Please think seriously about internally blogging the plans/meetings/notes/minutes for any BIG PROJECT that is in the planning stages. This is simple buy-in as well as a way to test the waters of social software. It will keep your staff informed every step of the way. Ask for comments as well and look to start conversations. I can’t tell you how important it is to give the staff a means to talk and that it’s okay to spend some time doing so. Then, move to external blogs for various services and users.
Bring together some of your newer librarians with the seasoned staff who are interested and create a Think Tank, R&D department, or the inspirational Emerging Technology Committee to look at all these new tools. Send some folks to the Gaming Symposium (hurry – it’s SOON), some to Computers in Libraries and some to Internet Librarian. They may become inspired! Let this group experiment in a techno-playground of blogs, RSS, wikis, flickr, etc and report to all staff what might be the best directions for the library.
If you haven’t already, train as soon as possible on Bloglines or the RSS aggregator of your choice to empower staff to keep up with the biblioblogosphere, LIS news and the news in general. Pre-populate an OPML file with a few HOT blogs from the biblioblogosphere and show folks how to add more.It’s a tool to empower them to keep learning and realize that constant change is the norm!
Encourage staff to use the tools as well. Something really struck me at Chicago Public Library. Jenny, Stephen and I, in the space of a few days, went from the totally Web 2.0-laden conference in Monterey that was flickred, tagged, blogged, and wiki’ed from every possible angle to the incredible Wednesday event at CPL that has only shown up at ALA Techsource blog. Different audiences, yes, but still loads of librarians who could be, if they had the knowledge and the tools, blogging and tagging photos, making notes on a wiki, etc. The benefits — presence, sharing, collaboration — are worth it! (UPDATE: Jenny points to a CPL Blog!)
Finally, think seriously about IM as well. I just got an email from a librarian who had to lament her library doesn’t get what could be one with IM. “I’ve worn myself out trying,” she said. Look no further than this page at the LibSuccessWiki to see how IM has changed what libraries do! . How wonderful might it be for folks at library branches or in different departments to communicate so easily from their computers? The next step, of course, would be IM reference.
You know what all of this takes? Not money, friends, because the tools are free or cheap, but TIME and a commitment to follow through. Please consider these five starters as well as the tips here. And let me know how it goes.