I’m so pleased and excited to see how Five Weeks to a Social Library is shaping up! We have a terrific group of presenters involved in the course who will help to teach participants all about social software and how to successfully implement social technologies in their library. You can see a very preliminary preliminary program on our Drupal site. And just reminder: even if you’re not a participant in the course, you will be able to access all of this content. The live Webcasts will be archived for later viewing by everyone and all of the screencasts and podcasts will be freely available on the Web. Yippee!

We are now accepting applications from those who are interested in participating in the course. We are most interested in reaching those who have the least opportunity to access to this sort of education and the greatest potential to benefit from this and benefit their library and patrons. You can see the full participant application on our site, but I pasted it below as well. I hope some of you will consider applying or will promote this opportunity on your local and state/provincial library associations’ electronic mailing lists. I think a lot of people who can’t participate nationally often join their state library organization and these are the people we really want to reach.

Participant Application

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 be taught using a variety of social software tools so that the participants acquire experience using the tools while they are taking part in the class. The course will make use of synchronous online communication, with one or two weekly Webcasts and many IM or Skype chat sessions made available to students each week. By the end of the course, each student will develop a proposal for implementing a specific social software tool in their library.

Five Weeks to a Social Library 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 accepting applications for participants in the course. The application process is designed to ensure that the course will benefit those librarians who have the most to gain from learning about social software and who would not otherwise have access to conferences or continuing education. If you are interested in learning how to use and implement social software tools at your library, please consider applying. The course will cover the following topics:

  • Blogs
  • RSS
  • Wikis
  • Social Networking Software and SecondLife
  • Flickr
  • Social Bookmarking Software
  • Selling Social Software @ Your Library

Participation Requirements

Each participant will take part in a weekly small group chat (either via VoIP or IM) with four other participants and a facilitator and will have the opportunity to chat with social software experts throughout the week. They will also attend at least one of two live Webcasts offered weekly. There will be weekly readings, podcasts, and Webcasts for the users to peruse and discuss. Each user will have a blog on which to post reflections on what they are learning and will be able to read and comment on other participants’ blogs. The final assignment for the course will involve developing a proposal for implementing a social software tool at their library.

Applicants must be self-directed, passionate about using social software to benefit their library, and willing and able to invest the time required to take part in the course. While it is not necessary to have had exposure to social software tools in the past, general comfort in the online medium is strongly recommended.

Users must have the following items to participate:

  • An AOL Instant Messenger account (free).
  • A Skype account (free).
  • Windows 2000 or XP or Mac OS 10.3 or later.
  • A recent version of IE, Firefox, or Safari.
  • A headset or microphone that connects to your computer (not sure if we will be using this — we’ll keep you posted).
  • A reliable and relatively fast Internet connection.
  • While broadband is not required, it is strongly recommended as it may not be possible to fully take part in the course without it.
  • Time to invest in learning, discussion and reflection.

Application Procedure

Please email the following (as plain text, Word, or PDF) to sociallibrary@gmail.com by December 1, 2006:

  • Full name of applicant.
  • E-mail address of applicant.
  • Web-site and/or blog URL of applicant (if applicable).
  • AIM screenname.
  • Institutional affiliation.
  • Job title.
  • Brief biographical information (under 150 words).
  • List of conferences, trainings, or other continuing education opportunities attended over past three years (please include name, location and month/year of each event).
  • Describe how your employer supports your professional development.
  • List any social software tools you have used.
  • Describe what you hope to get out of the course (500 words or less).
  • Describe how you think your library would benefit from your participation in the course (500 words or less).

Any questions about the application process may be addressed to the Planning Committee at sociallibrary@gmail.com.

Application Review: Applications 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 Applications: Friday, December 1, 2006.
  • Notification of Acceptance: January 1, 2007.