Category Archives: Participatory Culture

What would you call it?

cooking while sick


It’s total cheese to say: here’s your assignment if you choose to accept it. But, I kinda just did. Below you will visit many links. As you pay a visit, pretend you are stressed-out, Infectious Disease Researcher under a serious time constraint to stop a virulent Adenovirus strain. And you’ve been so busy over the years. So busy you’ve never slowed down to understand what those terms mean. You want an obscure article let’s say. One that could crack your case to stop this killer cold. And you just want to get on with, you know, your research stuff.*

After visiting those links, what would make it easier for you; what would make it faster; what would enrich the experience; was there any help; could you easily speak with a real, live librarian; what fatigued you; what was only clear if you’re a librarian? What would you call “Getting at the stuff that my local library doesn’t have so I can crank out my own research”?

What would you call it and should we be charging fees? Should we absorb a reasonable amount of the cost?

InterLibrary Loan
http://library.calvin.edu/services/ill
Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
http://tinyurl.com/3qdhot
Interlibrary loan services (ILL) and alternative delivery services
http://www.ub.uni-erlangen.de/Fernleihe/index-en.shtml
Interlibrary Borrowing Service
http://libraries.mit.edu/ordering/ilb.html
and
http://libraries.mit.edu/docs/index.html

Tired yet? Hang in there. It’s called link fatigue. It’s also among the reasons why so many web surfers scan information -as opposed to read all the information we put on web pages.
Document Delivery Service
http://ndsl.lib.state.nd.us/DocumentDelivery.html
IU Document Delivery Service
http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=54
Document Delivery Services
http://www.lindahall.org/services/document_delivery/
Document Delivery Services
http://library.mskcc.org/scripts/portal/services/services1.pl
Integrated Document Delivery
http://www.usc.edu/libraries/services/idd/interlibrary_loan/

Focus now my tired, diseased researcher; I know you’re getting tired (maybe); this is where we really start to see some different pieces.
7-FAST On-Campus Document Delivery Service
http://www.lib.umich.edu/7fast/
British Library Research Pack
http://tinyurl.com/45awja
Loansome Doc
http://tinyurl.com/54cmw5
Interlibrary Loan Forms
http://library.uncg.edu/depts/ill/illforms.asp
and check these two out for sure:
Ordering Full text – Document Delivery
http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/docorder.html
Document Delivery Services (DDS)
http://www.lib.ipfw.edu/dds.html
Document Services
http://libraries.mit.edu/docs/index.html

Don’t we all just want to get materials that we need? Remember: what would the user call it.
Getting Materials:
http://www.lib.fsu.edu/services#materials
http://www.lib.fsu.edu/services/materials/feds

So, what would you call this service we provide my highly stressed-out, Infectious Disease Researcher?

TTW Contributor: Lee Leblanc

*based on a true story -changed to protect anonymity. It’s in the vault.

Rapidly disseminating information you find interesting?

you too could share

Note: we also get the results from the social media survey. Open all the links at once: http://linkbun.ch/52i -thanks infodoodads.com


Sharing PDFs

At times, I want to share parts of an article (like with you.) So I tested an online tool to extract an abstract from the article I just read. Here’s that abstract:

…The main hypothesis we examine is whether heavier users of IT are more productive, and if heavier users of IT are indeed more productive, how does this increase in productivity manifest itself? Our results suggest that, controlling for other factors, the size of an individual’s internal email network is more highly correlated with revenues generated by that individual than age, experience or education. … Additionally, even after accounting for the individual’s number of unique contacts within the firm, the social network measure of “betweenness” is also highly correlated with revenues. We attribute the strength of these results to the fine grain detail of the data on this form of task-based white collar work.”
–From http://spirit.tau.ac.il/public/gandal/Information.pdf

and rather than force you to load Adobe Acrobat Reader I can re-direct you to another tool. pdfmenot.com allows me to quickly let you load a presentation on the paper above. If you ever sent anyone a large PDF they will thank you for using this. Here’s that presentation.
http://pdfmenot.com/view/http://www.idei.fr/doc/conf/sic/papers_2005/gandal_slidesl.pdf

Another way I collect information is to save the slides or pages I specifically want. In a 78-page PDF it’s doubtful I want all 78-pages. Sometimes I actually like to hand colleagues a hard copy of a specific section. Trolling through the PDF to print only the pages I want is time consuming. Nor do I want my colleagues to have to find the pages I want them to see if I email it. I just hack the PDF down. Using this app you can modify your PDF for sharing. Takes seconds. Saves time.

