Sunday, September 30, 2012

Libraries and Facebook

I have been using Facebook personally for a few years but being part of the INF206-506 group was a different experience for me. I didn't realize that groups were able to have features like files and that I could interact with a group of people who weren't my 'friends'.
As part of my investigation into Facebook I experimented with setting up my own community page as this is what libraries would do to have a presence on Facebook. Customizing the page is pretty similar to a personal page but I found installing applications tricky. Libraries use applications (apps) to allow users to access library information without leaving Facebook (Harris & Lessick, 2007, p. 30). When looking at the literature for good applications for libraries to use, I found that most of these application were no longer available. Facebook is an changing platform in its ambition to improve its user's experience and so do apps that often of third-party origin. However it makes it difficult for libraries who look to literature for advice on starting a Facebook page.
When I started this course I began following some public libraries on Facebook, as this is my area of interest. I am pleased to note how active some of the libraries I follow are, in posting to their wall daily, even on weekends. As Aharony noted, I have found that public libraries use Facebook as as a way to deliver information to users and as a marketing tool rather than as a means of interactive dialoging with users (Arhony, 2012 p. 366) This is disappointing as one of the strengths of social networking technologies as they tools that facilitate collaboration and social connections. Some libraries are more active in encouraging users to participate. Some examples include: 
  • Asking questions, mostly along a literary theme such as “What adventure story (fictional or true) do you most wish you’d been part of?” (Geelong Regional Libraries)
  • Posting interesting photos that evoke responses such as book based foods. (MooneValley Libraries)
  • Live book chats (Columbus Metropolitan Library)
Since the library I work at is not presently using any social networking technologies. I would suggest to begin with a Facebook page. It is relatively easy to set up, it offers a way of promoting the library as well as creating new relationships and interactions with patrons. Also, once the library increases its social media presence to other technologies, those technologies can be promoted and accessed though apps on Facebook.

Aharony, N. (2012) Facebook use in libraries: an exploratory analysis . Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives , 64(4), 358-372 .
Harris, A. & Lessick, S. (2007). Libraries Get Personal: Facebook Applications, Google Gadgets, and MySpace Profiles Library Hi Tech News, 24(8), 30-32, DOI: 10.1108/07419050710836018

Saturday, September 29, 2012

First Experiences in Second Life

Me on a camel in the desert of Giza

I am not much of a gamer. I really don't see the point of them. I don't do well at games, I think it is my inability to automatically determine my left from my right and I lack mouse co-ordination. So I approached my first experiences with Second Life with trepidation.
My first experience in second life had be bumping into objects with my hands out like a zombie wearing a steam punk outfit. I tried to chat to some people around me but they had as much idea as to what to do as I did. I had considerable lag on my actions, so I always seemed to move much further than I wanted to and found the experience disappointing and frustrating..
I have always wanted to visit Egypt, so for my second visit I searched for Egyptian themed places. Amongst the places I visit was a Giza pyramid where I learned to sit on a camel and took some photos.
My third experience in second life was a introduction with Cas Geordie. This turned out to be frustrating as I had trouble with sound. In the end people could hear me, but I couldn't hear them. I was able to get some chat summaries from one of the other students about what was happening but felt left out.
My best experience was on a virtual tour with another student who taught me how to interact more with objects and where, among other places, we visited Info Island and took a cushion tour.
Some of the functions I have learned on SL include sitting, running, walking, flying, changing camera angles, changing my outfit in a dressing room, dancing, interacting with objects.
I will continue to experiment with Second Life and try to look for experiences in using a library in this virtual world.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Evaluation of ASU Libaries and the 4Cs

Library 2.0 is not just about libraries using Web 2.0 technologies by about libraries embracing the underlying principles of Web 2.0 which are known as the 4c's Collaboration, Conversation, Community and Content creation (Hay, Wallis, O'Connell & Crease, 2012) Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries is a library that is incorporating Web 2.0 tools as part of its ASU Library Channel. These include a YouTube collection of The library minute videos, a blog with RSS, and Twitter. However are these tools sufficient to achieve the 4Cs.

