Tag Archives: Librarians

Christmas Book Critters

You might remember the Halloween Book Critters I created back in October. Well, due to popular demand I was asked to create some Christmas Book Critters for our Christmas display. Woohoo! I was so excited and got straight to it and I am very happy with the results (although I think my Elf needs a hat, I will have to find some time to work on that or take some stuff home and work on it lol).

Introducing our Christmas Book Critters.

Santa:

Santa

Elf:

Elf

I really do think this guy needs a hat. Will have to work on it 🙂

Rudolph:

Rudolph

And last, but certainly not least… Olaf 🙂 :

Olaf

Unfortunately you cannot see his arms and hair too well in this photo, but I swear he has them 🙂


The brilliance of eBooks

Have I told you all how much I love eBooks? No? Maybe? All the time? Well I can’t help it, I totally do.

With my library card from work I have access to literally hundreds of eBooks at the tap of a screen. If I go through the Library website I have access to a number of online reference books (like medical and legal volumes plus encyclopedias) and online databases.

My library also has two eBook platforms; Overdrive and BorrowBox. Overdrive is American and therefore has a wide range of eBooks and audiobooks on it whereas BorrowBox is Australian so concentrates more on Aussie and NZ authors which is great too.

Due to the fact that it is winter and therefore snowy, rainy and cold out, plus the fact we just got a boatload of new content on BorrowBox here is one of the promos I put together for our social media promotion.

BorrowBox BeFunky1

Created using befunky.com

Normally I pick up physical books whilst at work because hey, I’m already there right? But sometimes I forget (I do get very busy) and find myself stuck on the weekend without a precious novel (THE HORROR). Then I remember not to fret, I do not have to go down to work on my day off because I can just pick up my iPad and open the app for either Overdrive or BorrowBox and find a great book to read 🙂 Most recently I chose ‘The Lie’ by C.L. Taylor which was great, you will see my brief review in my June 52 Books in 52 Weeks list, it is number 31 🙂 – I promise June will be out soon, a little shorter than normal, but it is definitely coming!

You will know from past posts of my fall from grace due to my Netflix addiction, you do have to pay for Netflix, (let’s be honest though, the amount is less per month than a single visit to the movies) but wouldn’t it be amazing if soon you could get Netflix access through your library card too.

Gotta love my job 🙂


Friday was my day!

So Friday turned out to be a very good day for me for two reasons;

a) Our house evaluation passed and therefore our loan was approved which means that next year our house will start being built woohoo.

b) I was offered my first full time permanent position as a Librarian! Oh my gosh you guys this was amazing news!!! Job security in a position I love, in a company I love, within 30mins of my home? Hells to the yes!!! This is a seriously great dream! Librarian positions rarely come up in our area because people who get in those positions sit in them until well after they should retire. This year I was lucky enough to score a contract for 11 months to fill someone going on long service leave to use it all up before they retire. As of the 31st December I would have been unemployed again except that the gentleman who was Reference and Information Services Librarian at the Council Library decided to relocate to another area and he found a position there. I applied along with apparently a number of other people and interviewed with 10 others (okay so it’s no ‘The Librarian’ line, but usually places only interview 5).

Finally, finally after 2 weeks of nail biting and obsessing over what I had done wrong in the interview and totally losing hope I get a phone call offering me the job. ARE YOU KIDDING?! Hells yes I will take the job! Best Christmas present ever!!! I have been on one contract or the other for over 5 years now. I have been lucky in that I have never been out of work for long, but those times I am out of work I have never been able to enjoy the time off because I have been stressed to the eyeballs trying to find a new position. I can not even begin to describe for you the sweet relief I felt as the realisation came that this frantic annual part of my life was over.

I start in the New Year and all I have to do is pass 3 months probation and that is it guys. So, so happy right now!!! Everything’s shiny!


I’m a Librarian… get me out of here!

Let me preface this post by saying that I absolutely love being a Librarian, I love it! It is important that you know this before reading this piece because now I am going to have a little whine about just one small aspect of my job.

Originally from http://www.outblush.com/ I added text

Originally from http://www.outblush.com/ I added text

This post was inspired by The Daily Posts Daily Prompt – A Tale of Two Cities – we were asked if we could split our time evenly between two places only, where would they be. For some reason what immediately jumped into my head was what if I could be two places simultaneously?! That would be quite awesome and perhaps even have the ability to put one body in auto pilot whilst my consciousness is in the other one. Everyone I am sure thinks this from time to time for different reasons, but when it occurs for me it is very specific.