The folks over at infodoodads turn you on to some pretty cool stuff too. Laurie did this presentation. Then put it online. Pretty slick. Here’s the link to Issuu and the presentation:
http://tinyurl.com/2mu9db

A lot of my tricks I’ve picked up from other bloggers but most recently I’m thankful to http://www.friedbeef.com/about/ (I would have called it friedveggies since I’m one of those veg-heads.)

Delicious
I also bookmark like mad. Do you get regular links via your delicious account? “What’s that!?! Not another thing to check,” you say. Settle down now; it’s just links. If you’re in my network I can add you every time I bookmark something I think you would like. You can practice reciprocity by sharing with me. Here’s how to do it:

|links for you| –look for this up near the top of your delicious page.

then add me formally to your delicious network by searching for iblee or simply typing the tag:
for:laurenpressley
(I chose Lauren as an example because she shared a cool article on Buddhism with me.)

Social Media
A few weeks back we looked at the question, “How many Social Media Sites do you use online?” Of course, right away I was asked to define it. I’m not big on giving definitive definitions for things I didn’t create. (Not that I’ve created anything worth talking about or defining!) So, yeah, I googled it. I liked Robert Scoble’s take: Social Media. A large part of this media revolves around participation. Yes, participation is in decline in some ways. Read Bowling Alone yet? Even if the author’s premise and research is sloppy (as some have called it) it’s still worth thinking about. When was the last time you got together for dinner with friends? How regularly is it? Do you schedule this time? How social are you offline?

“How many Social Media Sites do you use online?” results:
1-3 sites 40.0%
4-7 sites 51.0%
8+ sites 9.0%

Some responses:
Primary interplay revolves around my typepad blog (justcrim.typepad.com), facebook account, del.icio.us/brianrwuci sites, and google reader feeds/sharing

Although I’m an Early Adopter (MOOS since 1995, LiveJournal since 2000, my offline life is too full for too much time spent online

I have my own blog, I blog for the library, I have a facebook account, a flickr account, i occasional login to Askville.com, I belong to three wikis including the Peace Corps Wiki

LJ, diaryland, flickr, twitter, ravelry, librarything, facebook, myspace, last.fm

Don’t Forget

oh! and don’t forget to share your feeds :) http://www.google.com/reader/shared/00291156310638200102
Feel free to share where you go for info and how you share it with your friends (those online ones too.) You will most likely expose someone to a tool, trick or source they didn’t know about.

Hmm, maybe I should have titled this post: “Sharing is caring?”

TTW Contributor: Lee LeBlanc

Why are you …?

Torii gates 1


You answered, Why am I a librarian (or insert your favorite information professional title here)? Thank you for a set of fun responses. Why I did I open the question to all information professionals? There are a lot of unique roles in libraries. There are a bunch of names for those roles within libraries. Some people remind us to not take titles too seriously. Some are for reals. Still need more proof?

Next, I adhere to the be nice rule. Yes, I do not think we need people who are bullies -in their professional or personal lives. We need less sardonic, mendacious, apathetic, dejected and mean-spirited people in our profession. I still included those comments though.

Which reminds me of the time I got stabbed by a pen knife standing up to a bully. I stood there staring him in the eyes, unflinching. Then, he ran off scared. You are only as weak as you believe you are. Don’t let those comments dissuade. Fight the good fight. Say fair, good things about people you know; ignore the rest. They’re not worth your time. Snarky is so web.0.

“to be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else is the hardest battle any human can ever fight and never stop fighting.”
-e.e. cummings

———————–

 

Your responses below

 

———————–


1. I prefer to call myself an “Information manager” because that’s what I do all the time: manage information and because I do not work in a Library. I like helping other people find what they’re looking for and design new ways of makes things more findable.

