Remember way back when I was talking about wanting to do some sort of a free online educational extravaganza? Well, the wheels have been turning behind the scenes, but I didn’t want to announce anything until I had something concrete. This summer, I asked five other amazing women to partner with me in creating Five Weeks to a Social Library a free online course designed to teach people (who would not otherwise have access to such educational resources) about social software so that they can implement what they’ve learned in their libraries. The entire course will take place online using tools such as Drupal, MediaWiki, AIM, webcasts, screencasts, vodcasts and podcasts. The other librarians in the planning committee are Amanda Etches-Johnson, Dorothea Salo, Ellyssa Kroski, Karen Coombs, and Michelle Boule. I feel privileged to be working with such an amazing, smart, and dedicated group of women to make this crazy idea of mine a reality.

We want the class to reflect not only our view of social software, but the voices of many, many different librarians. So, to make this more “grassroots” we are asking you to help develop the content for the course. Obviously we will be creating reading lists with already existing articles, but we are also looking for podcasts, screencasts and other materials created just for this course. We are also looking for people to do twice-weekly live Webcasts, which will be archived so that anyone can benefit from them.

Below is our CFP for course content and live presentations. Please consider being a part of this course, which will hopefully be the first of many future grassroots educational initiatives for librarians.

Update: By the way, you can also access the CFP from here.

Update 2: Information about how to become a course participant will be coming out some time in October. Since the course is limited to 40 students — and because we want to reach librarians who are least likely to have access to this sort of education and are most likely to use what they learned — we are going to have an application process to determine the participants.

Call For Presenters: Five Weeks to a Social Library

CFP: Five Weeks to a Social Library
Location: Online
Dates: February 12 – March 17, 2007
CFP Deadline: September 22, 2006

We are pleased to present Five Weeks to a Social Library , the first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries. The course was developed to provide a free, comprehensive, and social online learning opportunity for librarians who do not otherwise have access to conferences or continuing education and who would benefit greatly from learning about social software. The course will take place in Drupal and on a MediaWiki installation, and will also involve a variety of other popular social software tools. The course will make use of synchronous components, with one or two weekly Webcasts and many IM chat sessions being made available to students each week. The course will culminate in each student developing a proposal for implementing a specific social software tool in their library.

The course will take place between February 12 and March 17, 2007 and will be limited to forty participants. However, course content will be freely viewable to interested parties and all live Webcasts will be archived for later viewing.

We are currently welcoming proposals for live presentations and course content on the following topics:

  • Blogs
  • RSS
  • Wikis
  • Social Networking Software and SecondLife
  • Flickr
  • Social Bookmarking Software
  • Selling Social Software @ Your Library (no live Webcasts on this topic)

We want the presentations to be as practical and useful to as wide a library-related audience as possible. Preference will be given to presentations that 1) are very “nuts-and-bolts” or 2) describe a successful use of the technology that could be replicated in different types of libraries.

We are looking for presentations in the following formats:

  • Webcast – a one-hour live online Webcast that will be archived.
  • Screencast/Vodcast – no more than 30 minutes (please note: most commercial screencasting software offer a 30-day free trial).
  • Podcast – we welcome proposals for podcast presentations, podcast interviews with innovators in the field or podcast discussions between innovators in the field.
  • Text presentations – we will accept a very limited number of text presentations, but we greatly prefer presentations that incorporate audio and video.

In addition to developing a presentation, presenters must also make themselves available via AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) for questions from students for one-hour during the week their presentation is shown.

All presentations will be made available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Format of Proposal: 250 – 500 words, written. Proposals are a way for the review team to assess your contribution quickly. Please do not submit full presentations.

Proposals should include the following:

  • Full name of presenter
  • E-mail address of presenter
  • Web-site and/or blog URL of presenter
  • IM screenname(s)
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Brief biographical information (under 150 words)
  • Include same personal information as above for any additional presenters after the lead presenter (if applicable)
  • Presentation title
  • Format(s) you are willing to present in (if you are flexible about the format you are willing to present in, please note that)
  • Presentation Abstract (250 – 500 words)

Proposals must be submitted by September 22, 2006 via e-mail to . Any questions about the CFP process can be addressed to the Planning Committee at

Proposal Review: Proposals will be reviewed by the planning committee.

Planning Committee:

  • Michelle Boule
  • Karen Coombs
  • Amanda Etches-Johnson
  • Meredith Farkas
  • Ellyssa Kroski
  • Dorothea Salo

Key Dates:

  • Deadline for Proposals: Friday, September 22, 2006.
  • Notification of Acceptance: October 1, 2006.