Creating a Library 2.0 program for a public library
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The purpose of this entry is to provide information on the creation and maintenance of library 2.0 programs in public libraries. The focus is on enabling library staff to effectively use social media and deploy tools in their library 2.0 programming, as well as utilizing social media tools to connect with and create dialogue with library users.
Many public libraries use social media to interact with patrons and staff such as blogs, RSS, instant messaging, wikis, Twitter and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Librarians blog about children, teen and adult topics for reader's advisory, community services, upcoming events, staff updates, job searching, author news and anything library related. Microblogging platforms such as Twitter are used for publishing news bulletins; social networking platforms provide a way for patrons to interact with library staff, and wikis are ideal organizing and collaboration tools.
Current library training programs for public librarians
The following are examples of online web 2.0 training programs for library staff.
This program was developed for the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) in 2006. Since then, it has become a staff training model for other library systems. Designed by Helene Blowers and based on Abram’s “43 Things I (or You) Might Want To Do This Year,” the program offers 23 activities to develop web 2.0 skills such as: blogging, using Flickr and photo mashups, online image generators, LibraryThing, Rollyo, RSS feeds, tagging, folksonomies, wikis, online applications, podcasts, and AV production and downloading. See PLCMC’s Learning 2.0 blog for the program and links to other libraries using the 23 Things program.
This is eight-week program was designed for a fictitious university library as an assignment at the University of British Columbia’s School of Library Archival and Information Studies in 2009. Aimed at academic libraries, the plan is also useful in public libraries. The modules include instruction and practice on blogs, micro-blogging, instant messaging, media sharing, social bookmarking/cataloging, social networking and wikis.
Here are a few social media tool public libraries might consider incorporating into their Library 2.0 program:
Yaffle is a new search engine developed by Memorial University of Newfoundland that allows anyone to search for the university’s latest research, as well as post a call for research help. Its designers envision the site eventually including hundreds of universities from all over the world (Church, 2010).
Marketed as similar to Last.fm for research papers, Mendeley is a free research management software application that organizes and indexes PDFs and research papers in a digital bibliography. It allows users to collaborate with other researchers and share information through public collections.
Foursquare is a location-based social networking site that allows users to “check in” to various locations and view other users’ locations. It also allows users to write reviews and comments about places, as well as become the “mayor” of a certain location by checking in there more than anyone else (Guynn, 2010).
Example: Vancouver Public Library contest.
Guidelines for implementation
Suggestions from the literature to support the launch of a Web 2.0 program include:
Marketing and instruction
Guidelines for maintaining and updating
Guidelines for privacy and behaviour
See also Social Media Policies
Prominent emerging technology librarian Ellyssa Kroski has identified ten goals for a social policy guide. Her recommendations include:
Kroski's points have remained constant in later discussions such as Tame the Web's sample social media policy with the addition of a short section on privacy. Privacy remains a central concern of using third-party social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Libraries are well advised to clearly indicate to visitors that their online participation in external social media sites is a matter of public record on the open web. This can be accomplished by clearly linking to a library policy where the library website links to social media profiles and by using the "About" section of a social media profile to hyperlink to the library's policy on social media use.
Future planning for network obsolescence
As social media profiles are often cultivated over a number of years, they contain a huge wealth of information and media such as photos that remain important to corporate users. When using any social media platform, a user should ask some of the following questions:
If the answer to any of these questions poses challenges, it should affect how an institution uploads content.
The simplest backup solution is to keep a separate copy from the time of the upload. Social media services such as blog and wikis pose particular challenges for backing up given their evolving information architecture. Many such as the popular blogging CMS Wordpress do allow users to back up their database and it is recommended that users do so regularly. Microblogging service Twitter has a built-in backup service in the Library of Congress. The advent of cloud computing has given rise to more third-party backup services such as Backupify, which allows users to backup several social media services including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Google services.
Considerations for training library users
One role of public libraries is to assist users in accessing information using new media. Knowing how to utilize social media effectively while protecting personal privacy involves important information literacy and media literacy skills. For these reasons, many libraries have begun to offer social media workshops and training programs for their users. In implementing these training programs, it is important for libraries to educate users about the different uses of social media technologies - many are used for social networking and communication, but can also serve as significant sources of information and tools for collaboration.