That ASU uses these technologies passively gives users a opportunity to collaborate with the library, however I don't see much evidence of the library actively inviting collaboration.

Using these technologies has allowed ASU to have conversations with patrons especially through Twitter. Twitter is the place where students ask questions, alert the library to issues, and give feedback. Some conversations are also happening in comments from the YouTube videos. The library blog contains great information about events, collections and services however the library has “comments off” on all its posts which is a barrier to dialoging with patrons.

The library has created its own community inside of ASU in using there Web 2.0 technologies. The YouTube videos are fun and laid back while still imparting important information and give a sense that the library is a welcoming place to be. The library also has almost 2,000 followers as part of their Twitter community.

Content creation
These Web 2.0 technologies have allowed the library to create content in different media that promote the library. Users also have the opportunity to create content in the ratings and comments they give the YouTube videos, and in the feedback via Twitter.

Library 2.0 gives patrons an opportunity to participate in library services and seeks to harness patron knowledge to provide better services (Casey & Savastinuk, 2006, para.10-11). I think that ASU have some great tools to do this but need to be more active in initiating conversations and in inviting collaboration in content creation. In this way they will strengthen their community have user centred services and really embrace Library 2.0.

Casey, M.E. & Savastinuk, L.C. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library. Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from

Hay, L., Wallis J., O'Connell, J. & Crease, R. (2012). What is Library 2.0 [INF506 Module 3:Library 2.0 and participatory library services] Retrieved September 14, 2012 from Charles Sturt website:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A-Z of Social Networking for Libraries: Embracing a Library 2.0 Ethos

I have selected 5 letters from the A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries and considered how they could be applied to the library to help it to embrace a Library 2.0 ethos.

The library I work at currently uses no Web 2.0 technology. Although I would love to jump in use them all for the sheer joy of splashing into social networks, unless I have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish then it is meaningless. What I have to do is assess what needs the library has, what patrons have and how Web 2.0 technologies can fill those needs. This will effect the direction I will go with social networking.

I think that a Facebook page is what most libraries start off with when they enter into the social networking environment. It is flexible as if offers lost of ways to create content with text, photos and videos. Because so many people now use Facebook it may be easier to get a following than other social media. Facebook features allow for promotion of the library, especially its events app. Facebook also has lots of opportunities for dialogue with patron though post and comments.

G-Good Reads
Promoting Good Reads on the library website might be a way to start promoting Web 2.0 technologies to our patrons was well as adding a great readers' advisory tool. It would be important to get staff enthusiastic about promoting it too so that .

Staff have mixed feelings about social networking and some staff have had little experience, and see it more as a personal tool rather than professional. There needs to be more exposure to how effective social networking can be for a library, otherwise help will not be forth coming. I'd like to see a team assembled, one at each branch, to direct social networking and to make it a legitimate service.

One of the ways staff could see the professional usefulness of Web 2.0 is to see how it can be used effectively in reference services. Patrons could ask questions via facebook or the library could have an app containing FAQs. Twitter also lends itself to ready reference questions. If staff could see how easily these reference supports could be implemented it would help them to embrace Web 2.0.

5 Reasons why libraries should be on social media

I have chosen 3 libraries from the literature that have been suggested being early adopters of Web 2.0 technologies and looked at how they are using social media to support their collections, programs, events and services. The table below summarizes my findings.

Based on this table I have come up with 5 reasons why libraries should be on social media.
1. Libraries should be on social media because there is an audience.
Libraries are choosing to use social media technologies such as Facebook Twitter and Pinterst because they are popular so there is an audience that they can potentially interact with. For example Worthington Libraries has a presence on 9 of the most popular social networking sites

2. Libraries should be on social media to promote their collections, services and programs
Social media allows libraries to promote themselves in new ways. Kansas Library uses Pinterest for visual promotion of the collection that is reminiscent of themed book displays. Worthington's photo promotion of events gives users a glimpse into the excitement. Ann Arbor gives more people access to events such as author talks via podcast/vodcast.

