Web 2.0 technology allows us to further make sense of our information. The technology takes the static page of a website and turns it into something more dynamic. In a sense, it is like going from 2D to 3D. Web 2.0 technology also allows users to engage with and interact with one another, which has been one of the most powerful advances in the web. We now have sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr, but how can these be utilized by librarians to engage with patrons and increase the reach of library interest. In their article What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? A library professional viewpoint Isto Huvila et al. incorporate various ways of rethinking the library, and the role of librarians in particular, to incorporate more of the uses of Web 2.0 technologies and platforms. One thing we should take away from their article is “the ability to adjust to rapid change is a key skill for library professionals in the Web 2.0 world.”
In the library where I work at, for instance, we incorporate a couple different Web 2.0 technologies, and employ the tools of social media to engage with our patrons. Off of our website, we have links to a blog that we use chiefly to communicate events, displays, and material within the library; while on our social media sites we incorporate all of the material we blog about and material deemed to be engaging to our users. We are slowly building up an audience by engaging in social media, but the important question to bear in mind is is the time spent doing social media by librarians worth the money? Collins and Quan-Haase mention the “dichotomy between the perceived benefits of social media in libraries and the actual impressions,views, and desires of patrons.” This dichotomy could be because “ students were uncomfortable using social media sites for academic purposes.” As Benjamin Franklin axiomatized in his Advice to a Young Tradesman, “time is money” and we can extract that doing social media cost the library time and resources. If students and patrons are not engaging with the content, then at what point does the library cut it’s loss? At this stage, I think it is still too early to tell, but the first thing to do is to get people to know of our presence on various social media platforms.
When using social media, material in one location can be disseminated into various other social media sources, such as articles from the library blog can be posted onto the libraries Facebook or Twitter page; the same can be said about videos posted to sites such as Youtube. The real strength comes in linking the sites to the original, and using them for the dissemination of information. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter require constant updating to keep users engaged, while sites such as blogs and Youtube are viewed as repositories for information and can be searched as such. Collins et al tell us that “a video post has a wider reach than any other static, textual based content, such as tweets or Facebook posts.” I believe this is because people can further find what they are looking for later, whereas searching through facebook and twitter for old posts can be cumbersome.
I have recently started using Facebook to showcase a browsable microcosm of our libraries collection. The goal here is to showcase some of our more frequently used, new, and unique items. What I have done with each picture is provided the title and the link to each catalog record where users can go to find more information. I wanted to keep this as stripped down as possible do to the nature of this platform; too much information will get people disinterested rather quickly. Each image also includes the call number where patrons can find the item in our collection.
The important piece to take away from this blog post is to incorporate various methods to reach your library’s users, and to be engaged with them. Web 2.0 technologies can help libraries with this, but it is important to know how to use them and to how to use them effectively and holding onto the “traditional core values and competences of librarianship.”
* Gary Collins & Anabel Quan-Haase (2014) Are Social Media Ubiquitous in Academic Libraries? A Longitudinal Study of Adoption and Usage Patterns, Journal of Web Librarianship, 8:1, 48-68, DOI: 10.1080/19322909.2014.873663
* Huvila, I., Holmberg, K., Kronqvist-Berg, M., Nivakoski, O., & Widen, G. (2013). What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? A library professional viewpoint. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 45(3), 198-205.
* Kaushik, A. & Arora, J. (2012). Blogs on marketing library services. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 32(2), 186-192.
* “Advice to a Young Tradesman, [21 July 1748],” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-03-02-0130 [last update: 2014-10-23]). Source: The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 3, January 1, 1745, through June 30, 1750, ed. Leonard W. Labaree. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961, pp. 304–308.
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