. What is your person philosophy of life? Is there a meaning, to you?


I have an extreme type B personality.  I don’t get stressed out easily, I don’t offend easily, and I don’t get worked up about things easily.  I guess my philosophy of life is that every problem has a solution – let’s find the solution and not dwell on the fact that there’s a problem.  Life is about making the best decisions we can with the information we have and learning something from every situation (bad or good).


16. Aside from your blog, do you do any other writing?


I have published a few articles in a few professional journals.  I’m definitely more of a technical writer than creative.


17. If you could orbit the earth in Richard Branson’s spaceship (or any other that takes civilians), would you?


Heck yeah!


18. Do you consider yourself adventurous, in general?

Yes!  I’m up for pretty much anything.  I like to try new foods, love to ride roller coasters, love to travel, and in general I’m not afraid to try things.


19. Have you ever met a celebrity? Who, and when?


I’ve never met an A-list celebrity, but I have met some famous people.  When I was in college I was in the jazz band and we played a whole concert with the famous jazz drummer Louis Bellson.  I also met the band members of Queensryche at a meet and greet after a concert. 


20. Do you watch television? Favorite programs?


Yes.  I love television!  Thank goodness for Tivo.  I like: Ugly Betty, Lost, Heroes, House M.D., Greek, Kyle XY, Dexter, Weeds, Entourage, Desperate Housewives, The Amazing Race, Monk, and I’m pretty excited about the new show Mental.


21. Have you ever been on television? In the newspaper?


Not in an acting capacity, but yes, I have been on television.  I was interviewed for the news in high school when I was a guest performer with the Air Force Band of Flight.  I’ve been in the newspaper lots of times for work.  My co-worker (Mary Kelly – you’re going to think we’re attached at the hip!) and I used to write a “Loved it, Hated it” column where we reviewed books.  One of us would take the “loved it” stance and the other “hated it.”  Fun!


22. Who are your favorite writers – please list three or four.


Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Laurie Graham, and I’m pretty impressed with the new author Lisa Genova.


23. What’s your astrological sign? Does it reveal anything about you?


I think I’m an Aries.  I have no idea what that means, though.  I guess it reveals that I don’t know much about astrology!


24. What’s the single greatest/biggest world event to have happened in your lifetime?


Probably 9/11.


25. Do you enjoy cooking? Any specialties?


No, I do not enjoy cooking.  My husband, does, though.  I love to look at cooking magazines, and I rip out all the recipes I want HIM to make.  I do love to eat and I appreciate food.  I CAN cook, but I would definitely say I do not enjoy doing it.  Baking isn’t bad, though.


26. What do you do to relax?


Play with technology, read, eat, walk, watch TV, listen to music, talk to friends.


27. Do you have a college degree or degrees? In what discipline(s)?


My BS is in English Language and Literature.  I had an elementary teaching certificate for years, but I let it expire when I went to library school.


My MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science) has a concentration in Reference Service.





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