OLJ Module 4

I like Andy Burkhardt’s 4 reasons to use social media in libraries.  Libraries need to communicate with their patrons – not all the time, in your face, communication but the kind that informs and gently reminds.  The most important reasons, I believe are to gain and respond to feedback.  If libraries can use social media to find out what their users need and want and then provide that service then Library 2.0 is a useful phenomenon. In Meredith Farkas’ post the essence of Library 2.0? she wonders about the difference between Library 1.0 and Library 2.0.  I think really the difference is in the direction of information flow.  Library 1.0 sees information being disseminated to library patrons perhaps via a website or blog.  Library 2.0 allows for a 2 way flow of information, seeking feedback from patrons as to their needs and their perceptions of the success or otherwise of the libraries information initiatives.

In the small school library at the school where I work as a casual teacher there is really only a one way conversation going on.  There is a link to the library catalogue in the school’s intranet so that students can access it from the classroom. There is also a link to a library blog set up for students to discuss and review the books they have been reading.  It is monitored by the librarian but provides no avenue for students to give feedback about the library, only the books.  The current teacher librarian is not trained but has gradually been trying to introduce new ideas.  A new, trained librarian starts this year and it will be interesting to see what new initiatives she introduces.  It would be great to see a new school website created that allows for greater interactivity.  At the moment the library is really only servicing student needs.  I think the library needs to recognize teachers and parents as users as well and create a website, either through a blog, wiki or perhaps an in house social network, that allows for more feedback from patrons as to what are the needs of all of the library’s users.  I’m not sure that a Facebook or twitter account would be necessarily utilized and I agree with Farkas’ idea that we shouldn’t be using social media tools just because they are cool but because they are useful!

Marta Kagan’s presentation, what is social media? , illustrates how integral social media has become in our daily lives. I still feel, particularly for school libraries, that it is important to understand the needs of the patrons before diving in and introducing all sorts of new 2.0 tools. So I guess the need for a social media strategy is as important as a social media policy.  I don’t think, however, that it should deter school libraries from having a go, experimenting a little with what works and what doesn’t. Otherwise it may take so much time before new initiatives are implemented that 2.0 tools could well be defunct by the time they are agreed upon!

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