Reading Socially–Literature Review

Below is a link to a rough outline of what I would like my final research paper to look like.  It is mostly comprised of quotes and/or observations I have drawn from articles, blog posts, social media sites and my own interaction in a variety of book clubs.  Big thanks to Emma Caywood and JLauren for sending me some great articles that led me to take interesting directions in my paper.  Also thanks to everyone who responded to my Tweets about Social Media Book Platforms.  Enjoy.

http://www.scribd.com/full/53204923?access_key=key-1yg6680aptt0fmh0mm8j

Reading Socially–UPDATE!

A few days ago, I logged on to Twitter and tried to search the hashtag #borndig to see all of the passages I had tweeted via my Kindle.  Well, I discovered that none of my passages had been tweeted becuase my account was not linked up correctly.  I appologize for anyone who has been trying to read along with me only to discover that I’ve been quite silent on the Twittosphere!  I have finally connected my accounts correctly and plan to start tweeting my way through Born Digital using the hashtag #borndig.

Please feel free to follow me @allisonmennella and the #borndig and if you are reading the book on your own device, feel free to use the hashtag as well.  Also, if you want to shoot me some comments about the book, questions the book has raised for your, or any other “discussion points” feel free to do so via Twitter, this blog or any other Social medium that works best for you.

Basically in my final paper, I want to draw some conclusions about the ideas of Social Reading:

1.  Is Social Reading easy/doable.  Is this something people want to engage in

2.  Is Social Reading better online or offline

3.  What have I gained from Reading Socially that I don’t gain “reading alone.”

You participation–even if it is just one or two tweets–is a vital element to my paper, so I thank each and every person who participates in advance.

I appologize for the technical difficulties getting started, but hope that I can gather some interesting data for my paper in the next week or two.

Happy #reading

Course Reflection–Is it really over?

My thoughts on the incredible LIS768 Course:

Participatory Service & Emerging Technologies

Blogging

Having never blogged before, I truly took this class assignment as an opportunity to create a blog that I could eventually use for professional purposes.  I had always wanted to submit my thoughts, ideas, summaries, videos, etc to the larger Librarian community but never had an incentive or reason to do so.  The classroom blogging assignments have given me the “push” that I needed, and I am confident that I will continue to update the blog after class after monitoring the number of “reads” I have received on Goggle Analytics and Bit.ly statistics.  It appears that people are reading this humble attempt at a blog and I am excited to keep it going in the hopes that what I produce on here is valuable and relevant to others in this field.

Twitter

The most useful part of examining twitter in this class has been the 20+ followers I have gained and in turn followed.  I had been slowly adding MLS professional to my Twitter lists, but it had been hard to find relevant Tweeters that I actually enjoyed following.  If anything else, I have come to respect and enjoy the Tweets sent out by my classmates and cannot wait to continue to follow them post class.  Through Twitter and the #LIS768 hashtag, I have received links to articles that will help me with my research, commentary on my blog postings, friendly tips and “hellos” and the opportunity to host a TweetChat (something I have always wanted to do, but didn’t have a reason or audience large enough to engage).  Twitter has been a great way to feel like I have been to class every week (even though this is a monthly, weekend class), and I feel as though I have developed some great professional and social relationship through using this medium.

Assignments

Overall, I felt that the assignments were relevant, concise, and valuable for a variety of professional purposes.  For example, I was just recently assigned to the Social Media Team at my Library as a representative for my Department.  I truly believe that my work in studying things like Social Media Policies, using a variety of Web 2.0 tools—especially blogging, and my ability to work in an online environment (pretty much how we conducted the research for and put together our group project) in this class swayed my supervisor’s decision in choosing me for this role.  I had been waiting for an opportunity to take on new challenges in my career and I am convinced that bringing Social Media to my Library is a great first step into the direction I ultimately see myself continuing in.  I know that this class has given me many valuable additions to my “portfolio” and for that, I am grateful.

