Library 2.0 Class Reflections

When I entered this class two months ago at St. Kate’s, I already had the foundation of knowing what blogs are, how to use RSS feeds, and who uses social networking.  In my day job, I’ve been in lunch bag and brainstorming sessions with our Interactive Director when we’ve discussed how we could use interactive technologies (like blogging, wikis, social networking) to give us a competitive edge to draw in more clients and show to our clients just how trendy we are.  In no way am I suggesting that I am an expert.  I’m just an amateur dabbler; I’m not even an early adopter.  But I am so drawn into these new things and I love watching how others come up with great ideas on how to use them.


I wanted to bring my Web 2.0 thinking out of the “for-profit” mentality, because I have been so ingrained with the importance of using these growing technologies to grow business, to gain the attention of our clients, to bring more sales in.  I was excited for the opportunity to dedicate an entire semester exploring, learning, and expanding my landscape of how and where these tools could be used in libraries.  When I put my “librarian-in-training” hat on, ‘clients’ turn into patrons, ‘sales’ turn into information literacy, and ‘business’ turns into library services. 


Our professor introduced us to many libraries and individuals in the library landscape who explore and critique these emerging tools.  We’ve discussed how Library 2.0 is being used, how and why it’s been critized in the field.  I’ve been taught early on in my professional career that it is important to be engaged, to know what is out there competing for your client’s – oops, I mean, patrons’ – attention.  It was extremely valuable that I was introduced to library professionals who bring new thoughts about how to use these Library 2.0 tools in libraries.  And these individuals are not just those who are supporters of using Web 2.0 tools in libraries.  They are also individuals that have good criticisms toward the idea, so we can have an honest discussions about all sides to implementing these new technologies.


The group projects were an excellent way just to see how easy using Library 2.0 tools really are!  I had a lot of fun writing a script for the library podcasts, using GarageBand to bring it all together, and adding a little personality to it.  After hearing the group presentations, I was amazed at what I could do that doesn’t require me to take a night class at the community college. 


I’ve completed the course and I can honestly say that I wish I were a librarian right now, because it would be so fun to actually plan to implement some of these tools in a real library.  I know what you’re thinking – I PROMISE I will not be a newbie librarian fresh out of grad school intending to change everything in the library!  But, maybe we could have a lunch bag session to at least talk about Library 2.0 tools??


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LIS 768 Research Paper Abstract

Elements of Library 2.0 are increasingly being regarded as new ways to reach library patrons.  Social networks, blogs, user-generated content, YouTube, Flickr and gaming are all tools that libraries are considering as they make library services cohesive with how patrons learn, search for information and keep engaged with their community through the library.  Typical library programs like contests and reading programs that have traditionally been in-library events are now being brought online.  With more interactive games, contests, social networks and library programming that are available on library websites to younger patrons (any adolescent or child 17 years and younger), libraries need to be aware of how engaging children through these online channels might affect their patrons’ online privacy.  Existing privacy and promotional laws intended to protect a child’s contact information and identity are now affecting the implementation of these library programs on online channels.  Libraries are required to look at their online activities, contests and programs through the lens of promotional law to ensure they are in compliance with existing laws. The paper explores how libraries do not have to be limited in their reach to children through new technologies even though they adhere to established laws.

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Who is your googleganger?

I have just one googleganger and we both run 5ks.  Many of our Google entries were just race times – that’s how I discovered my googleganger.  I’ve never run a 5k in Washington state. 

Admit it that you’ve typed in your name in a Google search to see how many entries you had with your name.  That’s how you can find out if you have a googleganger – another individual with the same name as you whose entries are mixed in with your own when you Google yourself.   I should probably run more 5ks to elevate my name higher in the search results…..

On a more realistic note….for other slang words like this one, check out Urban Dictionary, the “slang dictionary with your words”.  It’s like the Wikipedia for urban slang.  This could be the YA Librarian’s best friend.  You can add, edit, tag words and give them a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating.  You can even add a photo that you think encapsulates the word, like “sup“.  Sup, peeps?

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We’re getting smarter

I was encouraged after reading this article by Andrea Mercado, who shares her opinion that ‘librarians cannot afford to flip the modem switch off’ and that library schools need to incorporate more technology education into the program components of LIS programs.  At first I started going down a bunny trail of envisioning more classes on graphic design for library newsletters, basic html coding, and Dream Weaver.  When would I ever graduate??!

I definitely believe that classes like Library 2.0 are preparing the librarian up-and-comers with some valuable groundwork for innovating and investigating how Web 2.0 technology can match patron needs.  While you can read the list yourself, I will point out several of Mercado’s reasons and recommendations for library schools to beef up our technology mindframe.  Some of Mercado’s dream technology class list would include:

1)  ‘Customer service personality with innate problem solving skills’ – In regards to technology, I’ll admit I am not the greatest at explaining how a program, software application, or interactive platform works to other people.  I end up explaining how I envision myself carrying out the very same functions I’m trying to explain – I inadvertently leave out important steps.  I get how it works, but I can be horrible at my explanations!  Occasionally,  I’ll leave people even more confused…..I just end up having to call the developer to explain it better.  I could use some tools & skills for explaining technology to other people.

