KJS: How about the staff’s relationship with the web? Has that changed?
GH: When the blogs were a separate function of the old site, they were disconnected from our online presence. Blogging was doled out as a staff responsibility to one or two people. When we first started working in the staging site, I encouraged everyone to participate, which took some adjusting to for most of the department. There are a couple of staff members who discovered with the new website that they had a great voice and lots of really interesting things to share. Part of what makes any library staff strong is having varied experiences and bringing a wide range of voices to the table and sharing that range is a way to reach out to the community. Many of the staff are feeling invigorated with this new aspect of their jobs, especially part time staffers. I’m really happy to encourage it because it’s so wonderful. This is just like when you are learning to play the piano and you have to practice. The more you do it, the better it gets. In the two weeks since we’ve been live, they’re posting more and more and their posts are getting better and better.
KJS: I’ve been surprised by the difference between blogs and a Drupal-driven site. Even though it seems like they’d be similar for the staff–log in, write something, click publish–it’s very different.
GH: Yes, we can respond immediately to things that are happening in our community. With any challenge we’re facing–even a parent who can’t find a certain type of book or something ordinary like that–we can respond immediately to help that person. Since we’re posting online, we’re helping those who aren’t stopping to ask us about books they can’t find or for homework help. The bonus of being able to respond immediately has a flip side: children’s librarians are ALWAYS BUSY. This creates another obligation for us, but if we think about it in the right way- as another service point- it moves up the priority list.