2. It’s an easy job

3. It combines my love of people with my love of the hunt (for information!)

4. I needed a job with a salary.

5. It seemed like a career in librarianship would give me a lot of options. At the time, I didn’t know where I wanted to live….My first job was as “Acquisitions Specialist” for a federal government contractor. About 2 years later, I was an “Internet Librarian.” Then I was a “Internet Terminology Librarian.”

6. I wanted a career with no stress. Being a librarian is totally stress-free. I’m a career-changer. I came from the corporate world. The library world <i>really is</i> stress-free compared to the “real world.”

7. I Need

8. See #2. [Respondent means the second question I asked. Post coming soon.]

9. I like the work, I find people’s questions interesting, and it’s different every day, which suits my attention span.

10. I wanted to be a professor but I liked too many subjects to pick just one. As a librarian you can study whatever you want.

11. Don’t know why you are a librarian. Let’s speculate: – you’re a huddled mass yearning to breathe free! – you lost a round of beer pong and the loser had to go to library school! – you won your library degree as a Publishers Clearing House.consolation prize!

12. I am an information wonk and I like to help people find all sorts of information.

13. I like to help people. My Dad is a Social Worker for the blind and my Mom is a retired Registered Nurse.

14. I am a librarian because I er ah … darn it I don’t know. It seemed like a good job at the time and I don’t think I’d like anything else quite as much. I feel like I help bring order to the universe.

15. Because I love the job. I love helping people find information, I love books, knowledge and libraries in general. I adore the fact that I can spend hundred’s of dollars on books for the library that people will enjoy reading. I enjoy working with children, sharing books, doing programs, helping with homework and thus chose to become a children’s librarian.

16. Schooling harms children by forcing them to deny their life’s passions, teaching them that learning has discrete end-points (final exams, graduations, etc.), and — worst of all making them intellectually dependent on expert teachers. I became a librarian to help children become more intellectually independent, to foster a love of self-directed learning.

17. Computers and books are fun. Getting paid decently is good. Sucky pay rules out chain book stores, but allows for librarian jobs.

18. In the end I had to give in to genetics. I’m third generation.

19. Gives me a chance to help people, make a little ey, and keep learning stuff too.

20. I love research. I like teaching people and I like books. What else was I going to do?

21. Because I like the work, parts of it anyway, and the pay is good. There are times I actually don’t mind helping people. Since I work in a college library I feel a little bit like I’m “doing some good” as well.

22. It’s an honorable career that suits my skills and talents and it pays decently. Plus I get to work with books.

23. I am a librarian because I am a people-person and a dilettante. I’m a smart person who couldn’t settle into one discipline.

24. I have my MLS and need to recoup my investment so I can become something else. I entered the field as an idealist.

25. The thrill of the hunt.

26. It presented itself as the best way to earn a living at the point that I finished an MA in my chosen field and needed to help support my student husband.

27. – couldn’t think of a better fit for my skills, interests, and previous work experience – wanted a job with continuous challenges (ie: you never know when the person approaching the desk is going to ask you a tough reference question), and variety of duties – I like people, and I like helping them – it’s not physically demanding.

28. I got the degree so what else am I going to do, huh?

29. I like to read, to learn and to discover. I like helping people.

30. I believe access to information is one of the most important things nowadays. And I think there’s no other professional who cares more about how the user will access and use this information than librarians.

31. I enjoy helping people, organizing things, and being able to use my liberal arts background. I don’t have to work with food or business people; I enjoy being at an academic institution.

32. Good question.

33. I like helping people and some of the other traditional roles (doctor, lawyer, accountant) didn’t seem as good a fit.

34. This is a “straight” answer. I wanted to teach (and coach sports) outside the context of the classroom, and a high school library seemed like the best way to do that. After early experiences in high school libraries, I was fortunate that the public library job opened in the low population rural area where I wanted to live. Getting to share with people of all ages and interests over the last 33+ years has been exceptionally rewarding … except for the pay and benefits.

