ASSOCIATES (2010, March, v. 16, no. 3)

Feature

Does your library use web 2.0 applications, such as blogs, wikis and/or social networking sites, such as, Facebook or Flickr? If so, how are they used by your library service and how effective are they? Or if your library has made a decision not to use them, why?


We DO NOT use web 2.0 tools. Mainly due to lack of time to implement these tools. I think it may be because we are a country hospital too so many staff are still fairly behind technically speaking. Our library staff have used blogs (personal use), wikis to coordinate with others with various projects they are working on (both in and out of work) but web 2.0 and use by patrons is still a no go zone. We struggle to maintain other things such as finishing (let alone) maintaing our website etc. Though these 2.0 technologies are all wiz bang etc. we feel that something like a facebook page would be no help to the library but more of a hinderance in having another thing to keep up to date! Who knows where we will be in 10 years though…..

Gemma Siemensma
Ballarat, Victoria
gemmasiemensma@gmail.com


Blogs, wikis, Facebook, etc. are blocked on our computers- so, no, we do not use them.

Sue Stringfellow
sstringfellow@goshenschools.org


Our IT department does not allow access to any social networking sites
except LinkedIn.

The exception to that rule is if a user needs to access Facebook or My Space to track down a witness or plaintiff, we are allowed an hour’s access.

The reason behind the decision is IT considers most social networking sites as doorways to viruses and spyware.

Karol Bell
kbell907@cougarmail.cccc.edu


Our library network has set up a wiki for our library staff. We were in the process of implementing a new integrated library management system. The wiki was set up to be a database of procedures and questions and answers. It is hosted externally on the site My PBworks [http://pbworks.com/].

The items in the wiki consist of text and screen captures and can be quite long articles. Initially we used it a lot but as we become more familiar with our integrated library management system it is being used less. I don’t know if we will use the wiki for any other topic. We drew on information in the wiki to write up procedures that are now filed in our Department-wide document management system.

We had hoped to use Web 2.0 applications with our clients but staffing, time constraints and a new integrated library management system have stopped us before we started.

Eleanor Fairbairn-Wilson
Primary Industry, NSW
eleanor.fairbairn-wilson@industry.nsw.gov.au


My current library says security is too much of an issue so they can’t use anything based on the net. At this stage they don’t seem to be able to talk the IT people into letting them install anything on our own servers.

In my last job, Uni of Sydney, they are using it more and more. There are several in house blogs including the staff development blog where people are expected to write something if they attend a SD activity. There are special interest groups such as the ref librarians, and there’s at least one blog meant for everyday news.

They are using wiki-with widgets for their subject information aimed at the students. (called libguides) eg http://libguides.library.usyd.edu.au/physiotherapy . They also use pod and vodcasts.

There are groups from the university to follow on Twitter and Facebook, but I don’t think any from the library itself.

More and more of the staff are getting involved. Staff from all levels are using the SD blog, they sometimes update info on other blogs. One library at the uni gets the library technicians and assistants to update the info on the libguides.

Julana
2juls@tpg.com.au


The Reading Public Library, Reading, MA does use blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and the library has a Facebook account. The library Director has a “director’s blog” on our web page, and we offer “chat online” and the RSS feeds offer patrons email updates on topics of their choice, for example reading groups, new DVD purchases, children’s programming, etc. Our Reference Desk is noticing that they are gradually receiving more requests and “hits” on the website and it allows patrons to manage the amount and source of the information they receive. The librarian who manages our website made a presentation of the new features to our Board of Library Trustees. She pointed out that librarians continue to use all sources to publicize and communicate library events, such as news papers, flyers, and local cable TV station, and now in addition they post news on the blog and via email and on the Facebook account.

Allison Sloan daSilva
Reading Public Library, MA
dasilva@noblenet.org


Our institution has blocked a few particular sites. MySpace & Facebook are both blocked but not LinkedIn. YouTube, Google video, and personal ad sites (i.e match.com) are also blocked but not Twitter. The discerning factors are questionable, but the only message we receive is streaming video and social networks occupy too much bandwidth.

Andrew Crow
Andrew.Crow@allina.com


The Plattekill Library has a MySpace, Facebook, and we just started a Twitter Account. We also have a Youtube channel.

We started a MySpace account in 2007, and it was quite popular at the time. We used it as our Teen Blog, and we came in contact with quite a few other libraries and authors. In fact, we worked with an author in planning a Skype conference, which was really successful. In the last year or so, we haven’t used it as much, as the older teens seem to gravitate towards Facebook, but we still have enough followers of the blog that make it useful to keep updating.

The Facebook has been a tremendous success. We have a fan page that I send out events to the fans, and have made connections with other libraries and librarians in the system that do not have Myspace. Even patrons have become fans, which has made it easy to send out reminders of holiday hours, events that are coming up, etc. Even our Teen Advisory Group has a fan page of their own. I have even used it to contact staff when we close for weather, as they have said it is easier to check that then to contact them on their cell phones.

Twitter I just signed on to last week. In the few days since I have created it, we already have 19 followers, and growing. It’s been really exciting to see it take off so quickly, as I just started it as an experiment and didn’t really expect anything to come of it.

The youtube channel was started as a result of a grant that we got to purchase 8 flip mino video cameras. We have used it to create movies during our Summer Reading Program, and I believe that we may use it again during Teen Tech Week in March.

Angie Antzak
Plattekill Public Library, NY
plattekillstaff@gmail.com


Such “web 2.0” sites are generally blocked by our firewall (Websense) at work (we’re a library in a hospital). So I can’t use them even if I want to.

Mike Scully
mscully@seanet.com


Yes, we do have a blog, facebook, and twitter. They were set up and are managed by our tech librarian. They are connected so that updating one updates the others. I don’t work with them very much, but I do add to the blog now and then. As far as how effective they are, I don’t know. Although we do have 33 fans on facebook, I have not had anyone say “I saw the library’s blog/facebook/twitter.”

Our tech Librarian Beth says:

We have a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Right now, we use them as a way to communicate and interact with students. I’d like to do more with them in the future, when I have time! I don’t have any measure of how effective they are.

Andrea McElhenny
NVCC – Medical Campus, VA.
amcelhenny@nvcc.edu


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