Group Project

I have to admit that I am not typically a fan of group projects, especially at the Graduate Level, because I always find it difficult to schedule time to meet and work on the project.  However, because this class provided us with many online tools to conduct our meetings, share resources and put together the final product, this group project was a breeze to complete and actually quite fun.  My group utilized the “Groups” feature on the Classroom website, our G-mail accounts, GoogleDocs and Twitter to share information and work collaboratively in an online environment.  This proved to be a valuable exercise, as my Library just announced that the work for the Social Media Team will be conducted virtually with the exception of monthly meetings.  Having the leg-up on achieving long-term and detailed projects online will help me handle the pressures of these new job responsibilities and also might posit me as a leader, or point person to go to if others on the team are having a difficult time getting accustomed to working in online spaces.

Class Meetings

The class meetings were a great opportunity to see some amazing PowerPoints filled with images of ideal libraries that really grasp the concept of Library 2.0.  It was also the perfect place to explore this new technology and talk with others about their thoughts/feelings on Library 2.0.  I appreciate how the instructor chose to keep class sessions brief and informative, giving us plenty of time to meet as a group and receive feedback from group members as well as the instructor.  I never once felt bored, restless or tired.  The class moved the entire weekend and provided me with many interesting things to work on and ponder until our next meeting.  As a side note, while I was incredibly sad that our last class had to be cancelled as this was truly my favorite class I have ever had at Dominican, I feel that the outcome of the cancelation has proven to be a valuable learning experience as it proves how far we have come in our comfort level of working with new technologies that we can actually conduct our class online and not feel like we have “missed out” on anything.  Also, in the “real world,” things happen all the time that are out of our control and we must be prepared to rectify the situation as best as possible without losing time, money or effort.

Favorites

My favorite thing about this course has been the opportunity to blog on the WordPress platform.  In the past, I had found WordPress to be a bit confusing to use and avoided it for other blogging sites like Blogger and Xanga.  However, I am impressed by the interface of WordPress and will continue to use it post class.  My favorite assignment was the Brand Monitoring assignment because it gave me the opportunity to study a library that is very inspiration to me—San Jose Public Library—from a Library 2.0 perspective

Tips for the future

Topics or Web 2.0 things to look at in future classes (just suggestions!)

  • Ebooks and “Reading Socially”
  • Tumblr
  • Storing information in “the cloud”
  • How libraries can utilize Social Media to create a community of users (not how to set one up and the importance of having these profiles, but how to use these tools to create engaged and active users of the Library)

Conclusion

Thanks for a great class!  Dominican University will miss you greatly.  Best of luck in your future adventures in a truly evolving field!

Information Commons–Partnerhips and (New) Roles

“The information commons brings a new degree of collaboration between librarians and other key professionals in the organization who bring different professional training and cultures together.  Genuine collaboration among historically distinct and physically separated student support services require immense attention, support, and nurturance.  There is excellent potential for success, improvement to services, and epiphanies that lead to better outcomes for patrons.” (Scott Bennett, Designing for Uncertainty: Three Approaches, p.166)

Our group studied the emerging trend of the Library as the “Information Commons” in both academic and public spaces.  My section of the presentation focuses more intently on two facets:  the partnerships that are needed across the organization in order to facilitate a smoothly-operating Information Commons, and the new role of the “Reference Librarian”.

Why are partnerships essential?

  • Partnerships are an essential component of the computer workstation environment.

Look at the many banks of computers in this Nazareth College Library sitting amongst the traditional “stacks” of library reference material.  In order to meet the needs of the students, Nazareth College must employ staff for answering both reference questions and technical questions

Partnerships offer different perspectives for improving serviceThis image was found on the Flickr stream for “THE HUB” Information Commons at the William T. Young Library at the University of Kentucky.  As you can see, they are not simply asking for ways to improve the library, but ways to improve the library and technology.  By recognizing this significant partnership, THE HUB is able to collect perspectives from a wide variety of places to improve their services.

  • Partnerships help resolve problems more quickly vs. departments that maintain silos
  • Partnerships allow for more accurate referrals.  When there are partnerships, employees understand one another’s skills and strengths better so they can more appropriately direct unfamiliar questions to staff members that are more knowledgeable
  • Partnerships remove barriers between departments with different cultures and values to meet the needs of a combined user audience

Who are the “key players” involved in partnerships?