35. I am a librarian for a lot of reasons. Mainly, I enjoy helping people. But I also like earning my living doing something that that helps further knowledge, that supports education and openness and equality, and that doesn’t exist solely to make rich people or corporations richer. I am a librarian in an academic library because I believe that access to higher education can change a person’s life for the better and because I enjoy being part of a collegial and inquisitive environment. I am a library manager because I want to inspire at least one person as I have been inspired and create opportunities for growth and learning for my staff as opportunities have been created for me, and because I want to prove that a woman can excel in leadership positions traditionally dominated by men.

36. So I can participate in useless pseudo-academic nonsense like this survey.

37. Because some mean, public “librarian” would not help me find information when I really needed help.

38. I am a librarian because I have this unquenchable thirst for finding information. Also, I like to work with books and other reading materials. Indeed, my intent was to stay in academics for a lifetime by working as an academic librarian. After earning other post-secondary degrees that could never guarantee any job whatsoever, I decided to earn a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree for practical work skills. As for my career prospects, they are rather slim because I compete with other librarians for a limited number of librarian jobs. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as a “librarian shortage” whatsoever!

39. because I get to tell stories to 4 year-olds, 84 year-olds and everyone in between……… and get paid for it!

40. I went to the careers office at my undergrad school less than 2 years in. I talked with someone there about what I could do and what I wanted to do, and she suggested the possibility of being a librarian. I had never thought about it before, but it really seemed like the obvious thing for me to do. Throughout most of my life I’ve been better and using libraries than other people my age and I also love using them.

41. Librarianship was just a perfect fit for me. I was told by several teachers and professors that I should go into teaching, but I didn’t have a passion for it like I did for libraries. Now I work in a college library and get to collaborate with the professors and teach the odd online research skills course.

42. Because it pays slightly better than my other job options, and has better hours.

43. It allows me to work with information and also help people access and understand information. In my case, the information is local history and preserving history.

44. i love books and reading.

45. Because I ENJOY interacting with library staff (I’m in a consortia that offers services to libraries. Have been in consortia work for 24+ years). [Email me.]

46. Because there is no one other field where u can be a book lover, gamer, techie, geek, and love your job.

47. I am a librarian because I get to help people (I am an academic/instruction librarian), play with technology, work with very nice people AND, best of all, I do not have to sell one thing to make a living…

48. The usual — loves books & libraries.

49. Public librarianship manages to link up all the things I like to do with the things I believe I ought to do. It allows me to combine my feeling of responsibility for my community and/or craving for social justice with my liking of books and technology.

50. I’ve always been a Librarian – it was my favorite game as a kid; better than school or store or house.

51. Because no other profession would have me. Also, I am obsessive and picky.

52. For the money.

53. At first it was a job at a college, now it is part of my life mission to help others get a college education.

54. I seem to have an affinity for finding things, although I am not very organized….

55. To make sure people find the information they need.

56. Because I wanted to be one, I like the work.

57. I like solving problems and thought I could do so at the reference desk.

58. I love finding answers, people and books!

59. I got an undergraduate degree that would have required a Ph.D. to do anything with. I picked librarianship because it was a “safe” choice (short, easy degree program; could complete via distance education), and I didn’t know what else to do.

60. I enjoy working with people, I like to read, and I love discovering new information.

61. I love books, and I love working with kids. It’s perfect.

62. What other job offers such variety of work?

63. Because I really believe in libraries. I believe libraries are about the last institutions in the world to offer free education for anyone who wants to learn.

64. It was was that or a career as an archaeologist. And when I discovered that being an archaeologist wouldn’t include searching for treasures like Indiana Jones (yes I was very young) I decided searching for information would be the best choice. The proximity to all the books was an added bonus.

65. Because I love connections. I connect people with information, people with people, people with answers, people with books.

66. I enjoy helping people, but can’t stand blood, so I couldn’t be a doctor or nurse. After working in some bookstores, I discovered that I like helping people find information (I am a confirmed bibliophile), so I went to library school.

67. When I was in high school, the librarians were amongst the most influential staff when it come to fostering a love of reading, and appreciating literature. Once I graduated from my undergraduate humanities degree, it seemed like the obvious choice, where I’d be able to share this knowledge with other people who are just as passionate about books and reading.

