Bill PardueArlington Heights Memorial Library firstname.lastname@example.org / @billahml
What’s the point? Users have more places than ever to ask their questions Yahoo Answers Cha Cha Facebook Questions LinkedIn Q&A Twitter WikiAnswers Etc., etc., etc….
Reference is declining… http://ahml.info/renovation
How do we respond? Hope it goes away? Argue that we’re better (we clearly are…aren’t we)? With whom do we argue? Presume that we’re just not part of it? Actively engage?Guess which one I’ll advocate!
What’s “Slam the Boards?” Genesis in Denver, Sept. 2007 Now monthly Find questions, answer them, ID yourself as a librarian. Promote our skills, don’t diss the boards.
The Wiki & The Group & The Tweet http://answerboards.wetpaint.com Add your name to the list Link to your Q&A profiles Have discussions Facebook: Answer Board Librarians Group may be archived soon…jump in! Twitter: #slamtheboards hashtag
Disclaimers We’re all busy! (Can you do a few per month?) They’re not our patrons! (It’s for the good of the whole) Relatively few people see our answers (Every patron is part of the “long tail.”)
Make “Slamming” local Look for a hyperlocal site—seed w/Q&As? Is there a local “Patch” site? http://www.patch.com Local daily/weekly papers? Reply to local comments/questions on news, discussion, review sites (papers, yelp, etc.) Monitor twitter searches for your town’s name. Set up a Google alert for local questions in Yahoo Answers. Remember to ID yourself!
Slamming’s not always virtual Attend local meetings and offer to look up research topics Chamber of commerce, Rotary, Social Services, etc. Get yourself appointed to a local committee Listen to what’s going on…offer assistance…don’t just wait. Be “on” even when you’re out of the building--a “Library Ambassador.” “Library Dude” hot dog cart! http://bit.ly/qwssAZ
Slamming isn’t always answers “Chiming in,” asking questions of your community (esp. in FB or Twitter) Offering assistance Promoting: Making the library known Helping the user get value from our skills, any way we can!
Requires an attitudinal change We can’t wait for questions to come to us. We can’t just assume that users know what we do. We have to cast our net wide and take a proactive (even “predatory?”) approach to reference. We have to be willing to trumpet what we do and who we are. We might even need to “butt in” a bit (carefully!).
So, you wanna slam? Look over some social Q&A sites Yahoo Answers: the big favorite WikiAnswers: fast-growing, harder to attribute AnswerBag: I’ve played a little… LinkedIn Q&A: very tech/business-oriented ChaCha: SMS, you get paid (can it promote us?) Learn how to navigate, post answers, the culture, etc.
How will you find questions? Poor “signal to noise” ratio on most services Browse through categories Search for selected terms (“articles,” “books,” etc.) Be patient… “real” questions are out there!
Answering Provide a well-considered answer. Link to info—attribute sources! OK to build on other answers Try to relate to a library service, if you can. See if you can figure out asker’s locale (e.g., sometimes in Yahoo Pulse). Review the local library’s options and make suggestions. Use a “signature,” if that’s OK. Make sure asker knows this was answered by a library advocate. Don’t be TOO heavy-handed, though!
Points, etc. Yahoo and other sites award points for activity. Nice to follow, don’t get hung up on it. Feel free to vote for your own “best answers.”