Module 4 Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation, social media, social networking and libraries: why bother?

My reflections on the following posts as these provided much insight into social networking for information professionals……….

Brookover, in her article Why we blog raises a number of important points to consider regarding blogging.  She mentions that “….libraries are reaping the rewards, well-written, frequently updated public blogs help librarians relate to their patrons, generate support for new building initiatives, and market programs, collections, and services”. A blog is a great communication tool for disseminating targeted information to patrons and but it must be regularly updated. So it is important to consider how a library will use the blog, staff training and the time commitment required  and the scope of topics it will cover. How will public comments be handled and how the success will be measured?. I think addressing user comments in a timely manner is very important to maintain our relationships with patrons.

I explored a few academic library blogs at random and found that the topics covered included new materials, library programs and events, online resources, and library services which are often the same as those covered by in person or email interactions. User feed back was little but blogging has ‘empowered librarians to reach their users in new ways and develop user-library relationships that is so fundamental for our institutions ability to thrive’ in these tough economic times.

Meredith Farkas’s post The essence of Library 2.0 ( January 24, 2008) on her blog Information wants to be free has a clear message for library and information professionals  as we can learn much from this pioneer of Library 2.0 movement.  She stresses the importance of assessing what our users need and want before implementing Library 2.0 technologies . Her focus is us is on user needs, services and learning. Do not be caught in the hype of Web 2.0 technologies. I think innovative practices does not necessarily equate to Web 2.0 technologies as all libraries are different. And not every library will be able to use all those tools. Our users have different needs. So find out  what your users want, assess your services and find out what other libraries are offering so you can learn from that experience.

Andy Burkhardt’s post Four Reasons Libraries should be on Social Media (August 2005, 2009) states the following reasons:

  1. Communication
  2. Respond to Positive/Negative Feedback
  3. Marketing/Advertising
  4. Understanding Users Better

This is a great article that briefly and succinctly sums up why libraries should be using social media. The email is dead is a huge take home message – and a lot of the libraries are using IM for communicating with  their patrons. This is true at my library. The reasons are clear and make a lot of sense in this digital age. I think this is an article that all librarians should read and take notice as it will help them to see that there isn’t one good reason why they should not be using social media tools as a way of making themselves seen and heard by their patrons. I just hope all other readings are this simple to read and convey the message.

AnnaLaura Brown’s blogs on top tools and trends for libraries on her Social Networking in Libraries blog , shows a the rise of Facebook fan book pages for libraries but my library does not have a presence there yet but my institute does have a Facebook page for marketing and promotions.

The trend of offering social networking classes is a wonderful idea and it is a great way to market the library and get patrons in the door. A food for thought for my library. As my project was based on using Delicious to create web resources to support my faculty I will be teaching Social bookmarking as part of Information literacy this term.

Library related widgets such as libguides widgets is becoming very popular and my library has just launched libguides that uses widgets such as RSS, Youtube videos and other widgets. Our library intends to develop a range of tutorials using online learning technologies including podcasting and screencasting.

With regard to ebooks and ebook readers the library is still exploring the best options that will support the current technology platform. With reduced budgets this makes it very difficult to juggle resource priorities at some libraries. The other reason is that there is not much course specific materials out there. And getting teaching staff to embrace ebooks is another challenge.

The library catalogue has a mobile interface so it can be accessed via mobile devices.

These trends provide a few options for me to explore further at my library but given the resources available to us I think we are making a good effort in participating in a range of social networking activities.


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