Thanks But No Thanks Salem Press

I recently received this message from the folks at Salem Press. Seems they’ve decided our profession – blogs in particular – could use another award:

Congratulations. Your blog has been nominated for a Library Blog Award by readers of it. You should be thrilled so many think so much of what you have to say.

My response to “The Library Blog Awards” was “thank but no thanks – not interested”. Apparently DBL was nominated by readers, so I want to thank those among you (at least one person) who thinks DBL is worthy of an award. The only award I need is to know that DBL has readers who find value in our posts.

Personally I think the profession would be just fine without award proliferation. These awards often go to the same old blogs time and time again, while many lesser known but equally (and sometimes better) blogs go unrecognized. My preference would be for all librarian bloggers to reject the enticement to enter this competition, but perhaps the promised cash prizes will present too much temptation. Perhaps those who win will contribute Salem’s cash to good causes.

This isn’t a critique of Salem Press. I understand their desire to recognize the good work of librarians and bring it attention, and I respect their good intentions. I just wonder if there’s a better way to do it then establishing one more unproductive competition. Perhaps they could promote a different library blog each week with a special column on their home page. Librarians could be invited to nominate blogs they think are worthy of attention. Or let’s just not bother. As I’ve written before, I think the best job of promoting librarian blogs is the annual “Blogs to Read” list compiled by LISNews. Anything else just seems pointless.

Update (June 1, 2010): Salem Press went ahead with its blog awards. If you are interested you can find the results here. A blog that I maintain elsewhere was awarded a third place award in the academic library blog category. Being that it is nothing more than a filter blog, a very predictable blog that is hardly a creative endeavor – and which takes little effort – I question how it could be that much better than many of the other academic librarian blogs – I see many that are far better. And the choice of Resource Shelf as the second place winner in the academic library category? Very puzzling. It’s not about academic libraries. It’s been around forever, so does it need any more recognition? It too is a filter blog. I think that gets back to my original point. Why bother? If Salem wanted to provide a directory of librarian blogs – that seems reasonable. Anyway, I politely thanked them and requested that they donate the $100 prize that accompanies the award to a librarian scholarship fund.