  • Reference Librarians
  • Information Technology Staff
  • Users (students, patrons, etc)
  • Support Staff
  • Administration/Board Members
  • Key Community Members/University Sponsors

The information commons is really a one-stop-shop for patrons, so you want to think outside of the box when it comes to establishing partnerships in the IC:

  • Tutoring centers

Library@Sinclair Community College – Tutoring & Learning Center

This is a walk-in tutoring facility for students working on math, reading, and writing skills.

  • Writing Centers

Hodges Library Writing Center at the University of Tennessee Knoxville

The Library branch of the Writing Center is intended to help students who are working at the Library on written assignments for any UT course. Trained tutors from the English Department will talk with students about their assignments, and Research Service Librarians are close by to assist with the research process, as well.

  • Academic Advisement Centers

ARC in the Library@Sinclair Community College

The Academic Resource Center prepares students to take placement exams. Sinclair has ARCs in various high schools throughout its service area. This is the ARC for the Dayton campus. Data clearly demonstrates that students improved their placement test scores significantly when they used the ARC.

  • Career Centers
  • Service Learning Centers
  • Foreign Language Centers
  • Food Vendors–Establish a partnership with a local coffee shop (or the cafeteria) to provide food and drink the in IC.  Food and drink is a crucial element that assists in keeping students/patrons in the IC for longer periods of time

Grub @ THE HUB

Upscale vending machines provide food and drink to hungry students

University of New Haven–Library Café

Featuring Starbucks brand coffee and other products.  Coffee, tea, lattes, smoothies, and bottled water are available.  Cookies, muffins, scones, pastries and bagels with cream cheese or butter, fruit cups, sandwiches, and salads can be purchased.  There is seating at tables and in overstuffed chairs.  Staff at the Library Café encourage students to enjoy some refreshments as they study and look out over the University’s main quadrangle.

How can partnerships be established/maintained?

  • Integrating Service at a single desk

Library@Sinclair Community College – Service Desk

The Library Service Desk includes three functional units. Reference, Circulation, and IT Lab Support. In this picture, the reference librarian is seated nearest the camera, the circulation support staff person is at the center station, and the IT lab staff at the far station.

  • Staffing Separate but co-located desks

“THE HUB” at William T. Young Library

Example of creating a space where students can receive both library and IT help by partners working side by side

What are some challenges that partnerships face?

When you establish partnerships there will always be challenges to overcome.  This is because you are dealing with different and historically separated support services.  Up until this idea of the Information Commons, every “section” of the library had their own space.  The information commons really works to integrate the service experience so you have people from different backgrounds working together.  This can be difficult for several reasons:

  • Transition
  • Assimilation
  • Cultural Divide
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

There are many hurdles these partnerships will have to overcome to ensure their longevity and strength and make sure that each “type” of staff member’s voices are being heard.

How can you combat these Challenges?

It’s important to make sure that prior to integrating these separate types of staff members that there is significant types of:

  • Committee work between departments.  Create a team to work on a project like a new website that promotes the IC.  Get representatives from many different areas of the library to work on this project and monitor the ways in which group dynamic and partnership develop over time.
  • Retreats
  • Open and constant communication

It is also helpful to:

  • Establish clear guidelines and job descriptions.  Make sure that everyone understands what they are essentially responsible for and how their role fits into the bigger picture of the information commons
  • Cross Train—is it possible that some staff could transition between departments to fill certain needs? Examples:
    • Reference librarian that can handle academic advisement
    • Foreign language tutor that can act as a reference librarian for ESL patrons
    • IT staff member who’s fun and engaging and wants to run the café on weekend to attract customers

Changes in administrative structure also help combat challenges that occur when blending different departments into one collaborative Information Commons team.  However, the question of who will lead the new organization triggers anxiety for both librarians and IT professionals.  This is because both IT and Librarians have very specific sets of skills and want to be led by people who have the same degree and qualifications as they do

