Information Update - Spring 2013
- The Weinberg Memorial Library has been successfully using social networking sites to interact with students, faculty and staff for several years now. In fall 2012, the library expanded its efforts to include Instagram, which has been quite popular with users.
- Over the last half-decade, libraries of all kinds, from public to academic to special, have besen using social networking sites to interact with their communities in new and interesting ways. Web 2.0, or the socialization of websites with areas for comments and ratings, allows users to make information their own and add their voices to the story. Exploding in the mid-2000s, Web 2.0 sites are almost everywhere today. The ability for websites to serve as places for conversations to take place was fascinating to libraries, which have historically been places for community members to gather and discuss information. As a result, librarians have learned Web 2.0 tools, adopting the phrase "Library 2.0," and have trained other librarians to further the reach of these tools amongst their peers and their patrons.
- In an effort to encourage library staff to interact with new technology, stay current with sites and trends, and feel confident in their use of social networks and applications, the phenomenon known as "23 Things" (http://plcmcl2-things.blogspot.com/) began. Helene Blowers, then at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, developed 23 ways to educate library staff on Web 2.0 tools. 23 Things assigned tasks on tools like blogs, wikis and social networks, for individuals to create accounts, organize profiles and utilize the sites' special features. 23 Things spread across libraries that adopted the lessons and, because of the program's flexibility, adapted it to meet their own needs, customizing the information for a specific audience to learn specific tools. It was a program that individuals could do on their own time at their own pace and share information with colleagues as they thought critically about these sites. After the training, libraries often were able to implement some of the tools for their uses internally, publically or professionally to reach out to other librarians. While it has evolved and grown over the years, this program gave libraries a strong base for social networking sites and the ability to adopt new technology and implement tools that help them share information with their patrons and peers.
The Weinberg Memorial Library has been successfully using social networking sites to interact with students, faculty and staff for several years now. In the fall 2012, the library expanded its efforts to include Instagram, which has been quite popular with users.
- Another new site that we have joined is Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/uofslibrary). On this social media platform, we have been sharing images from the University archives, our Instagram pictures, and re-pinning interesting photos from other libraries. We have been using Pinterest to document the library's 20th anniversary, posting images from the past as the library was designed, built and dedicated.
- Over the last year we have increased our focus on Facebook (www.facebook.com/uofslibrary), posting more frequently about library news, links to resources, and sharing campus information. We have a team of admins who monitor the site daily to make sure we respond to questions or comments in a timely manner.
- The library is also very active on Twitter (www.twitter.com/UofSLibrary). We have been able to answer questions about library hours, services and databases via Twitter, as well as respond to issues with computer problems. There is a core group of students who have regularly interacted with the library through Twitter, and our followers continue to grow in numbers.
- The Emerging Technologies Committee will continue to explore new websites and applications as they become available and rise in popularity on campus. Accordingly, we will adjust our presence on these sites as they change over time. We hope to stay with current trends so that our students feel comfortable communicating with us about any help they may need with library services and research. It will be interesting to see how social networking sites change over the next five years and beyond, as well as how the library embraces those changes. Please follow, friend, or like us on your favorite social networks!
Library Social Networks: Creating Interactive Communities Online