THEY ARE WEAVING THEIR WAY INTO OUR SOCIAL FABRIC… …And they tend to be more often used by younger people—like the students that we work with.
SNSs ARE STARTING TO BE USED MORE AND MORE IN SCHOOLS Perhaps the two most popular SNSs right now in North America are: Twitter Facebook
Twitter in schools Some teachers are using Twitter as a way to engage students to show their content knowledge and hone their writing skills—all in 140 characters or less! I have seen a colleague using the above method in a secondary school creative writing class.
Facebook in schools There is much discussion around how Facebook might be effectively used in the classroom. Since it is so ubiquitous today—particularly amongst younger people—it makes good sense that teachers might take advantage of it in the classroom. Much of the discussion around using Facebook in schools focuses on using it to engage students more in school in general—the idea being that engagement tends to lead to better educational results. See Kevin Lim’s “Facebook Strategies for the Classroom” presenation See Reynol Junco and Greg Heiberger’spresentation “You Can Use Facebook for That?: Research-Supported Strategies to Engage Your Students.”
SO, THAT’S EDUCATIONAL, BUT… As Teacher-Librarians, we are just that: one part teacher, and one part librarian. We certainly can see how SNSs might be applied in the classroom—we probably hear teachers at school discussing it, we read articles about it, and we might even see TV news reports on it. But the big question right now for us is…
THE BIG QUESTION HOW CAN SNSs BE USED TO POSITIVELY AFFECT SCHOOL LIBRARIES?
THE BIG QUESTION cont’d The big question can start to be answered by breaking down answers into two categories: 1. SNSs FOR LIBRARIANS This focuses on ways in which SNSs are helping librarians connect up with and share information with other librarians—basically a way to achieve uber-charged, always-occurring Professional Development online. 2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES This focuses on ways in which SNSs are being used to directly connect up with, interact with, and enter the lives of its patrons through a medium that the patrons are already using—Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Ning, blogs, etc.
The following two slides include information regarding “1. SNSs FOR LIBRARIANS”
1. SNSs FOR LIBRARIANS There is an abundance of great online resources that provide excellent conversations and professional development around ways to use SNSs effectively in your library. A few days of poking around on these sites will give you a big boost in your SNSs knowledge; however, if you want to continue reading, there is perhaps an endless amount of information on countless numbers of sites—with more being created each day!
Some examples of librarians both using SNS tools as well as talking about how to integrate SNS tools into your library*:
A wiki that serves as a listing for librarians who are on Twitter: http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com/Librarians A group dedicated to discussing ways to use Twitter as a library tool: http://library20.ning.com/group/twitterasatool A number of examples of Facebook librarian groups: School Library Digital Libraries Social Networking for Libraries AnnaLaura Brown’s website, Social Networking in Libraries, a very useful guide to learning about and implementing SNSs in your library. *See the list of useful sites at the end of this presentation—you likely want to bookmark them all and take at least a quick look at each one.
The following twelve slides include information regarding “2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES”
It is one thing to learn about integrating SNS tools into your library repertoire, but it is another thing to actually take the step to actively integrate those tools.
This “second category,” then, explores the reasons for and the steps to successful integration of these tools.
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES Studies suggest that creating an SNS for your library—entering the virtual realm of your student-patrons’ lives via Facebook, for example—might be an effective way to promote the library, but might also be tricky waters to navigate socially. Librarians beware! (or just do your homework and learn the lingo and etiquette before launching into the realm of SNSs). See David Bietila and Elizabeth Edwards’ presentation, “Okay, This Is Just too Weird: Identifying Outreach Possibilities in Facebook”
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d According to libsucces.org’s entry on social networking software: “Social networking software is a new approach in some academic and public libraries today in order to make libraries not only ‘cool’ in the public's eyes, but also as a third space in which potential library users can participate in an collaborative exchange with their libraries. It also may allow users to build relationships with the library staff and other library users.”
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d The idea, then, is to leverage SNSs in whatever way possible to remain (or become…) prominent and relevant in the minds of our patrons.
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d Some argue that SNSs provide an ideal medium for accomplishing the task of advertising your library…
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d …Meg Canada, in her presentation, “Social Networking and Libraries,” asks three related questions: Do you have a communications strategy? A brand strategy? How do you tell your library’s story? Canada suggests that SNSs are ideal for answering these important questions for your library. She gives six “Reasons to Consider” in response to the question, “What do these questions have to do with our core missions as libraries?” The six reasons are…
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d[Canada’s “Six Reasons”] 1. To build awareness and promote the library and programs and services 2. To manage the library’s brand and reputation—which includes the accuracy of information shared about the library 3. To establish thought leadership as the community’s provider of choice for research, reader’s advisory, programs [insert your library's mission here] 4. To customer-source improvements to our website or library service based on customer feedback 5. To provide a venue for customer-contributed content 6. To reach new and inactive patrons or customers
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d If this sounds good to you so far, but still a little bit too abstract—too much in the realm of the “ideal” and not enough in the “real”—then read on…
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d Brian S. Mathews, in his article, “Online Social Networking,” highlights the potential that online SNSs provide to libraries. The prospect of integrating an SNS into the “regular life” of your library might be overwhelming—librarians often ask, “Why exactly am I doing this?” or “Will it really make the library more effective for patrons?” However, Mathews’ list highlights a number of concrete ways in which SNSs might help your library, and if even just one of the items sounds good to you, then you’re not far from becoming an SNS librarian! Read on…
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d[Mathews’ suggestions for SNSs] “Speak their language” SNSs allow librarians to “enter the world of” patrons and present a modern image of the library. “Show them the library” Use photo and/or video galleries to show off your library—and patrons can themselves contribute! “Assessment” By reading blogs attached to your library, you can gain unfiltered access to the needs and frustrations of patrons. “Repackage information” Embed your library’s catalogue search box into your Facebook or MySpace profile page.
