Protypical Academic Library (PAL) - social media needs assessment


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Final presentation by Bryan, Roen and Erin in LIBR559M, December 2009

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Protypical Academic Library (PAL) - social media needs assessment

  1. 1. Prototypical Academic Library Prototypical Academic Library (PAL) ½°– f ¾nf ¯f f°°– ½–f¯ f W ½nf nf¯n f %W % PAL social media committee: Bryan Carnes Roen Janyk Erin Rickbeil
  2. 2. 1 ½°– f ¾nf ¯f f°°– ½–f¯ f W ½nf nf¯n f %W % °¾ f¾¾¾¾¯° f° ¾f€€ f°f ¾¾ Introduction The Prototypical Academic Library (PAL) has a collection of over 35,000 print books, 200 journal, magazine, and newspaper subscriptions, 500 music CDs, 1,500 popular and educational films on DVD and 450 databases available to approximately 14,000 students, staff, and faculty. The Prototypical Academic Library (PAL) consists of one campus, offers traditional and distance learning environments, and prides itself on meeting students’ educational and learning needs. Recently, library staff has been faced with some barriers to information literacy in the digital age as few have developed technological skills or experience using social media and Web 2.0 tools. In order to remain relevant, useful and an integral point in student and faculty’s core functions, the PAL must find new ways to train their staff to meet the needs and connect with its users in the physical and virtual environments. Library Survey To gauge the feelings, comfort levels and knowledge of staff regarding social media, the decision was to conduct a survey. The survey was designed to gather a rough idea of the feelings and skill-set about social media. It was determined that a new training program encompassing some of the more popular social media tools would be developed for the library staff. The training program was not designed to target a specific group; therefore, the survey is a cursory examination of staff’s general knowledge, use and comfort level with social media in general, with some sections focusing on specific tools. The survey is designed to gauge staff interest level
  3. 3. 2 in a social media training plan and whether they believe that the use of social media will help the library connect with students. The online survey was created using the free tool SurveyMonkey ( All PAL staff were invited to participate in the survey, and a 95% response rate was achieved. The results indicated that in both their personal and professional lives staff did not use many social media tools, however, they were familiar with some of them. Social Networking Sites (SNSs) were the most common type of social media used, with 55% of respondents indicating that they have used an SNS within the past month. No staff members indicated they used wikis or social bookmarking tools on a regular basis, and the staff responded that in their professional life, 40% used blogs. Overall, the results of the survey indicated the majority of staff have basic or introductory levels of knowledge about social media but do not feel comfortable using the tools. When asked about how much knowledge they had about social media 25% indicated they knew a fair amount to a lot about social media tools and 10% said they did not have any knowledge at all. Twenty- five (25%) of respondents said they did not have a high level of knowledge about social media but they do recognize some of the tools. The most significant response was that 40% feels they know something about social media and its tools. Staff felt they had the most knowledge about SNSs, blogs and media-sharing. With regard to comfort level using social media, the results were similar. Ten (10%) of staff indicated they do not use social media and are not comfortable with tools. Thirty (30%) indicated they use 3-5 types of tools and are comfortable using specific tools. 45% of staff responded that they use only 1 or 2 types of tools, but are comfortable using those tools. Staff felt
  4. 4. 3 the most comfortable using SNSs and media sharing and the least comfortable using social bookmarking and micro-blogging tools. Eighty-three (83%) of staff indicated that they would like to see a social media training program, and would use a training manual at the PAL. Staff indicated, however, that they would prefer an online training program with several in-person meetings. The staff responded that they were most interested in learning about blogs, media sharing, bookmarking wikis, and instant messaging. The survey showed that library staff feels the use of social media would enhance the relationship between the library and users. Seventy-four (74%) feel that social media might be very or extremely successful in enhancing library/user relations. Only 16% feel that social media would not be successful or only minimally. After completing the survey, staff participated in departmental focus groups on social media, tools and expressing their comfort levels. Department heads communicated the results to one another in a meeting. The discussion from this meeting reflected the results obtained from the survey which indicated many that library staff felt unprepared for advances in social media technologies; they did not have high levels of knowledge about social media tools or how to use them, were concerned about the pace of technological growth and older staff felt they had less experience using social media tools. Finally, some staff were not sure these tools would be useful in connecting with patrons. Many staff communicated a desire to learn more about social media because they felt it may help improve the library’s relationship with its users, but the staff felt overwhelmed by trying to learn how to use social media on their own. Overall, department heads felt that staff were interested in learning about social media and needed to receive a professional development training program to help them gain more familiarity and comfort with it.