Many ICs have created a “CIO”—Chief Information Officer that presides over the partnershipsKaren Stanton–Chief Information Officer and College Librarian at King’s College in London

Kings College participates in a library system that has adopted the principle of convergence.  They describe convergence as:

‘Convergence is used to describe the situation in which the library and computing services, with or without other services, are brought together for management purposes under a full time executive director’

The person who fills the role of the CIO most often tends to be a degreed librarian that has significant technological and media skills and/or knowledge.  This is because degreed librarians have a strong understanding of the tradition and tenants of the library.  It is important to have someone that understands where libraries have been, where they are now, and where they are going

Now it’s time to take a more in-depth look at the role of the “reference librarian” in the Information Commons.

What is the role of the Reference Librarian in the IC?

From the beginning of librarianship, Reference Librarians have been expected to apply critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, and teaching ability in order to connect the user with the appropriate resource.  Now, more than ever, librarians are expected to become “Jacks of all Trades”

Many experts agree that the Information Commons should employ “blended librarians”

A blended librarian is “an academic librarian who combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist’s hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer’s ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process”

The Reference Librarian’s Future Role:

  • Manage everything from face-to-face contact to text messaging

Monterey Institute of International Studies–Text-A-Librarian Service

  • Overcome the “we don’t need a library–we have Google mentality among patrons, especially within the economic climate of today
  • Reference librarian as a liaison to the teaching faculty

Sinclair Community College–Library Instruction Classroom

  • Develop online resources
  • Develop a strong online presence
  • Be well versed in the technology students are using (IM, mobile devices, social networking, etc)

Michale Stevens (Dominican University) on Twitter @mstephens7

  • Do more with less as funding decreases

To conclude, please follow this link to examine an actual job description that I found for the E.H. Butler Library, Buffalo State College who was looking for a Reference Librarian to be part of the IC-team.  Below are highlights of the job description:

  • “E.H. Butler Library, Buffalo State College seeks a dynamic proactive, service-oriented reference librarian to be a key member of the information commons team”
  • “As part of the Information Commons team, this position will develop productive relationships with appropriate individuals and departments to advance the objectives and mission of the Information Commons. This position will also provide reference services, including teaching and training (some nights and weekends may be required), and will serve as a liaison to one or more academic departments.”
  • “Persons selected for interviews for the position will be expected to make a 30 minute presentation to the library faculty and staff.  The presentation should address a current topic in library studies

Essential Functions:

  • Development of online instruction and assessment modules
  • Establish collaborative working relationship with individuals and departments in the library
  • Provide reference service, training and teaching
  • Act as a liaison to one or more academic departments
  • Work effectively in a diverse environment

Required Qualifications:

  • MLS degree from an ALA-accredited institution
  • Reference experience in an academic library
  • Excellent communication skills

Preferred qualifications:

  • Teaching experience
  • Experience with ANGEL, HTML, WEB 2.0
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment
  • Virtual reference experience

Up Next–Read about Outreach and Feedback in the Information Commons on Lee’s Blog

Or, check out our SlideShare presentation for our complete report!

Reading Socially–A Vlog

Social Media Policy for Public Libraries–A List of Permissions, not Restrictions!

Below is a Social Media Policy I have created based off numerous examples of Social Media Policies found online.  Please feel free to take, adapt, use and update this policy as need be.

A Social Media Policy for Public Libraries

What is Social Media?

According to the Whitman Public Library’s Social Networking PolicySocial [Media] is defined as any website or application which allows users to share information. Social [Media] can include, but is not limited to, blogging, instant messaging, social networking sites, and wikis. Many social networking sites allow users of those sites to become a “friend”, “fan” or otherwise associate their own “profiles” or virtual presences with the Library’s profile on these sites.”

Examples of Social Media sites include but are not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare and blogging sites like WordPress and Blogger.

What is the Purpose of a Social Media Policy?

This social media policy has been created in order to establish clear guidelines for staff members who are posting on behalf of the organization as well as employees with personal social media accounts. Below are a list of standards that assist in conducting the manner in which our employees should post to our Library’s blog and social networking pages.