68. Because I matter (make a significant positive difference) to the people who ask me for help or who accept my freely offered help.

69. I like the ability to work independently, and I like the diversity of projects I can undertake. I also like to help people.

70. because I love to get people to information, organize everything, and break barriers at any given opportunity.

71. Because I have learned one of my best strengths is as an intermediary and facilitator of information and people.

72. For the variety of questions I am able to answer at the reference desk and the variety of things I get to work on (collection development, programming, etc.,).

73. It provides an intersection of thinking and using my intuition that I find satisfying. It’s about the intersection of people and systems, and you really have to become familiar with both to do the job.

74. I chose to become a librarian, because I wanted to help others engage with information and encourage a passion it. I also had a love of knowledge and research and wanted to find an occupation that allowed me to pursue this daily.

75. h.

76. I’m very nosy and want to know it all. And want to know what others want to know.

77. it’s a combination of a love for learning and helping people…and fate..haha!

78. It is the best job in the world. I get to learn something new every day and help others to find the information they are looking for. I like meeting new people and doing different things. I love that everyday there are always new things happening at work.

79. I really like helping people find information.

80. I am a librarian because I love research and learning, and as such I love helping other people find interesting and useful information on a daily basis. That and of course I am a self-professed bibliophile.

81. I like to handle data and help people find data.

82. Because I love what I do and I love going to work every day (and I’m pretty good at it). I find new challenges & opportunities each day, giving me the variety I want from my work environment (never a dull moment).

83. Because it allows me to do three things I love: help people, explore new things, find solutions to problems.

84. Because I recognized that libraries were in a time of exciting change. I wanted to be a part of it – especially the technological change.

85. i thought i would be an academic and then realized i would be miserable. i slouched around in lame jobs for a couple of years and then decided that librarianship would keep me close to academia. I was right!

86. I love helping people and I love knowledge– I have to wonder if I would like this profession as much as I do know if I’d been been 20 in 1950, before we had such instant access to information. I am really not a fan of those old green books.

87. Because I don’t always deal with huge amounts of stress very well, and the audition to audition life of a musical theatre performer would have obviously not been a good fit. So – I needed to get a degree in something that would actually get me a steady income at my day job (vocal performance degrees aren’t really good for anything) Music librarianship sounded interesting, and librarianship in general was surprisingly appealing to my personality.

88. I like finding things and helping people.

89. I like libraries. I have OCD, so I like things to be in order. I like helping people. It seems like a stress-free job, and pays fairly well. It is something I can do as a second career, and I can probably choose my location.

90. I love books and I wanted to help people.

91. Because it paid 3 times what I was making before I went to library school.

92. I worked for ten years in the admissions office of a psychiatric hospital. I decided I wanted to work someplace that people WANTED to be.

93. Because those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Because I do love a cracking good story and like to make sure others like me can find them. Because I like helping people without needing to know their history or their business.

94. Because I think making information available to all, no matter who you are, what you look like, how much money you make (if any), is important and a good thing to do.

95. Essentially I am a librarian because I have a strong love of books. But that’s not all. I am a librarian because I like finding things and helping people find things. That’s my favorite part of the job. The books are an added bonus. I love finding difficult information for patrons and helping them figure out where to find information.

96. I like helping people.

97. I have nearly insatiable curiosity about almost all things. This really lends itself to reference work and reader’s advisory.

98. Helping myself and others make a clearer sense of information in the world.

99. After all this time…mainly inertia.

100. h.

TTW Contributor: Lee LeBlanc

Do you face Resistance?

resistance

Have you ever walked into a door you thought was open? I can’t tell you how many screen doors I’ve walked through living in Florida. Ever wonder what the heck you are running into where you work? Ever thought about what Resistance is? Ever felt like there was a force preventing you from moving in a direction you want to go? Do libraries have a special kind of Resistance?

Creativity can be described as the right kind of Resistance: a tensioned state that doesn’t suppress your ability to think or act and on the other end isn’t vapidly easy. Creative tension is a state where you re-mix tools, abilities, skills, and solutions in new ways. Resistance fears this state. It doesn’t want you to know this. Knowing what kind of Resistance you face, naming the nameless, allows you to re-claim energy and re-direct it.