3. Libraries should be on social media to improve their services
Social Media makes it easier for patrons to ask information related questions. For Kansas City library has added IM to their reference services which allows patrons to ask library related questions over the internet. Ann Arbor regularly answers ready reference questions via Twitter.

4. Libraries should be on social media to provide information
People are going online for their information rather than visit their libraries. By being in social spaces libraries can share their information online. Worthington Libraries use Facebook and Pinterest to link to their finding aid and Kansas City Libraries use Facebook video and YouTube to instruct patrons on finding information at the library.

5. Libraries should be on social media to engage with patrons
This engagement can be active or passive on the part of the library. Each of the social media used by the library have features that allow for dialogue, usually though comments of posts. At anytime users can choose to enter into a dialogue by commenting on library content. Worthington Libraries is actively engaging users on Facebook where during July Worthington libraries asked users for feedback and input into their strategic plan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinterest for Libraries

In an earlier post   I wrote that I had just realized that Pinterest was not just a place to pin pretty pictures but was a social book-marking site similar to Delicious  but instead of text each bookmark was represented by an image. This changed using Pinterest for me as it meant I could bookmark instructions for making crafts and not just images to inspire me. In creating pins I now think of them as resources and not images.  Check out my Pinterest profile.  I have learned how to manipulate the placement of my boards and to set board covers so that they display the most visually appealing or relevant images. I have done lots of repinning and get excited when other repin or follow my boards.  
I have interacted more in Pinterest by repinning, liking and commenting on images and I have created a collaborative board. The board is called Social Media in Libraries which now has 8 collaborators including people from my course and library colleagues. I have also joined and collaborated on other boards such as The Librarian's List: All Time Favourite Books and What Are You Reading? 
As I am interested in how libraries are using Pinterest I have began following libraries. Most libraries are using Pinterest for promotion  Somers library  promotes books in many categories such as teen reads, bullying resources, staff picks, action and adventure. However the library has used Google to source the images and all the bookmarks or pins link back to Google. This is a missed opportunity for the library to direct traffic back to the library catalogue. The library could select a book cover image from Google and customize the URL to link to the item on the catalogue. Fullerton Libraries has linked all its book recommendations to the library catalogue.  
Libraries are also promoting events and services on Pinterest with images of flyers and photo of events and the best libraries are directing user back to the library websites
One of the essentials of social networking is participation. Followers of library boards can like, repin or comment on a library pin. Some libraries are more active in encouraging participation by inviting patrons to collaborate on boards. New York Public library invites patrons to pin images with the hashtag #NYPLLittlelions images of cats that represent the library logo of a lion. NYPL then searches on Pinterest for this hashtag and pins the image to their Little Lions board. Fullerton Library has 68 collaborators on its Patron Favourites board 
The one issue I have encountered in the literature about Pinterest is that of copyright and intellectual property on images that are pinned (Ferguson, 2012, p.84). Anecdotally, many companies are happy to have their contents pinned as it increases traffic to their website, however if in doubt libraries should not pin images that they don't have the copyright of or permission form the artist (Hayden, 2012, p.169).

Summary for using Pinterest in Libraries
  • Use Pinterest for both promotion and to engage users
  • Link image such as book recommendations and new acquisitions back to the library catalogue
  • Pin Regularly to keep users engaged and giving them content to like, repin or comment on
  • Look for ways to collaborate on boards with patrons
  • Be aware of copyright issues.

Ferguson, Cris (2012). Technology Left Behind — Pinning in the Library. Against the Grain, 24(3), 83-85. Retrieved from
Hayden, Beth (2012) Pinfluence : The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.