OLJ Task : Five key points for a social media policy

A social media policy is a strategic document for any organization. So it is important to get input from key stakeholders in developing the policy. Fleet (2009) suggests involving Senior Management, Marketing/PR, IT, Human Resources, and the Legal branch.  Whilst his guidelines are aimed at the corporate world, libraries and information services could adapt these to include Library Management, IT, HR, Marketing/PR, teaching staff and relevant library staff and the legal branch.

Five key points for inclusion in a social media policy could be:

  1. State the purpose of the policy and define what is social media means to the organization. Address the different types of applications such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other emerging technologies (Kroski, 2009). The policy should be framed on things that internal staff or students can do rather than what they cannot do using social media. Establish guidelines to manage risks and protect internal employees and external clients. Consider who your audience will be so all groups are examined when writing the policy. Keep the policy short and focused so users will be able to access it easily.
  2. All contributors should take responsibility for what they write, exercise common sense and sound judgement (Lauby, 2009) and be guided by the code of conduct. Whatever material is up on social media needs to be age appropriate, ethically sound and portray the view of the organisation to benefit existing and prospective clients.
  3. Respect copyright and fair use of materials by encouraging all contributors to acknowledge any original work posted. Through ethical and legal use of materials a positive tone will be created for the overall use of social media and the interactions that will follow.
  4. Understand the concept of community as social media is about connecting and having a conversation with your community. The content and tone must be positive so online experience is pleasant and valuable for all parties. All parties must respect each other’s privacy and maintain confidentiality.
  5. Productivity matters – within a work environment it is important for staff to know the guidelines for using social media during work time whether for study purposes, professional development or personal use. For students guidelines need to be established as the appropriate amount of time spent on various forms of social media. Finding the right balance between social media use and work will safeguard organizational and personal productivity.

Social media is ubiquitous and establishing a policy that sets the boundaries and empowers employees and clients’ use of the various social media tools will contribute to a positive social networking experience for all.  Many organisations already have existing communication policies and social media policy can evolve from these. For social media policy to be effective there needs to be some staff training to leverage the benefits.  As new social media tools are emerging rapidly the policy must be revised frequently so the guidelines are consistent with new technology developments.


Fleet, D. (2009, 18 October). Social Media policies [e-book]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/davefleet/social-media-policies-ebook

Kroski, E. (2009). Why should your library have a Social Media Policy? Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6699104.html

Lauby, S. (2009, 6 February). 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy,[web log]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/


OLJ Task – Critical evaluation of Delicious

Social bookmarking, a Web 2.0 application, is a collaborative information service that enables Internet users to identify and label web content with ‘tags’ or keywords for later use. The capacity to access those tags from any networked computer or smart phone provides the additional benefits to users.

Delicious, a popular social bookmarking site, founded in 2003 and recently acquired by AVOS, was re-launched in September 2011, with a new focus on curation and discovery. There was much outrage and mixed comments in the social media ( O’Connell, 2011; Valenza, 2011) regarding site performance, however, the revamped site offers new enhanced features and functions ( Delicious, 2012 ). The new  features include stacks, multi-word tags, media previews, category browsing, the ability to collaborate on stacks  making it highly appealing to individuals and organisations.

Delicious has a simple interface, is easy to use and is backed up with sufficient support documents, however, some online tutorials will be useful. Initially Delicious had an online forum to interact with users but that has now been replaced by Facebook and Twitter and site updates are provided through the Delicious blog. Privacy is a critical factor on the Internet and Delicious takes into consideration when sharing stacks or setting personal or corporate profiles. The minimum requirements are an email and a password and users can create a public or private profile and upload a profile picture. Links can be saved to the profiles using the bookmarklet that can be easily added to any browser, however, it is optimised for IE9 and Firefox. On the other hand the bookmarklet provides a ‘push button content generation’, a feature of social curation sites such as Pinterest and enables users to create sets of curated content called stacks on Delicious. Users can browse the Delicious community by 12 different categories which enables quick discovery of their preferred subjects through the stacks.