I also feel talking openly about failures will create a culture of (knowledgeable) risk takers. Success and failure are far more intimate friends than they let on. Sure: out on the playground they look like enemies. Always one Winner and one Loser right? Yet for how long do successes last? How fast have you recovered from some failure? Some say contentment is the highest goal. That’s awfully philosophical for a Monday -but I am a closet existentialist.

Check the book out: http://tinyurl.com/2n7fe

TTW Contributor- Lee LeBlanc

Ten Common Objections to Social Media

Via Stephen’s Lighthouse:

 http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ten_common_objections_to_socia.php

Emphasis mine:

 A List of Objections, Replies and Concessions Regarding Social Media and Tools


1. I suffer from information overload already.

Possible replies:

Try just skimming messages in some fora – you may need to look closely at every email you get but you don’t have to look at every Facebook friend’s update.

The right tools for you will feel helpful in time, not like a burden. Experiment for awhile with new tools and stick with the ones that deliver you the most high-quality information, whether those tools are high-quantity or not. (Thanks to Aaron Hockley and Ruby Sinreich for these thoughts.)

Check out tools like AideRSS and FeedHub – just two examples of services aiming to improve the signal to noise ratio.

Times change and so do information paradigms. Get used to it. The amount of information you had access to 3 years ago was infinitely more than people at any other point in history and we’re in the middle of another huge leap right now.

Concession: If you think consuming all this new information is a challenge, wait until you try to find the time to make sense of it! (Thanks to Nancy White for that thought.)

2. So much of what’s discussed online is meaningless. These forms of communication are shallow and make us dumber. We have real work to do!

Possible replies:

Much of it is not meaningless, but if you feel overwhelmed with meaninglessness – try subscribing to a search for keywords in a particular service and using that as your starting point for engagement.

Having a presence and starting a conversation is rarely a bad thing
- bring quality conversation to a space and you’ll find others ready to engage. (Thanks to Banana Lee Fishbones, obviously a fan of open, non-anonymous public communication :) for this articulation.)

Personal information can be very useful in understanding the context of more explicitly useful information.

If learning how the market feels about your organization, engaging with your customers and driving traffic to your web work – all very realistic goals for social media engagement – aren’t work, then I don’t know what is. Even in the short term, strategic engagement with online social media will have a clear work pay-off.

Concession: The signal to noise ratio will be easier to maximize if you can find an experienced guide to learn from. Just jumping into social media and new tools on your own will not neccesarily lead to a meaningful experience. It could, but it will take longer.

Dont miss the whole post. Many of us, as Stephen notes, can add it to our arsenal of evidence and discourse as we go forward with planning.

SirsiDynix UpStream: Libraries Building Communities

Bio
“There are countless examples/case studies of libraries being the center of the communities in which they serve. What is the best example of “libraries building communities” that you have come across or experienced? What do you see happening in the future in empowering libraries to play even a greater role in their communities?”

Cover For fifteen years, I’ve worked in a public library, mostly in positions relating to the Web or technology training. It’s with that background and paradigm I address this question. I love the examples of libraries building community via physical space and through interactions between users and librarians, but for my example, I’d like to point to the communities being built online.

For the last few months, I’ve been touring various parts of the US with Jenny Levine, presenting what we call our “Social Software Roadshow.” The Roadshow highlights how libraries can create online conversations, collaborative spaces, and, yes, community with inexpensive tools. We no longer need static, one-way Web sites for libraries, when the Read/Write Web enables us to interact with each other and our users. We point to concrete examples of libraries that have found new ways to improve existing services or built new services. Large systems to small libraries are included as are public, academic, special libraries and school libraries.

Question

This is not cool for the sake of cool, or a push for techno-worship or a plea for librarians to give in to technoloust. Simply, these online spaces are where our users are living and interacting, and according to the recent Newsweek cover story, sites like MySpace will only grow. Libraries need a presence in these social spaces.

I believe the best example is the innovative online presence created by the librarians and IT staff of the Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan. Through the use of an open source content management system, several Weblog mechanisms that allow easily updated content to display on the front page, and a dedication to interaction with library patrons, AADL has created a thriving community within the cyber walls of their online branch.

