This week, I created a Google Reader which can be viewed here: http://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=yy#overview-page.
After only spending about an hour on Google reader, I really like it so far! I have a “Tumblr” account, and Google Reader seems to be set up similarly to Tumblr, so it is very easy for me to navigate. Specifically, I love that everything in the “Reading list” shows up chronologically, with the most recent posts on top. This way, when I come back to it later, I will not have to dig for things I have not read. Once I hit a post I have read, I will know that I have viewed everything below it and have explored all of the new posts for that day. Of course at the moment I only have Library, Technology, and Young Adult Lit subscriptions, so the information is easy to keep straight. I am afraid that once I am subscribed to more topics, the “reading list” will be too jumbled. Luckily, you can view new articles by subscription as well. I also downloaded the Google Reader App to my phone, so I have all of these blogs right at my fingertips! (Unfortunately, I have very little memory in my “Droid-like” phone; hopefully I can keep it on there!)
So far, my experience with the tool has been great. I think I figured everything out on my own- if there were tutorial videos, I did not see or need them. Of course I will take time to explore what other blogs and journals Google Reader has to offer once I get the hang of using it and catch up on what I have to read so far! One thing I do think I can work on is finding the well-established blogs. For example, I struggled to find a Young Adult Literature blog that had more than a few subscribers. Maybe this is because they are new, or maybe I was doing a poor job of searching. Either way, I think that is something that will come with time and experience with Google Reader.
I am not sure if I would have my students use Google Reader in the library. If I were to use it, I think I would use it as a research tool. For example, the Rhetoric students at my school are doing research presentations right now, and I think subscribing to blogs discussing Rhetoric might give them more to pull from than Google and Wikipedia (which seem to be all they know how to use right now.)
In a less direct way, I already plan on using some of the content that I have taken away from Google Reader. For instance, the students complain that we do not have “good” books in my library, and I honestly understand what they are saying. There are not a lot of current, popular, young adult books on the shelves. I was considering finding a way to loan ebooks or ereaders, and one of the blogs I follow, “Public Libraries” talks all about it! I plan on reading up on it and hopefully pitching the idea to the library board within the next couple of months.