Community building through your web site

Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian

Introduced myself to Jenny as the person who schlepped Michael through Minnesota. There may have to be some coordination of Tame the North t-shirts for IL, so we (Aurora, Jenny and I) can arrive as the Stephens Fan Club…

Talking about creating community on library web sites. Online tools help the library. Blogs help by allowing comments – involve the community. Ann Arbor District Library has integrated the blogging software with the library catalog. Post on new catalog elicited posts from patrons on system, and helped debug the system. Board member responded to patron post on the blog with a post addressing the issue. (Cool!) One blog post with an expletive was edited for publication with strategically placed **s. Another patron took that one to task for using inappropriate language. The community is self-correcting. AADL has gaming tournaments, and kids can comment on the tournament on the blog. One blog post had 461 comments posted – how many comments have you gotten from teens at YOUR library?

Blogging levels the field. A small public library, Flossmoor Public Library, has a blog. Blogging isn’t something that requires a huge IT staff. It will make you more efficient and will bring people into your website.

Western Springs History.org – historical organization in Chicago area. Photo of one house has a comment from the granddaughter of the people who lived in the house, along with one from the current owners.

Photo blogging with Flickr: shows the vibrancy of the library, humanizes the library, and puts the library community online.

RSS & community: syndication of your library’s website allows it to be seen by people that might not normally see it…

Web 2.0 means the web is more interactive – things come to me instead of me going to them.

Library content in RSS: teen events, library catalog for new items, materials by genre or type (for instance, new DVDs), programs, classes, books by subject matter.

ProQuest is offering an RSS feed…sometime. Academic library – site lists ProQuest feed for accounting news, headlines by field.

Ebsco also has feed, though getting it is clumsy. Note to EBSCO – please make this easier!

Your library needs to provide an RSS feed! Display headlines, partnership with schools, work with local newspapers. School libraries – use RSS for class projects, pathfinders, etc.

Community Hub. “Small Pieces, Loosely Joined.” Collaborate with community agencies – parks, Chamber of Commerce, schools – and create a community blog. All contribute. (What a cool idea!)

LaGrange Public Library uses del.icio.us and syndicates to their website. Uses Flickr for library photos. Has a blog through Blogger. Uses localized news service topix.net. Grabs feed from local newspaper. Uses SuprGlu to coordinate. Voila! Community website created.

Be a buddy and offer live help. Instant messaging and chat – patrons are using. People can add the library as an IM buddy. “Quick answers to simple questions.”

Meebo – IM aggregator. Meebo Me: Allows someone to ask an IM question without installing Im software.

6 things you can do now:

  1. Read Blogs
  2. start a what’s new blog for your library
  3. appoint a trend reporter on your staff who watches and learns
  4. train your staff to use RSS aggregators
  5. advocate for RSS built into products you are paying for – like the ILS systems, etc.
  6. learn about library 2.0
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1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, Libraries and Librarianship, MLA06, Techie stuff

One response to “Community building through your web site

  1. Nancy Eddy

    Went to the NEBASE Annual Meeting in Chadron, NE on the 27th. The Commission “trained” us on the terms you mentioned! Lots of new info and I am going to try all of it. But one thing at a time! Many of the smaller libraries did not see the vision of it all but again was the first time for many of us in the rural setting to hear this. Most is old hat to you so will be needing help as I go along! Wish us luck. Nancy

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