Social media, social networking and libraries: Why bother?
We were asked to read three articles that discuss social media, social networking and libraries…all with the question of why should we bother? Why should information professionals and librarians go to the extra effort of embracing Web 2.0 technologies in their library?
This is a fantastic article that looks at how libraries are using blogs to communicate with clients and to communicate amongst staff (in bigger university/college libraries). I enjoyed reading this article as I felt it had relevance to why blogging is important for information professionals and because it used real-life examples to help support what it was saying. This was an easy read and I think it very nicely summed up the reasons why librarians should make the effort to create a blog and start connecting with clients/users in a format that they can appreciate and can access from wherever they are (not just in the library!)
This was an okay read that really discussed in general terms how just because the economy is bad, libraries shouldn’t ignore embracing new technologies that cost next-to-nothing to implement. It wasn’t’ a very interesting article and I found it to be quite a bit boring to be honest… I really couldn’t see the link between WHY librarians should be embracing Web 2.0 technologies like I could in the previous article…really this article just seemed to be a bit of a whinge about how libraries shouldn’t let the economy affect their ability to try new things.
This is a fantastic article the briefly and succinctly sums up why libraries should be using social media. The reasons are: Communication, Respond to Positive/Negative Feedback, Marketing/Advertising and Understanding Users Better. These reasons are clear and they make sense and I think this is an article all librarians should read because I reckon it would help them to see that there really isn’t a reason why they shouldn’t be using social networking tools as a means of making themselves heard and seen by their clients/users. I really enjoyed this article and I like the simplistic nature of it – just a great reads!!
We were meant to next listen to a podcast (a LONG one that went for 48mins) but the page isn’t loading for me. I have to say I’m a bit relieved as listening to a long podcast isn’t really something I was keen to do. However, there is a blog post to read: The essence of Library 2.0? so I have done that at least! This was a great blog post that really got to the essence of Library 2.0 – which is all about making sure you assess what your clients/users want and need and then act on it. The author believes that so many libraries got (and get) caught up in implementing as many new Web 2.0 technologies as possible that they forget to see if their clients actually want these technologies and whether their clients will actually use these technologies as another means of interacting with the library. The posting really made me think about how Library 2.0 is such a difficult thing to define (as I noted in my previous blog post on the topic of Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0) and that we really don’t quite know what it is yet…just that libraries need to continually work towards better serving their clients, however that may be.
Finally we are asked to look at the following two blog entries: Top 10 Social Networking Tools and Trends for Libraries from 2009 and Top 10 Social Networking in Libraries Trends for 2010 (LINK: ) and then answer these three questions.
The most important thing to keep in mind as I answer these questions is that I work for the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) as a teacher librarian and so while I can have some say over what tools are used within my school library, I don’t have a lot of say over what is used in the entire NSW DET organisation as a whole. Furthermore, I have only been working as a casual/reliving teacher librarian so I haven’t been making any BIG changes in my school library…so instead I will try to answer these questions based on what I have seen/heard other teacher librarians (working in the NSW DET) do.
1. Which of these tools and trends has already impacted on your library or organisation?
I think the main ones I have seen are Twitter (used by a couple of TLs – however it cannot be accessed by students at school) and e-books and e-book readers. School libraries are also making use of blogs (which isn’t mentioned) but overall most of the tools don’t really apply to school as a lot of them cannot be accessed by students (due to the NSW DET Internet filter) or there just hasn’t been a big interest in the use of them
2. Which of these tools and trends have been discussed by people within your library or organisation as having potential in supporting its goals?
I think the main one is the use of e-books and e-readers, however these come with their own issues as many companies who publish text books as e-books are charging more for them than the paper version and there has also been issues of companies only allowing e-books to be borrowed a set number of times before the book has to be re-purchased by the library.
I guess the other trend is kind of like the “social networking classes” – except in schools these are more based on cyber safety for students.
3. Which of these tools and trends have not yet hit your library or organisation’s radar?
Well most of them and to be honest I’m not sure that a lot of them will ever be used in school libraries as there are just so many restrictions on what we can and can’t use and access.