A great way to organise and present the links is through stacks. A stack is a collection of links on a common topic or category. According to Valenza (2011) Delicious stacks is a ‘kind of fusion of bookmarking, microblogging, curating, and sharing– beefs up and prettifies its popular bookmarking service’. The stacks can be customized for a particular course related research or project with an appropriate image, title and a description. Using a visually appealing stack with strong graphics is a great way to present a more dynamic view of the links rather than a search tag result or a tag cloud. Unfortunately not all links come with images and currently users cannot upload any graphic images or photographs. This might be to prevent copyright breaches and to avoid inappropriate images on a collaborative bookmarking site but Internet is full of all types of strong graphic images.

Web 2.0 has revolutionised the means at our disposal to filter and share information and Delicious achieves this through ‘filter by tags’. Sharing and following users is via email but it has to be verified before any sharing occurs. Users can share a stack on Twitter or Facebook by clicking the ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ buttons allowing more social interaction.

The power of Delicious lies in the social networking aspects that enable users to see what other users with similar interest are discovering and to follow other users’ stacks and catch up with updates through email, feeds and RSS. In addition new social features allow users to collaborate on stacks, add comments and suggest new links for stacks which takes social bookmarking to a new level of collaboration and content creation. The exchange of information through ‘share’, ‘follow’ ‘invite’ and ‘collaboration on stacks’ supports social learning and integration with Facebook and Twitter opens it to a wide range of users. The way Delicious is evolving shows how social media will transform the the way users discover and interact with content over time.

For libraries it offers enormous opportunities for collection development and in supporting distance education. It provides educational institutions with a great platform for teaching, learning and resource collaboration.


AVOS. (2012). AVOS. Retrieved 20 January 2012, < http://www.avos.com/&gt;

Charles Sturt University. (2011). I am sisocialmedia on Delicious. Retrieved 22 January, 2012. <http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201190_W_D&gt;

Delicious. (2012). Delicious blog. Retrieved 22 January 2012, <http://www/delicious.com&gt;

Gil,E. (2012, January 4). How Pinterest will transform the Web in 2012: Social content curation as the next big thing [web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.eladgil.com/2011/12/how-pinterest-will-transform-web-in.html

O’Connell, J. (2011, September 28). Social bookmarking not so Delicious anymore (web log post). Retrieved 20 January. <http://heyjude.wordpress.com/page/2/&gt;

Valenza, J. (2011, September 28). Delicious stacks [web log post]. Retrieved 20 January  2012, <http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/neverendingsearch/2011/09/28/delicious-stacks/&gt;

Module 4 OLJ Task: Reasons why libraries should be on social media

This OLJ accompanies the Comparative Table in the previous post that looks at how each library uses social networking tools to support information services, educational programs, promote collections and services and develop a learning/reading culture.

The three libraries that I choose were The National Library of Australia (NLA),  The State Library of Queensland  (SLQ) and Yarra Plenty Regional Library (YPRL)

Social media enables libraries to connect and communicate with patrons in new and innovative ways. Because of the ubiquity of social media use libraries can leverage these social networking tools to interact with patrons news ways.

List of reasons why libraries should be on the social media.

1. Promoting and Marketing services and collections – through the use of Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Youtube and RSS feeds the library is able to publicise and promote services to a wider audience using information sources their patrons already use. The NLA participates in a variety of social media to network with its patrons for example they have created a number of instructional videos using YouTube with screencasts to show how to use the wealth of content in Trove.  Yarra Plenty has subject specific blogs with RSS feeds for patrons to select the services of choice. ( Comparative Table )

2. Communicating with patrons – social media enables libraries to solicit feedback from patrons and respond to feedback as shown by SLA through their posts and comments blog. The NLA has an active Twitter account to notify patrons of news, special collection and events. A special blog to showcase special exhibitions and through Facebook they get feedback from patrons.