As always, when you use social media the personal and professional behavior you display and the content you contribute is not only a reflection of you but also of the Library.  If you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, discuss it with your manager (via Librarian’s Matter blog).

1.  Take Ownership of your work:

  • Be Authentic and Transparent—Include your real name and use a real picture of yourself.  If you are using the site as a representative of the Library, make sure to state that in your post.  When appropriate, offer contact information so that people have the opportunity to follow up with you.
  • Use Good Judgment—Use Social Media as a way to express your opinions, but do so in a tasteful manner.
  • Be Responsible—If you make a mistake, it’s ok to admit it online.  Answer questions and comments as best you can, but if it is outside your area of expertise, take the time to find someone who can help you deliver a quality response.  Also, don’t forget about your day job.  Make sure you are accomplishing the things you need to accomplish as well as your Social Media responsibilities.
  • Be Proud—Did you write a really great blog article, or craft the perfect 140 character Tweet? Share your successes with the Library.  We want to know!

2.  Create Community:

  • Connect—Remember to engage with a wide variety of users, from patrons of the library to librarians in different countries.  Inclusion, not alienation is what we are going for.  Used open ended questions and comments to encourage two-way conversation.  Find ways to “friend” and “follow” other users, libraries, groups, etc. Post on and respond to other blogs, forums and profiles.  Be vocal and active and appropriate.  Have fun, but be safe.

3.  Deliver Value:

  • Show Off–Everyone who works in the Library has special skills and talents.  Let your creativity flow and use Social Media as a way to highlight your specialties.
  • Participate–Don’t just watch—participate!  Social media is about consuming and contributing.  Make your posts relevant and interesting.  Ask questions, answer questions and question questions.  Remember to use spell check and proofread your work before submitting in order to maintain a level of professionalism.

4.  Experiment:

  • Keep Lookout—Allow yourself to stay informed of the newest technologies out there by following blogs or listening to podcasts.  Always suggest new Social Media platforms to sign up for by contacting the appropriate department.
  • Have fun—Sign up for these sites for yourself (under your own name) and have fun experimenting with their capabilities on your own time.  Report what you have learned and offer suggestions for implementation in our Library.  Remember to exercise professionalism when posting on your personal sites—mentioning secrets of the Library, or speaking about your work(place) in a derogatory manner is not cool and could result in consequences that are less than desirable

This list is not complete by any means.  It is a living, breathing document that can be changed at anytime, by anyone.  If you have suggestions, questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to let Management know and we will find a way to work your ideas into this document.  One final word of advice:  when browsing, sharing, posting, commenting, and exploring Social Media sites, have fun and use common sense.

Look Who’s Talkin’: A Brand Monitoring Assignment

San Jose Public Library

Look  Who’s Talkin’: A Brand Monitoring Assignment

Introducing SJPL.org: Users welcome!

In November 2010, the San Jose Public Library launched a brand new website.  While the Librarian in Black does a great job summarizing the main features of the site, it is important to highlight the main goals for the new website: to have dynamic content that changes as new things become relevant, to give patrons the opportunity to comment on nearly everything (without Library moderation), and to give every single staff member the ability to create and share information through blog posts.  In achieving these goals, the San Jose Public Library hopes to create and foster an online conversation centered on the library.

Because the new SJPL website has been the center of attention at many library webinars and conferences, being honored for its “user centered web design,” I wanted to take the opportunity to conduct brand monitoring research to see how effective their online presence is with the San Jose, CA community and beyond.  In conducting this research it is important to note that I am examining the SJPL system as a whole (not as individual branches) and that I am looking for both internal (Library generated) mentions of SJPL as well as external (patron/visitor generated) mentions of SJPL.  In this process, I monitored the following site:  Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook using the search term “San Jose Public Library” consistently throughout.  For the blogs, I looked for specific mentions of the new SJPL website.  For Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, I examined the ways in which the online conversation was created and maintained as an extension of the “commenting” idea promoted through the new website.  I used Google Reader for blog updates and the Search functions for Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.  The data observed goes back to the launch of the website in November 2010.