On July 5, 2005, AADL launched a new Web site and a new catalog system. Posting to the Director’s Blog, Director Josie Parker said: “The Website launch is providing an additional forum for public communication with the library. This blog is one of several. The intention is to make regular postings here from administration that will encourage discussion about library policies and services.” The blogs include the mechanism for registered users of the library to comment – to enter into a dialogue with the director and other librarians. Key word here: Transparency.

Scanning the AADL site, one finds both posts with a few comments and those with many. In the Teen area and gaming blogs, it is not unusual to see a thriving discussion with 200+ or 300+ comments. In sessions on Weblogs in libraries, Jenny and I have asked the audience: “How many of you can say you have a thriving teen presence inside your library Web site?”

How many libraries have actively engaged their users in this way? Many libraries have blogs, but the movement to turn on comments creates a whole different environment, that can scare some librarians or overwhelm others. Enabling comments, however, is one of the ways to utilize Web 2.0 technologies to create community. IM, wikis, and RSS feeds offer other opportunities to create community as well. This to me is the promise of Web 2.0 for libraries: creating new means to communicate, interact, collaborate and create inside library Web space as well as out in the community online spaces.

Libraries can play a greater role in their communities by building sites such as AADL’s, reaching out to users via instant messaging, feeding out content such as library holdings and library news to other community-based Web sites, and offering mechanisms for users to create or mash up library content. Before there will be success, however, there must be a commitment by the librarians to sustain successful services and participate in the ongoing conversation. A library’s Web presence can never be an afterthought or something that just one or two Web librarians contribute to. There should be a collective voice made up of the individual voices of the library staff. This involves a shift in thinking: can we let go of our most useful online services and information to actively be driven by our users through their comments, questions and input?

A trip through the technology blogs of the Biblioblogosphere and sites such as the LibSuccess wiki yield numerous case studies, advice and grassroots best practices for all of these technologies. We can explore how, for example, Butler University Library built a wiki of annotated reference resources for their librarians, faculty, and students, or the innovations by school media specialist Margaret Lincoln and the collaborative Weblog she set up to allow students at two different high schools the opportunity to discuss Elie Wiesel’s Night.

Links

Browsing libraries’ and librarians’presence at the image hosting social site flickr yields a surprisingly thriving community of practitioners. We will find images of library programs, materials, buildings and the faces of this new breed of librarianship in 2006. Visit the grass roots READ posters initiative at flickr to see a mash up of librarians, library users and an effective use of 2.0 technologies.

We can examine Casey Bisson’s application of library catalog as Weblog, complete with user keyword tagging, comments enabled, and static URLs for every record. We can subscribe to RSS feeds of subject guides at Kansas City Public Library, or create our own RSS-enabled catalog search at Hennepin County Public Library that notifies us when our favorite authors or subjects are added to the library.

All of these examples point to the future of online community building in libraries: librarians will be able to enhance current systems or create new ones with Web 2.0 technologies to customize and build experiential environments. Library users will be able to meet within these systems and interact. They will have conversations. They will be human, as will the librarians – as they put a human face and give a human voice to the library via social software.

Links:

Ann Arbor District Library: http://www.aadl.org

Butler Reference Wiki: http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/butler_wikiref/

Flickr READ Posters: http://www.flickr.com/groups/readposters/pool/

Hennepin County Public Library: http://www.hclib.org/

Kansas City Public Library: http://www.kclibrary.org/guides/

LibSuccess Wiki: http://www.libsuccess.org

Newsweek: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek/

Night Blog: http://nightwiesel.blogspot.com/

Word Press OPAC: http://www.plymouth.edu/library/opac/


This is a reprint from my article in the Spring 2006 SirsiDynix UpStream. I think it’s still holds up pretty well. Thanks to the folks there for letting me add it to my online portfolio. Please follow the link to read more from librarians discussing libraries and community, including Steven Cohen, Sarah Long and Jessamyn West:

http://sirsidynixinstitute.com/Upstream/

Look for a new issue soon!