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d[Mathews’ suggestions for SNSs] “Event promotions” Promote yourself and create a positive brand image associated with your library. “Outreach” SNSs extend the support of the library beyond its physical walls and encourage a more personal connection between libraries and users. “Educating patrons” SNSs allow librarians to take a proactive role in educating patrons in important areas like online safety and evaluating online information. “Word of mouth” Positive interactions online lead to positive word of mouth comments later amongst peers!
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d If any of Mathews’ suggestions sound like they could have a positive impact on your library and you are ready to get started, he also includes six easy steps to help bridge the gap between you thinking, “I would love to see this happen in my library” and you actually using SNS technology in your library. The six “getting started” steps are…
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d[Mathews’ “getting gtarted” steps] 1. Explore Decide which SNS(s) you want to use, create an account, and get the feel for it! Take a look here for some examples collected on libsuccess.org 2. Set the ground rules Decide who will maintain the library’s presence—will it be one person or a team? 3. Add content Don’t “sell” the library—celebrate it! Be casual, fun, use photos and video.
2. SNSs FOR LIBRARIES cont’d[“Getting Started” steps cont’d] 4. Advertise Publicize your new online presence via traditional mediums or digitally—offer a monthly prize draw for patrons who have joined your SNS group. 5. Update regularly Your page will become irrelevant if you don’t. 6. Have fun Like anything else in life, if it is not enjoyable on some level, you won’t continue doing it. Keep this in mind, and choose an SNS that you find engaging and…fun!
QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION 1 1. Are you currently using any SNSs in your library? If so, explain what you’re using, how you’re using it, and how successful you feel like it’s been. If not, which SNSs do you see yourself most likely to integrate into your library? In what ways?
QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION 2 2. What challenges (not already mentioned in this presentation) in implementing, using, and maintaining SNS tools in your library do you foresee? Further, what might be a solution to the problem(s)?
REFERENCES Bietila, David, and Elizabeth Edwards. "’Okay, this is just too weird’: Identifying outreach opportunities in Facebook." Slideshare. 22 February 2010. <http://www.slideshare.net/brixton/okay-this-is-just-too-weird-identifying-outreach-opportunities-in- facebook>. Bill, Drew. "Twitter as a Tool." 22 February 2010. <http://library20.ning.com/group/twitterasatool>. Brown, Anna Laura. "Social Networking for Libraries." 22 February 2010. <http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/>. Canada, Meg. "Social Networking and Libraries: Building Community Through Innovative Applications of Technology." Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. 22 February 2010. <http://www.slideshare.net/megcanada/social-networking-and-libraries-1704727>. "Digital Libraries." Facebook. 22 February 2010. <http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16979022509&ref=search&sid=519446118.987583913..1>. Heiberger, Greg and Reynol Junco. "You Can Use Facebook for That?: Research-Supported Strategies to Engage Your Students." Slideshare. 22 February 2010. <http://www.slideshare.net/reyjunco/you-can-use-facebook-for-that-researchsupported-strategies-to-engage- your-students>. Lim, Kevin. "Facebook Strategies for the Classroom." Slideshare. 22 February 2010. <http://www.slideshare.net/brainopera/facebook-strategies-for-the-classroom>. Mathews, Brian S. “Online Social Networking.” Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow’s User. Ed. Nancy Courntey. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2007. 75-89. Menzo, Kathleen Kennedy. "Twitter Lessons in 140 Characters or Less." 22 February 2010. <http://mobilelibraries.blogspot.com/2009/10/witter-lessons-in-140-characters-or.html>. "School Library." Facebook. 22 February 2010. <http://www.facebook.com/pages/SchoolLibrary/95309731885?ref=search&sid=519446118.1189030168..1>. "Social Networking for Libraries." Facebook. 22 February 2010. <http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49462354175>. "Social Networking Software." Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. 22 February 2010. <http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Social_Networking_Software>. "Twitter for Teachers." 22 February 2010. <http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com/Librarians>.
LIST OF RESOURCES http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network_service http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites http://www.marketing-jive.com/ http://onlinesocialnetworks.blogspot.com/ http://socialnetlibraries.wordpress.com/ http://librariesbuildcommunities.org/ http://www.collegedegree.com/library/financial-aid/25-useful-social-networking-tools-for-librarians http://www.oclc.org/nextspace/007/1.htm http://www.ila.org/netsafe/SocialNetworkingToolkit.pdf http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2008/04/28_digitalyouth.shtml http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html#overview