Next month, WebJunction’s editorial focus will be on Online Community for Public Libraries and I was asked to serve as guest editor for this segment. I know I don’t work at a public library anymore, but I am very passionate about developing online communities using blogs, wikis, and other online media, and these obviously can be used in any sort of library. We’re putting together some great articles on all sorts of ways that your library can better connect with your patrons online. This month, WebJunction has decided to collect their “best practices” in a slightly different form: they’re going wiki! In the interests of developing online community, WebJunction has teamed up with Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. I’ve created a section called Online Communities in the wiki where everyone can share their ideas about libraries developing online communities for their service population. In particular, we’re looking for:

  • How your library uses the online medium to connect with, meet the needs of, and build relationships in your area
  • Any thoughts or questions you might have about creating online communities
  • Any successful examples you’ve seen of online communities created by libraries for their service population

In addition to being a repository for good ideas and best practices, the wiki is also a great place for librarians to get practice working with wikis. Editing someone else’s writing or adding to a website can be intimidating, and it’s great to get our feet wet in a non-threatening wiki community of librarians. So feel free to tweak the site, add categories, add content, or make any other constructive changes. I think you’ll find that wikis are extremely easy to use and are fun to play with! Hopefully, this wiki will help librarians to get thinking about how wikis can be used in libraries to serve their patrons and to work collaboratively with their peers.

If you read my blog, you probably have some interest in online community-building, and I think this is a great opportunity for all of you to share some of the great ideas you have marinating in your heads. WebJunction will be posting the results of the wiki, along with a lot of new materials from some very familiar folks, on WebJunction in September. So get to it!