  5. 5. 4 Developing a social media training program After analyzing the steps taken by other post-secondary institutions to introduce social media and Web 2.0 technologies to libraries and classrooms around the world, it was decided that a social media handbook and a social media training program for library staff would reflect both the trends in the field and the needs of the PAL. A social media implementation and training committee (SMITC) was formed comprised of librarians, library technicians, faculty and staff who volunteered to participate in the project. The SMITC examined other universities, colleges, schools, and public libraries’ usage of social media tools, and decided which tools would be used for both external and internal use. Some tools might be beneficial for communicating and connecting with staff internally, while others for connecting with students and faculty externally. Training modules were discussed by taking into account the tools used by other institutions, the value for internal and external use, the ease of use for staff and the knowledge of those teaching the courses. In the social media handbook, eight modules were created to introduce social media tools and technologies to staff such as blogs, instant messaging, media-sharing, micro-blogging, social bookmarking/cataloguing, SNSs and wikis. Each module will have an overview of what the tool is, how it functions, how the user interacts with it and a basic ‘how to get started’ lesson. Examples of how other libraries are using the tool will be provided, as well as an informative video to provide alternate learning styles for individuals. The training plan can be used with the PowerPoint for more examples. One module will be presented each week for library staff, with the educational series lasting 8 weeks. Library staff familiar with some tools but not others will be able to sign-up for specific topics during certain weeks. Training sessions will last two to
  6. 6. 5 three hours in length, and will occur in an asynchronous virtual or online environment. Training for each module will be provided by those staff specializing or comfortable with each topic. The Digital Services Librarian, Reference Librarian and Systems Librarian will be in charge of instructional lessons, and will work closely with two library technicians and other staff on the SMITC to create module presentation materials. At the end of each 8-week cycle members who participated in each module will be given the opportunity to fill out a survey and provide feedback about the modules. This survey will be available via and also by paper; it will consist of five basic questions about whether the learning objectives were met. Questions will include whether library staff learned new skills and opportunities for learners to provide comments and suggestions for improvement. Conclusion As our program develops further, it is our hope that other library staff and eventually members of other university faculties can participate in its development. Initially, the social media training program will only be available to librarians and library technicians during the first offering of the learning series. The social media training manual will be posted on the library web site and will be made available to the whole library and university community. As the social media training program progresses over time, it will require some ongoing analysis and evaluation to stay current. A librarian must be in-charge to oversee changes and updates that will need to be introduced as specific social media tools change and new ones are introduced. In time, more modules may need to be developed for improving the program. The ongoing goal of this project is to ensure that the PAL maintains its presence on the social web and that liaison librarians continue to develop their knowledge about the benefits of social media
  7. 7. 6 for learners. The liaison librarians may find ways of using social media that are specifically related to the subject areas they represent. For example, Twitter lists, Facebook groups and subject-related blogs and wikis. The PAL should continue to promote itself in the digital era and remain relevant to its users by using many of the tools they use. The PAL librarians see themselves as central in the area of social media and want to promote their roles as information investigators and disseminators (Rethlefsen, Engard, Chang, Haytko, 2006). To achieve our goals, we must ensure that library staff members are not merely using the same tools but engaging as full partners with the conversations and knowledge-sharing of the social revolution of web 2.0.
  8. 8. 7 References Connell, R. (2009). Academic Libraries, Facebook and MySpace, and Student Outreach: A Survey of Student Opinion. portal: Libraries the Academy, 9(1), 25-36. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. Csora, C., Van der Heyden, M., Kersten, F. (2009). Practising what we preach: Working together to further scientific collaboration. Learned Publishing, 22(4), 304-311. Retrieved from ArticleFirst database. Hendrix D, Chiarella D, Hasman L, Murphy S, Zafron ML. (2009). Use of Facebook in academic health sciences libraries. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA. 97 (1), 44-7. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.97.1.008 Rethlefsen, M., Engard, N., Chang, D., Haytko, C. (2006). Social Software for Libraries and Librarians. Journal of Hospital Librarianship. 6 (4), 29-45. DOI : 10.1300/J186v06n04_03 Ure, L., Atkey, K., Miller, K. (2009). Exploring Social Software at UBC Library: The TOTS Series. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 4(1), 1-5. Retrieved from index.php/perj/article/view/932/1471 Weaver, A. (2009). Attending conferences virtually. Access – Caulfield East Then Alice Springs, 23(3), 26-27. Retrieved from documentSummary;dn=098780048443873;res=IELHSS