How to make my library embrace a Web 2.0 ethos?
The library I am familiar with is yet to embrace technology in a serious way. It has a relatively large and unthreatened budget, which seems to be primarily used to purchase fiction. It does not embrace Web 2.0 at all, aside from having a bank of computers, which have Internet access. So when I consider the A-Z of Social Networking for Libraries, I feel that almost ALL of the letters apply to this library! However as the library would need to crawl before it could walk, there are some letters, which may suit the library better than others.Immediately I believe that T for text messaging could be used. As the TL is not up on social networking technologies, text messaging is one of the simpler and more widely accepted and used technologies. Text messaging is also something the wider school community and student body is used to. Being a high school many students have mobile phones and are adept at texting. The school already uses text messages to inform parents of student absences and lateness. The library could use texts for reminders of overdue loans, changes to opening hours, even new purchases.There is no library website so this would be another starting point. Using a tool such as Joomla to aid the editing and maintenance process would be useful to a ‘technology newbie’.In addition to a website, a library Facebook page would also be a starting point. Once again the students of the school are familiar with this type of social networking. The page could be used to begin a conversation about the needs of the students in relation to what the library provides. It could also be used to promote the library resources and events (book week, Premier’s reading challenge).E-books and Good Reads can also be implemented more easily than some other A-Z ideas. They are also a more natural extension of what a traditional library and TL may have already been doing.
The ASU’s library channel shows interesting and innovative – at least to me- uses of social networking media to enhance and improve it’s role and function within the University life.
But is the ASU successful at utilising Web2.0 technologies as well as the underlying concepts of the 4C’s (collaboration, conversation, community and content creation)?
Let’s begin with the 1-minute videos, which are posted on the library channel. These are short, informative, interesting, humorous and fun. They update the image of the library whilst informing students and the public on various topics. Do they incorporate the 4C’s? Collaboration is only occurring on the level behind the scenes between the presenter, camera person and presumably the librarian. Collaboration with the audience is not occurring though. Similarly, a conversation is not happening and there is no interactivity between the presenter and the audience. However a conversation may occur after viewing a video between viewers and also between the viewer and library/librarian as they utilise the information presented. The community is addressed by effectively getting the audience in to and using the library. A community is not created though of people watching videos. This is true also of content creation. The content is one way from the library to the audience.
Let’s look at the library’s Facebook page. It appears to incorporate all the 4C’s. A conversation is created and ongoing with the freedom to go in the direction of any of the viewers as well as the library. Whilst a lot of the content may initially be uploaded by the library, this can be added to and other content uploaded by the Facebook users. The library is able to also build on its community within the Facebook platform. Finally there is capacity for collaboration to occur easily in this platform as well.
Another of the library’s Web 2.0 tools is the Twitter account. It appears to also incorporate the 4C’s in a way very similar to Facebook. The major difference is Twitter is limited in its length of posts. The home page for the Twitter account is also more limited than that of Facebook. For the purpose of the library I believe both Twitter and Facebook allow it to achieve the 4C’s. Twitter is perhaps more immediate in its reach.