or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


With Friends Like These

   November 11th, 2008 Brian Herzog

flickr friends screenshotIf you haven't already, read David Lee King's post about Web 2.0 and friending. It might be hard to swallow at first, but he's absolutely right.

His main point:

When your organization decides, say, to create a Facebook page … who are you trying to connect with? Me? I don’t live in your neighborhood. Another library on the other side of the world? They’re not going to use your services.

He's right in that libraries aren't implementing Library 2.0 tools to connect with other libraries - we need to focus on connecting with our patrons. Any library service (be it a newsletter, a storytime, a flickr collection, or an rss feed) should be directed to the patrons. Those are the people (we hope) who will benefit from it.

Friending other libraries is safe and tempting, but is slightly counterproductive (we don't want it to look like these are library-only tools). But I also agree with David (and commenters) in that it's important to connect with other librarians professionally, and to keep up with what other libraries are doing - there are a lot of good ideas out there that we can adapt for our own libraries.

Hmm. I'm guilty of this myself, but I'm going to keep in mind moving forward.



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Library 2.0 For You

   September 18th, 2008 Brian Herzog

NELA 2008 conference logoIn my last post, I mentioned that at this year's NELA annual conference, I will be part of a panel called "Library 2.0 For You." A few people asked me about it, so here's what it is and how it came to be:

The description from the NELA conference program [pdf]:

Flickr isn't just a bird, delicious isn't just your NELA luncheon, and WordPress isn't a new kitchen gadget. Find out what these things are and how these popular Web 2.0 applications (and more!) are being used in real-world libraries. L24U offers a panel of three experienced Massachusetts librarians: Paige Eaton Davis from the Minuteman Library Network, Brian Herzog from the Chelmsford Public Library, and Elizabeth Thomsen of NOBLE. They share their expertise with applying Web 2.0 technologies to help promote your library's resources, programs, and materials. The program sponsor is ITS whose business meeting is included in the program.

Sounds great, huh? This program came about because there seemed to be a need for almost a how-to session for Library 2.0 tools. Lots of programs at past conferences and seminars were either general overviews of this technology, or very rah-rah Library 2.0 cheerleading. Which were great, because they raised awareness and interest, and got people excited about exploring these tools.

However, when people left the conference, they knew they were interested but didn't know where to begin. So in L24U, we're hoping to show a few examples of what can be done with a few Library 2.0 tools (using actual working examples from libraries), and explain what the steps were to implement these tools.

It won't be hands-on training, but attendees will hopefully leave the session with an understanding of how to put these tools to work for them as soon as they get back to their libraries.

That's the plan, at any rate. Even if we just end up answering peoples' questions, it should still be interesting (that is, once I get past my fear of public speaking). So if you're going to NELA 2008, look for this program on Monday at 1pm.



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