By Meredith Farkas | March 10, 2007
Wow! I can’t believe we’ve just finished Week 4. It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling. I can’t imagine waking up in a little over a week and not finding new posts from my friends in this program. I have gained so much from my interactions with them, more than I could have ever imagined. I only hope they got as much from the class as I did.
Again, this was a week with a lot of great thinking about the tools (MySpace, Facebook, Second Life and Flickr). While some of the participants didn’t think the tools discussed this week would be useful in their libraries, they still had some really interesting observation and ideas.
MySpace is Your Space
We had a really terrific and inspirational screencast from Beth Evans on the Brooklyn College Library’s successful forray into MySpace. Their profile is one of my absolute favorites and will be featured in my April column in American Libraries.
Beth Tumbleson explores the value of being where our patrons are, so that we are more available to them when they may need us. But she also highlights the importance of giving young people space in cyberspace.
Linda Bedwell talked about her library’s experiment last year with dipping a toe into Facebook (without any marketing or fanfare) and how they got a steady stream of friend requests. It was interesting to her how without even telling people they were there or making any friend requests, the students found them and wanted to friend them. (Of course then their profile was wiped out in the great purge last Fall. Sad thing, that.)
Implications of Involvement in MySpace and Facebook
Fred Jahns raises questions about the possibility of students pushing the boundaries of the librarian’s professionalism in MySpace. “How does a library maintain that certain level of ‘professionalism’ when you’re putting yourself or your library into a realm thats really all about casual friendship?” Great question!
Tiah Edmunson-Morton wrote (as usual) an incredibly thought-provoking post about preserving MySpace for young people instead of turning it into a controlled space and wondered if we are invading a patron’s space when we ‘friend’ them. What was almost more interesting than the post were the comments on the post.
Karen Bjork quotes me (I feel so cool!) on the idea of being useful in MySpace and agrees that a library presence in these online communities that really offers nothing to patrons is really not making the library more visible or cool.
Discoveries in Second Life
Kelly Czarnecki and Matt Gullett introduced us to Second Life and other MMOGs in our Thursday night Webcast, which was great since so many of our participants had never been “in-world.”
Rachel Kingcade is very enthusiastic about her library building a virtual branch in Second Life, but also asks some interesting questions about what people would want to use such a virtual library for.
Josalyn Gervasio chronicles her first wild ride through Second Life and thinks up some interesting library uses for Second Life.
Applications of Flickr in Libraries
We had three really great presentations that discussed Flickr to inspire our participants. Michael Porter and Steve Lawson offered a funny and fascinating look into Flickr in their Webcast on Tuesday night. Lauren Pressley’s podcast showed how she used Flickr as a training tool, which I personally found unique and inspiring. In addition, Matthew Stuckings talked about some of the amazing projects the National Library of Australia is currently engaged in, including Picture Australia. So it’s no surprise to me that some of our participants got very excited about using Flickr in their library.
Tiah Edmunson-Morton waxes poetically about the coolness of Lauren Pressley’s Flickr as a training tool idea. She outlines some ideas of her own for using social tools to train student workers and new employees. HOT!
Fred Jahns (and here) describes some interesting educational uses of Flickr that have come from the geotagging feature. Can you imagine the richness that would come in a geography class from clicking on a map and then actually seeing pictures of the place you’re discussing? Makes me feel badly for not geotagging my own photos.
Josalyn Gervasio’s library is implementing a greeter program (how cool!) and they did a survey which found that staff did not know how to operate some of the library equipment. Josalyn definitely sees practical uses of Flickr as part of a greater Library Greeter Training Wiki. Love it!
Karen Pardue plans to create a virtual tour of her library using Flickr. She also comments that Flickr “sure beats Kodak EasyShare!” Heck yeah.
Beth Tumbleson – whom I really see as the philosopher of the class – had the great idea of using Flickr to document service learning experiences, which could then promote service learning to other students in the future.
Renata Gibson sees exciting possibilities for using Flickr to digitally display art created at the college (since they’re rapidly running out of wall space!). She also thinks it would be cool to use Flickr to document and demystify what librarians do at the library. Her enthusiasm about Flickr just jumps off the page!
Cool, But Not for Our Library
No library can or necessarily should implement every social software tool. It’s all about meeting the needs of your unique population. So I saw nothing wrong with these participants’ very rational comments detailing why these tools are not for their library.
Alisia Wygant worries that she has become “a naysayer” because she can’t find a good use for Flickr in her library. Nah… you don’t have to use all of this stuff!
Karen Bradley was totally excited by Matt and Kelly’s presentation on Second Life and is really interested in what the SL Library is doing in there, but feels that, for now, outreach efforts in there may be better geared towards school and public library patrons.
Jill Markgraf can see some really cool applications of the tools discussed this week in her personal life, but she sees much better ways of doing what these tools can do on her own library Website. She also thinks they might be better suited for public libraries.
Robin Grant is fascinated by Second Life, but isn’t quite sure about the library’s goals in that space. My explanation (in the comments) is that I for one am glad that someone is exploring the possibilities of providing library services in immersive virtual worlds, though I’m not sure we’re at the point where it truly is “going where your patrons are.”
Cheri Duncan discusses how cool the presentations and tools were this week, but goes on to discuss why they wouldn’t work at her library.
Social Worlds Colliding!
Tiah Edmunson-Morton wrote a really interesting post about the personal recipe Websites she visits, and how, because of the richness of reading about their lives and seeing their photos, she feels almost like she knows them in real life:
The point is that for a few minutes tonight I actually felt like I was looking at photos taken by someone I knew, not well, but someone I knew. And this level of “comfort,” for lack of a better word, kind of startled me. Is this what happens to people on social networking sites? Even for those that don’t ever write one single word to their “friends”? Is it voyeurism? Is it a new form of socializing? Is it any different than going to a cafe and eavesdropping on the conversation from the neighboring table? I don’t know..
I’m sure this is a feeling many of us can relate to. And I don’t see online friendships and connections as being any less valuable than those we make in the physical world.
Next Week, Last Week
Week 5 is all about selling social software at your library, something all too often overlooked. A great idea often isn’t enough to get a social software project off the ground.
I can’t believe it’s almost over. **sniffle sniffle**
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