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Librarians, Libraries And Facebook

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Presentation given at Facebook symposium at Liverpool John Moores University, 24th October 2008

Presentation given at Facebook symposium at Liverpool John Moores University, 24th October 2008

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  • 1. Whose space is it anyway? Librarians, Libraries and Facebook Dr Jane Secker Centre for Learning Technology London School of Economics and Political Science Facebook: a network, a research tool, a world? Liverpool John Moores University. 24 th October 2008
  • 2. Overview of talk
    • LASSIE project overview
      • Social software and libraries - context
    • Based on findings from case study (Jan 08) and recent results from a survey of librarians about Facebook
      • Library related applications
      • Library related groups
      • Use of Facebook pages
    • Issues and thoughts
  • 3. LASSIE
    • Libraries and social software in education
    • Nine month project funded by University of London’s Centre for Distance Education
    • Several project partners
    • Literature review to provide a snapshot of activity
    • Five case studies to explore different technologies
    Lassie filming on location in Florida. Photo courtesy State Archive of Florida
  • 4. Project partners
  • 5. Project Overview
    • Literature review of libraries and social software and distance learners (draft and final version)
    • Review of web 2.0 tools and what libraries are currently doing
    • Five case studies (including Libraries and Facebook case study ) using social software to investigate how these technologies might enhance the experience of the distance (and full time) learner
    • Students were on UoL External Programme
    • Tried to provide real evidence about what works and what is useful
  • 6. Libraries and web 2.0
    • A lot of enthusiasm for new technology in some parts the library community: blogs, wikis, social bookmarking etc.
    • New technology can:
      • Reach new audiences
      • Engage with users more effectively
      • Enhance services by allowing greater interaction and feedback
    • Many issues including: privacy / data protection, staff development
  • 7. What is Library 2.0? From Michael Habib’s Flickr site (Licensed under Creative Commons): http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=222296001&size=o
  • 8. Libraries and social networking – the literature
    • OCLC report (2007) suggested libraries didn’t have a role to play in social networking
      • Despite this relatively high usage of sites such as Facebook by librarians
      • Groups used for professional networking
      • Pages can be created by organisations
      • Many library related applications in Facebook
    • Survey of senior librarians (JISC, 2008) – one third felt academic libraries could use social networking to engage students, but most were unsure - especially in HE
  • 9. Libraries and Facebook: the case study
    • Completed in January 2008
    • Review library related applications, use of Facebook pages and groups
    • Also reflected on personal /project team use of Facebook during the project
    • Report available on LASSIE website
    • All references in delicious account
  • 10. Library related applications
    • Booksharing tools: Books iread and BookShare
    • Catalogue searches: COPAC, Worldcat
    • Electronic resources: JSTOR
    • Librarian application
    • LibGuides
    • LSE Catalogue integration (pilot)
  • 11.  
  • 12.  
  • 13. Facebook groups for librarians
    • General groups for librarians
      • Librarians and Facebook
      • FacebookAppsForLibraries
    • Groups associated with professional organisations
      • CILIP UC&R Group
    • Groups associated with events / conferences
      • LILAC conference
  • 14.  
  • 15. Library Facebook pages
    • Libraries started using pages after launched late 2007
    • Early indications suggested they were largely experimental
    • In Jan 08 - 60 academic library pages. By Oct 08 – 192 pages (Source: Facebook search)
    • Basic library information provided with links to website
    • Some offer more sophisticated pages…
    • Key advantage is you can keep your fans up to date!
  • 16. University of Warwick – a case study
    • Library links provide subject specific information for library users
    • RSS feed from library blog to keep page looking fresh
    • Various library related applications on the page including a customised catalogue search
    • They don’t send out too many updates to fans – only really important things
    • Got help and advice from other librarians when setting up the page - experiment rather than spend lots of time planning a Facebook page
  • 17.  
  • 18. University of Wolverhampton – a case study
    • Links to useful sections of the library website
    • RSS feeds to keep page fresh – from various Learning Centre blogs
    • InfoBites events advertised and also link to the Google Calendar
    • JSTOR and COPAC searches on the page
    • Updates which are sent to all fans on a regular basis
  • 19.  
  • 20. Results from survey
    • Advertised survey via blog / mailing list
    • Difficult to gauge how many libraries are using Facebook in total but growing!
    • Mainly UK libraries responded to survey although a few others
    • Not only academic libraries using Facebook
    • Clear that many believe there are good reasons for not using it!
  • 21. Why use Facebook?
    • Through my own personal use of Facebook it was becoming clear that an increasingly broad range of people were using the website on a regular basis. A Library Fan Page on Facebook would therefore 'place' the Library where a diverse market already existed, rather than expecting people to make a 'special trip' to our own website. The fact that we can directly contact our fans was also a prime motivator in setting up and maintaining the fan page.
  • 22. Other motivations
    • We're keen to open up access to the library and its services through as many avenues as possible. For instance, we have catalogue and MetaLib search widgets that can be placed into Facebook, Pageflakes, Netvibes, etc. Essentially, as far as practical we want the library to be where the users are (whether they choose to use those resources or not is then up to them). 
  • 23. What purpose?
    • Largely a promotional exercise / raise profile of library / keep people up to date
    • Many open minded and viewing it as an experiment
    • More informal and friendly feel than traditional library website?
  • 24.
    • The main aim is to disseminate information about new services, developments and events. We use it in a similar way to a blog by sending updates to fans which they receive from their Facebook home page. We also have details of our information skills sessions within Facebook and use the page to link to our webpages and bring our blogs together in an aggregated RSS feed on the page.
  • 25. What services are offered
    • Basic info and links to website
    • Advertising library events and news
    • Library related applications
    • Other services included:
      • Access to library catalogue
      • Enquiry services
      • In-house library applications
      • Videos and RSS feeds
  • 26. Publicising the page
    • Word of mouth a key channel
    • Links on library website important
    • Some libraries have deliberately not publicised the page
    • Others use tools such as their blog to promote the page
  • 27. Is it working?
    • 50% of respondents had more than 100 fans, one had over 1000!
    • 95% of respondents felt the Facebook page was useful although many not clear why!
    • The library with over 1000 fans organised a special event which 70 people attended!
    • Many feel relatively low levels of investment were needed so it is worthwhile
    • A need for feedback from students though?
  • 28. Other web 2.0 technologies
    • Blogs used by 77% of respondents as were RSS feeds
    • Delicious (social bookmarking) also very popular - 72%
    • Flickr and Twitter used by some
    • You Tube, wikis, Page Flakes and Library Thing also mentioned by others
  • 29. Facebook and libraries – the issues
    • Seems to be a ground-up movement of librarians not directed by senior managers (nor by students!)
    • No access in some sectors: NHS, some public libraries
    • Personal / professional ‘face’ causes issues for some people
    • Belief that not welcome / not appropriate to be in a social space
  • 30. Facebook rewards
    • Most librarians stress the investment is minimal
    • Libraries seem to be getting reasonably high numbers of fans
    • Perhaps helps convince the ‘Google Generation’ the library is still relevant
    • Facebook is leading to collaboration and real enthusiasm in some parts of library profession
  • 31. Whose space is it anyway? Thanks for listening [email_address] http://elearning.lse.ac.uk/blogs/socialsoftware/ http://delicious.com/lse_lassie/socialnetworking/