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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Week 3: Blogs and RSS Feeds

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I have been an avid blog reader for many years now, so I was excited by our task this week.  Even though I’ve had my Google Reader set up for a few years, it’s always nice to find out about other blogs I wasn’t aware of.  There were quite a few on the LIS Wiki that I will have to check out.

I was first introduced to Google reader and blog following while I was completing my Library Tech Diploma.  My prof had told me that subscribing to blogs was the best way to keep updated on current trends in Librarianship.  It wasn’t until I started working in the field that I realized the importance of blog reading.  Not only do blogs help librarians stay current, as Greg Schwartz points out, they also promote advocacy of specific issues and more importantly foster a community.

This last point was why I continued to read blogs while I was working.  At the time, I was the only staff member in a small and specialized library.  Unfortunately the organization was undergoing tremendous change at the time, so I couldn’t ask my colleagues for help in trying to establish the library in the institution.  Instead,   I looked to blogs to help me sort out problems, come up with suggestions and most importantly to stay excited about working in libraries.  For librarians working alone, I think blogs are essential.  Blogs like Stephen’s Lighthouse, Swiss Army Librarian, Letters to a Young Librarian and iLibrarian made me excited about the potential projects I could administer in the Library, and generally gave me a sense of community.

I noticed that the readings this week, focused on setting up blogs, and sharing information amongst librarians – but what about engaging library patrons, or non-library users?  There was minimal discussion on how to foster communities with library patrons through blogs.   Darlene Fichter touched on the marketing possibility of blogs, but what if patrons are not subscribing to the blog? How can libraries get the initial ball rolling?

I quickly searched for the London Public Library in Google Reader and saw that there are only 37 subscribers to their feed.  This is a very low number, although it’s possible that patrons have signed up for the feed in other ways.  The posts ranged from discussions on new books, upcoming events and problems the library is facing – all suggestions given by Fichter to keep patrons engaged in the library blog.  But the lack of subscribers did make me question whether public libraries are using blogs effectively, and also, if library blogs are better suited for fostering a librarian community.  Perhaps, library blogs are more ideal for discussions amongst other librarians, rather than trying to engage patrons.  Any thoughts on this?

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Week 2: Web 2.0 and Libraries

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Week 2: Web 2.0 and Libraries

I really enjoyed this week’s introduction to Web 2.0 because I realized why it is that Web 2.0 is so important to libraries.  Web 2.0, according to Meredith Farkas are online programs or websites that allow users to collaborate, share data  and let users learn from each other.  These definitions, could also describe a library.  Libraries are spaces where patrons can find new information, collaborate and/or share with peers.  As these two spaces are very much in line with one another, it should not be difficult to use web 2.0 in libraries.  And as pointed out by Casey and Savastinuk, libraries are trying to integrate web 2.0 into their library services.  The primary purpose of this is to find new library users and connect in different ways.  I would argue that it’s more than just finding new patrons, but by integrating web 2.0 libraries can also demonstrate their importance to the ‘information business’.

It seems that many libraries understand this responsibility.  I was recently listening to a CBC Spark podcast (see link below), which looked at how some libraries in North America and Europe created an online hacker space for patrons to play with, online.  During the discussion, a librarian mentions that creating this hacker space was appropriate because libraries are “not in the book business, but in the learning business, or the expand your mind business”.   I think this is exactly right.   Using social software is about learning through sharing, which is a value that libraries have always held.  By integrating web 2.0, librarians can prove that we are more than lending books.   In fact, librarians can use Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. to share valuable expertise and connect with new users.

CBC Spark Podcast 166: Hacking in Libraries, http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2011/12/spark-166-december-18-21-2011/

Hello, hello

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Hi Everyone!

I’m Caroline and I’m a second semester MLIS student.  Before coming to London, I completed a BA at Acadia University in Political Science and History.  I also have a Library Tech Diploma from Red River College (Winnipeg) and worked in a number of different library environments, including Health Sciences and government research facilities.  In my spare time, I really like to travel, I do a fair bit of yoga and I love to read (surprise!).

I’m taking this course because I feel like Librarians have the potential to contribute, in a unique way, to social media by engaging patrons (and potential patrons) to the latest technology/information available. In this course I’d like to look at different ways of utilizing social media in libraries.

I’m looking forward to this class and getting to know everyone!

Caroline