Learning About Libraries

On Saturday, I attended a virtual conference with the unwieldy title Space and Sociability in Library and Information History.

I wouldn’t normally seek out such a conference, but there were two factors that encouraged me:

  1. It was run by someone I know, so I wanted to show support.
  2. It was supposed to be held hundreds of miles away, but was moved online at the last minute.

We heard a number of speakers talking about how libraries have been set up and used in different eras and cultures. One presentation talked about how the subscription model was once the dominant one, while another explained how the Austrian government would grant borrowing privileges to library users.

As well as learning something new, I was able to clean and tidy my kitchen at the same time.

What’s more, the pal who organised the event is shortly starting a prestigious library-based job in Edinburgh, so I’ll be able to see her in person and talk about these marvellous institutions far more often.

Cohesion

Having read last week’s entry, a friend gave me feedback that she felt it ended without a conclusion. I agreed with this analysis: the final paragraph had linked to a page on Reddit that was too loosely connected to what had gone before.

On writing a story, I know it’s finished when the characters are where I intended them to be. For a poem, I work more by experience; when I feel I’m dragging it out, I know to stop.

I find a blog entry is more difficult. I’m not often telling a story, nor conveying an emotion through poetic language. In those cases, I would leave the most exciting parts until nearer the end and perhaps introduce a twist.

On WordPress, I’m writing factually about writing, and some subjects don’t lend themselves well to a linear narrative or a logical progression of events.

I therefore asked my friend how she would rewrite the end of the blog entry in question. She’s worked as a reporter and an editor, so has much more experience in writing factually. She told me it’s a bad idea to introduce something new in the last paragraph, and suggested summing up what was said near the beginning,

I revisited the entry, removed the dodgy last paragraph and replaced it with one that refers back to the first paragraph. As a result, we agreed it’s more cohesive than the first version.