Blogging: An Equal Opportunity Library

The first step in my brand monitoring process was to examine what is being said about the new SJPL.org in the blogosphere.  I also wanted to pay particular attention to the frequency and type of comments being left on blogs both externally and internally.

The Librarian in Black, an employee of SJPL at the time of the new website launch, offered many succinct blog posts about the implementation and execution of this new online “location.”  One particular blog post had over 15 comments connected to it.  After closer examination, many of these comments seemed to be from fellow Librarians in different Library systems.  The conversations were mostly pleasant, and full of complements on the new design.  There were some questions about what software was used (Drupal), as well as more technical questions about servers and linking mechanisms.

Other bloggers not associated with SJPL, like the Swiss Army Librarian and The Proverbial Lone Wolf’s Librarian offer their own opinions of the website (all positive) as well as links to the SJPL website, and a screen shot of the new homepage

When it came to searching the internal blogs, I decided to look at the frequency (or lack thereof) of patron submitted comments to staff written blogs.  The Library has an extensive array of blogs on the site.  However, the patron commentary was very minimal.  This makes me question the desire for patrons to be able to comment on everything.  Maybe patrons who use the online services are simply lurkers that feel more comfortable watching from a distance as opposed to jumping in full force and constantly participating.

The comments I did find were nested on the Downloadable blog.  This was interesting to me, as it suggests just how popular the topic of e-books and other electronic devices are becoming, especially in libraries.  There were also a few comments left on the blog that the Director posted regarding the launch of the new website.  While many patrons were thrilled with the new design, one patron was very upset and noted that the design of the new site was “flawed”, “”incoherent” and “not horrible by any means, but…not a site to aspire to either.” Even though this comment is highly negative, there are two important things to note here:  First, the Library chooses to leave it up, despite its negative connotation in an effort to create an “open” online environment, and second, Sarah Houghton-Jan, the Library’s Digital Futures Manager actually responded to the comment with professionalism, suggesting:

“If you have specific suggestions to make to us, you are welcome to email the Digital Futures team at SJPLDigitalFutures@sjlibrary.org. We’d love the chance to talk to you!”

While there may not be as many comments as one would expect, it is clear that SJPL has the right approach and follow-through to support user participation on their new website.  I look forward to checking back in to see if participation has increased.

Twitter:  Where are the Tweets?

The next place I looked for mentions of the San Jose Public Library was http://www.search.twitter.com.  I first looked externally, trying to find out what other people were saying about SJPL on their personal twitters.  I was also hoping to find conversations between SJPL and its patrons.  After doing a search for “San Jose Public Library,” I was disappointed to see that most of the mentions of SJPL were simply Re-Tweets of SJPL, or links to SJPL blog posts.  There were no personal anecdotes from fans of the library, and sadly, no questions being asked directly to SJPL, or comments mentioning @sanjoselibrary.

I honestly expected a more lively Twitter conversation from such a large library with so many patrons and such top of the line technology and staff.  However, after visiting the internal Twitter page I immediately understood why there was this “lack” of dialogue.  As you can see, the @sanjoselibrary feed is mostly used for promoting events and services:

I searched the Twitter feed all the way back to November 1, 2011 (a few days before the launch of the new website) and did not see one instance of the @sanjoselibrary asking a question or trying to engage a conversation with their patrons.  All of the tweets, while informative and creative were basically news pieces that were pushed out to their followers.

This suggests to me that SJPL is using Twitter as a way to deliver information to their patrons, rather than a “community building” tool.  This supports their efforts to promote the website as place where patrons can discuss, connect, evaluate and experience the library.  While I understand the direction they seem to be going, I would like to suggest that Twitter is a less “daunting” place to leave comments or ask questions than a library homepage.  Maybe if they started engaging their patrons in conversation via Twitter, they would have a stronger commenting audience on their Library website and blogs than they currently have.

Flickr:  If a Picture is worth 1,000 words, how many words do you get with 4,154 pictures?

The San Jose Public Library has a VERY active Flickr page.  Not only do they have over 4,000 photos on the site, but some sets on Flickr have had over 17,500 views. Incredible!