2) ‘Human Computer Interaction’ – the idea behind this is that there are basic elements of user-centered design, user behavior, and usability methods that we can employ to make technology easier to use.  This really resonates with me from my days working on product development for an awards catalog website, in which we spent time testing the usability of new functions and capabilities based on focus groups intended to see how user-friendly it was.  It’s ingrained in my brain that you should always test to see how user friendly a website, application or interface is before you roll it out because what’s the use of it if nobody really gets how to use it?

3)  ‘Marketing Online’ – I also like to think that my background in marketing is really going to help me when I’m working in a library.  I get energized with how are we to promote and launch new services. 

 While I feel somewhat smarter with the Web 2.0 things I’m learning and playing around with, I’ve begun to realize that I’d be even more smarter if I continued to add more tags on my account and dabble with a PBwiki beyond the end of class.

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Google Docs

When my department approached IT and the VP of Technology last fall about integrating SharePoint as a central suppository of documents, files, information, and other data, we were met with, “Our servers are too old so adding SharePoint is not an option because it will cost too much to get new servers”.  I should clarify that I do not work in a library…

Our team needed some access point in which we could work out of the same documents, give version control, allow us to update and track the edits.  We were having too many issues with way too many people working out of the same documents, so we were making costly mistakes.  

That’s when I found a little gem called “Google Docs”.  In no time at all, we had solved our issue of version control.  I  placed our group Excel spreadsheets in Google Docs, then invited my seven colleagues to be collaborators for the spreadsheet and invited two directors to be viewers only.  We’ve only tapped the tip of the iceberg of the various Google sites, but we definitely saved our department from spending unnecessary dollars. 

Check out this article on Information Today by Erik Arnold if you want to read more about the debate between Google Sites and SharePoint.  Arnold summarizes the tangible value in Google Sites:  “Google promotes Google Sites as ‘one stop for information sharing’ with example applications of project management, team websites, and fully hosted intranets. Google Sites integrates nicely with the other Google Apps products, which include email, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and chat”. 

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Second Life

My first experience with Second Life was none other than at a meeting between my department and our interactive creative department.  Our interactive creative department was being interactive again, showing us new ways that we could help get our clients engaged in new interactive technologies.  Here the director was showing her SL avatar….suggestively dancing with someone in a dance club.  We got a good laugh out of it and played around with the idea of creating our own SL avatars – we’d create an office for the account team and then we’d work with the interactive team in Second Life.  It never really materialized. 

Our account team develops, structures and manages consumer promotions like sweepstakes, instant win drawings, and contests.  One possibility is to conduct a consumer promotion in Second Life and give out prizes that can be used in SL.  We haven’t actually done any yet, but it made me think that if a corporation can do this in SL, perhaps libraries could hold a contest or sweepstakes at their library in SL.  Libraries could engage YA in a contest in SL sponsored by the library and give away prizes that can be redeemed in SL.

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Keeping it Safe

I recently listened to a broadcast on a local talk radio show that discussed “Parenting Tech-Savvy Kids” by Vicki Courtney with family expert Dr. Jim Burns with HomeWord.  A guest on the show shared that her 16-year old daughter had committed suicide in 2006, after having becoming involved with a guy whom she had met through MySpace.  Her daughter was a straight-A, popular and pretty girl with whom she had several guidelines for her use of the computer and the Internet.   The daughter complied, but then used the school library and public library’s computers to create a MySpace profile where she met a guy, who disguised his age, and became romantically involved with him.  After she confessed the relationship with the guy to her parents and that he was actually 28 years old, she became depressed and even though she started counseling session and began taking medication, she committed suicide 4 months after the relationship became exposed.  This probably isn’t the first story we’ve heard about a MySpace relationship gone wrong.   While this took place in 2006, there are more security measures in place now than there were then, but it still should make us be aware of the “loopholes”.

I’ve read in comments in several blog posts that we need to help ensure a safe online experience.   The Librarian in Black cited that Susan Herzog presented at the Internet Librarian 2007 Conference on the subject of Facebook:  “The Facebook Phenomenon:  What Our Students Need to Know“.  I thought Herzog’s comment that librarians should educate students on the dangers and/or consequences of posting personal information in a public place was applicable because libraries are giving an access point to a potential danger.  Herzong also recommended that library staff need to be educated about the software so that they can participate intelligently in these discussions.  We’re often trained on how to use the social network or other Web 2.0 tools, but how much time is spent on understanding security issues, especially when there are so many children under 18 years are using these tools?

The Librarian in Black commented that an article from Electronic Frontier Foundation cites two studies that show that young people are able to detect unsafe contact, protect themselves, and use good judgement online as well as in-person.    

I thought Dr. Burns’ statement was right on when he said that our kids still need us (as parents) to “be the parents” and establish the structure they need to have a safe online experience.   

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