3. Reach a wider audience – by using several subject specific blogs regarding their programs Yarra Plenty reaches out to specific groups of patrons such as Plenty of Web 2.0, Yarra Plenty reads, Genealogy, Local history, Book groups.

4. Extend the collection to a wider audience – using social media libraries can   transport their collection to any place at any time as shown through the webcasts and RSS feeds at SLQ and the library podcasts at NLA.

5. Keeping patrons up-to date with programs and services – shown by the variety of feeds that SLQ offers to patrons. Patrons can subscribe the feed of their choice.

6. Understand user needs and improve services – comments from Facebook and Twitter (as shown by all 3 libraries) provides libraries a with a rich source of information t o evaluate services and programs to meet changing user needs.

7. Making information accessible –shown through the variety of social media – RSS feeds , podcasts, web feeds, Youtube videos, Twitter and Facebook  by NLA.

Participating with social media is a two-way street and responding to patrons’ feedback is important as shown by these three libraries. Libraries must harness the benefits of social media as it provides libraries with new ways to engage with clients, build relationships and contribute to digital citizenship.


Module 4: Comparative Table: Reasons why libraries should be on social media

Providing Information Services
Supporting educational programs
Library Promotion/Special collections
Developing a reading/learning culture
National Library of Australia (NLA)
The eloquent page
What others are saying about NLA Podcasts Facebook
Library Podcasts Facebook
YouTube Blogs
Behind the scene
Trove blog
Twitter account YouTube
Handwritten Online forums   RSS subscription
Library Podcasts
State Library of Queensland (SLQ)
The Edge @Twitter Online newsletter
Online newsletter
Web feeds 


Yarra Plenty Regional Library
Online newsletter Email a Librarian
Online newsletter
Yarra Plenty Reads blog Plenty of Web 2.0 blog


Twitter is a free social networking and communication tool that enables you send short messages of up to 140 characters to your group or friends via the Twitter website, SMS, other Twitter clients, email, or IM. It provides a dynamic way to connect with patrons, students and professionals. It is used in a number of different ways in teaching and learning. It is now becoming increasingly popular with libraries and librarians to use Twitter to engage with patrons to promote and market their services via this popular social media.

Here are some ways libraries can use Twitter

Reference services – use new online tools to connect with patrons

  • Read latest news – many major sites have Twitter feeds which makes it easy to catch up with news & latest information – BBC, ABC, CNN
  • Identify expert in a specific area – find out who is talking about you or your patrons
  • Share tips on finding or accessing information online   – spread the knowledge of learning to others
  • Posts can link to interesting stories about literacy or other libraries
  • Use it as an assessment tool to find out what others are saying about your service
  • Patrons can ask questions about specific materials

Announcements and updates

  • Use it to highlight new resources, group meetings, current news,
  • Stay informed of new technologies
  • Inform patrons of library programs
  • Create alerts for specific groups
  • Update patrons about new resources
  • Get information on conferences of interest to libraries & follow feeds


  • Get feedback on potential policy changes
  • Try having a question and answer session – provide assistance to patrons
  • Don’t ignore conversations that are happening about your library or library community – stay engaged with followers to find out what people are saying about your services

Helpful feeds – find the ones that is useful and follow such as

  •  @librarycongress:  The Library of Congress is one of the largest libraries in the world, keep up with everything from their special collections to latest events
  • @LibraryJournal: @LibraryJournal offers library news, book reviews, and more
  • @heyjudeonline: Check out Judy O’Connell to learn about library and information services.
  • @mstephens7: Michael Stephens is an educator, librarian, and blogger that encourages his followers to never stop learning or dreaming
  • @geeklibrarian: This  Librarian is a geek helping public librarians venture into the world of Web 2.0.
  • @Librarian: This feed will give you a look at libraries in a totally unique way.

Vendors using Twitter – interact with your vendors in a new way


100 ways to use Twitter in your library (2009).


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.