Internally, the Library does a great job uploading content, organizing them into sets, and collections for easy browsing purposes.  They even have video content such as this Video tour of the stacks after the 2007 earthquake that received over 3,000 views!  Many of the photos have received comments from users, and all photos have an extensive list of Tags associated with the photo, making it easy for patrons, and/or interested persons to find exactly the picture they are looking for.  I was very impressed with the time and dedication SJPL has allotted to their Flickr Stream.

When I searched for external uploads of the SJPL from patrons or other guests, I was pleased to see that many patrons, visitors and other community organizations in the San Jose, CA area were uploading their own content.  For example, many people seem fascinated with the architecture and overall layout of SJPL (and who wouldn’t be, it’s so cool)  and have posted their own pictures of the building, the library stacks, the common areas, etc.

Because there seems to be such a genuine interest in media revolving around SJPL, it makes me wonder why they have not incorporated more photos and videos into the Library website.  Perhaps if they had a section to highlight new photos, video on their homepage, and used Flickr as an archiving site, they could get more people talking, uploading and sharing on the actual website.  This activity might help increase the commenting function on their blogs.  Whatever they choose to do, they certainly should be proud of the content they have contributed to Flickr.

Facebook—Where the people are

The last place I decided to conduct my brand monitoring research was on Facebook.  This should have been my first stop because this was where all the action was!  The San Jose Public Library Facebook Page has 656 “likes” and employs a number of “tabs” on their page like their Twitter Stream, Photos, Catalog Search and a tab designated for promotions of specific events.  However, the most interesting part of the page was the Wall.  On the Facebook Wall, SJPL posts pictures, asks questions, tells stories and promotes their upcoming events and services.  As you can see, each post seems to have a number of “likes” and pretty significant comments from their followers:

Reading these posts on Facebook is where I truly felt a connection between SJPL and its patrons.  I think other libraries have a lot to learn from this page as far as what types of questions to ask, how frequently to post and how to add engaging content.

Externally, there were quite a few mentions of SJPL too—most of them revolving around the upcoming Battle of the Bands contest:

This not only shows what a popular event Battle of the Bands is at SJPL, but also gives great insight into the fact that teens feel comfortable using Facebook as a way to connect with and even promote the Library.  This piece of evidence should be very valuable to those in charge of creating an online presence at their individual libraries.

To conclude, it is clear that SJPL has put in significant effort and has made great strides in creating a strong online presence with their patrons and beyond.  While there are certainly areas that could use more patron interaction (Twitter, internal blogs, etc), there are a number of areas that should be considered exemplary (Flickr, Facebook).  Perhaps if SJPL were able to integrate some of the features of Flickr (photo and video) and Faceboko (“liking” posts) onto their website, they might encourage different demographics and attract a wider range of people to comment on, and connect with information and messages that the Library presents.  Overall the chatter surrounding the SJPL is positive, constructive and interesting.  There is much to be learned from the technological innovations and new directions San Jose Public Library is willing to explore.

Welcome to the San Jose Public Library: Get to know “the King”

In November 2010, the San Jose Public Library launched a new website. While the Librarian in Black does a great job summarizing the main features of the site, it is important to highlight the main goals for the new website: to have dynamic content that changes as new things become relevant, to give patrons the opportunity to comment on nearly everything (without Library moderation), and to give every single staff member the ability to create and share information through blog posts. In achieving these goals, the San Jose Public Library hopes to create and foster an online conversation centered on the library.

Because the new SJPL website has been the center of attention at many library webinars and conferences, being honored for its “user centered web design,” I wanted to take the opportunity to conduct brand monitoring research to see how effective their online presence is with the San Jose, CA community and beyond. In conducting this research it is important to note that I am examining the SJPL system as a whole (not as individual branches) and that I am looking for both internal (Library generated) mentions of SJPL as well as external (patron/visitor generated) mentions of SJPL. In this process, I monitored the following site: Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook using the search term “San Jose Public Library” constantly throughout. I used Google Reader for blog updates and the Search functions for Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. The data observed goes back to the launch of the website in November 2010.