Web 2.0 (not the biggest fan of that term anyway) and Washington libraries

I came across two interesting documents at the Washington Library Council website yesterday. Part of the council’s mission is to support innovation in libraries, and to that end, they award grants for special projects.

Two of the project proposal’s for last year focussed on training and resources for web 2.0 (I prefer social media, so I’ll just stick to that term). Although the nativity of social media happened a long time ago and the term Library 2.0 came about as early as 2005, these are actually the first proposals for encouraging social media use by librarians that I could find at the council.

Its also interesting to note that the Timberland trustees considered social media as late as last year, but decided not to move in that direction:

The Board reviewed the first 10 pages of responses for this meeting.  Jodi Reng explained that several of the comments concerned staff wanting to use the computer technology we have such as having blogs, wikis, etc.  She explained that we have now done that with the Director’s Blog where she posts her Monday morning memos and the Budget Discussion blog that staff is using to suggest possible cost reductions and ways to increase revenue.  After discussion, the Board stated that we need to emphasize that running the libraries is the primary task of our employees and we need to be careful not to use too
much staff time with technology for its own sake.

That said, there are some nodes in the Timberland Library family (some official, some not) that would qualify as social media. TRL is officially on flickr with comments enabled (share your thoughts over there today!). And, on the main system website, there are some RSS feeds, but you do kind of have to dig for them.

The Friends of the Oakville Library are on facebook, as well as is the campaign to build a new Oakville Library. And, the Friends of the Shelton Library are on Myspace. And, the Friends of the Olympia Library is built on a blog type CMS and they accept comments.

I’m sure I missed something, so please, fill me in if you can.

I’m probably going to end up talking a lot about social media since this is one of the reasons I decided to apply to the board of trustees, so I won’t bore you here. But, I think this is important.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Web 2.0 (not the biggest fan of that term anyway) and Washington libraries

  1. And we have a facebook group! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65629195148&ref=ts

    Something about that paragraph from the trustees cracks me up, but I haven’t yet figured out what it is in particular.

  2. Andrew Poultridge

    “the Board stated that we need to emphasize that running the libraries is the primary task of our employees and we need to be careful not to use too
    much staff time with technology for its own sake.”

    I don’t think staff should spend any time with technology for its own sake but they should use technology to deliver services and connect with people.

    As part of my MLIS studies I worked on the Your Money project,

    http://www.trlib.org/finra.htm

    there’s a bit of You Tube and even a podcast here as well as your run of the mill pdf files.

    I’d love to bend your ear about this, if you’re willing.

  3. That’s what the podcast was about. During the meeting in McCleary there was a reference to a podcast that I didn’t catch the details on, so that must have been what they were talking about.

    And, yes, certainly, bend my ear all you want. I’m listening. Let me know what will work for you.

  4. Not every Agency needs social media. Unless your target demographic really communicates in this manner AND you have something important to say, it could all be a waste of time and resources.

    • @mark. Isn’t the target demographic of every public agency “the public?” I don’t by the argument that if the users who are in your face all the time aren’t requesting social media, means it isn’t important. For public agencies that provide a direct public service, it could mean that if you aren’t providing social media, the users that find it important are just by-passing you.

    • Brian

      To add to what informedcommunity said, from what I’ve read and observed, there’s a substantial demographic overlap between those are most likely to use social media and those who are least likely to take advantage of public library services.

      So while there may not be a lot of demand for social media among current library patrons, there’s also, in terms of promoting library services, substantial potential to attract those who are not presently taking advantage of those services.

    • It’s also a matter of which media to focus on — the book reviews that TRL staff write IN THEIR FREE TIME online have definitely gotten me to read books I wouldn’t have otherwise.

      Similarly with events posted to Olyblog or Facebook. (Not that I’ve gotten to any…I have very high inertia when it comes to getting out & doing stuff, but I’ve ALMOST gone, which is more than before.)

      There’s a natural (and younger, and growing) audience for the library that’s using social media as a way to get information and organize their lives. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that?

      Oh, and I just remembered the OlyBabies group (Ning & FB), which if I understand it correctly grew out of reading time at the library, or at least has a strong overlap. That’s definitely a group that the library could be engaging with!

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