As I said before I love being a Librarian, but there is one aspect that is present in most Librarian jobs that I do not enjoy… the food battle.

What is the food battle? Well it kind of goes like this… Librarian roving the Library sees someone eating hot chips smothered in gravy. Librarian explains to said someone that they cannot consume hot food in the Library and asks them to please take the food outside. Said someone apologises and starts packing up, Librarian says thank you and moves on.

At this point I need to let you in on an apparently well-kept secret… Librarians are smart you guys!

 

But are you Librarian Smart?

Don’t remember where I got this pic, but I added the text. If you know please tell me so I can give cred.

We went to University for quite a few years in order to become experts in research, social media, promotion and marketing, development of programs on varying topics and many other things – we know our stuff and have an extremely broad knowledge. Many of us are also mothers and fathers so believe me when I tell you that we know that you just wait for us to get out of sight then start tucking back into your carbs.

We know.

So we have to do a loop and come back around and have another chat to you about the food – often you don’t answer us because you are trying to conceal the fact that there are fried goods currently in your mouth – we know this – in fact we waited until you put that forkful in before we confronted you so you couldn’t use the normal defence of, “it is there, but I am not eating it”.

I totally believe you!

I totally believe you!

Let me tell you something you probably don’t know…

When we have to repeatedly approach you to ask you not to eat hot food – especially when there is a sign on your table next to the hot food that states ‘No hot food’ – it kills us a little inside. It feels like we are babysitting unruly children for $4 an hour instead of an Information Professional who is qualified to do research in basically any field. There are Librarians working for most film companies and researchers work on many TV shows, who do you think gets your iTunes music into all those nice little categories and easily searchable? Librarians 🙂 We do a lot more than you think, a friend of mine works at a radio station as a researcher and researches news items on the fly and feeds through information to the on air team.

Did you know all of this?

Here’s something we don’t understand… we don’t understand why you do it? Why is it so important for you to sneak eat all your chicken nuggets, smell out the Library and make the Librarians feel like you have absolutely no respect or regard for them as human beings?

WHY?!?!

The thing that kills me the most is that we have to be polite to you while you are crapping all over us. Because that is who we are, we are professionals and you are our clients. Don’t you worry though, because even though you disrespect us on a daily basis it’s not like we will remember your face and we will certainly do absolutely everything in our power to help you when you don’t know how to find information for your assignment that you only have five hours to write because you spent all your research time smuggling McDonalds into the Library.

Sure buddy that's gonna happen

Yup, sure buddy, no problem. I’ll be right there to help you with that…
http://www.reactiongifs.com/

So here is my wish… I wish that everytime that tell-tale hot food odour started wafting about, my consciousness would transport to my other body and my autopilot would handle the humiliation so I would not have to be aware of it. Where would my other body be? Anywhere but here 🙂


Social Media Addiction

So a little while ago I read this post http://kristenlynnwrites.com/2014/03/04/if-our-great-grandmothers-wouldve-had-facebook-and-twitter-when-they-were-young-mothers/ by Kristenlynnwrites and I loved it, it struck a chord with me, but in a different way than I would have expected when I started reading the piece. As I kept reading and giggling my way through the tweets I started thinking about the fact that because they didn’t have social media etc. they probably had a lot of time for other things. Then I read a comment by http://mrhairybrit.com/ that basically said exactly what I was thinking, “… the next generation is going to be a little lost in the world of social media”. I completely believe this in fact in some cases I feel like this is a bit of an understatement 🙂

Social media use is a little bit out of control, there I said it. Don’t get me wrong I use it, I absolutely use it and having lived in a few different places I find it a fabulous way to keep in touch with people I possibly wouldn’t be able to afford to keep in touch with otherwise. In fact I have done a lot of research and study into measuring and getting value out of social media technologies (which is likely evident from my last post) so I am certainly no Noob when it comes to the 2.0 world. What I have a problem with is the people that get so involved with their social media platforms that they basically spend more time posting their life on one platform or another than living it, that is where I think there is an issue. I believe we need a rehab clinic for social media addiction because trust me it is real!

So here are some prime examples of things happening on social media that drive me nuts:

  • Mums and Dads posting every breath of their child’s existence. Guys your kids want to make a connection with you, not the lens of your smartphone, put that down and play with them; you don’t need evidence of being a decent parent. In fact if all your interactions with them are through the lens you are not really exhibiting great parenting skills, stop observing and get in there! Someone doesn’t have to ‘like’ it on Facey for it to have meaning.
  • This next one was over the line and a totally legit reason to de-friend someone – recently the wife of a friend of mine had a bub, afterwards she posted photos of her C-section on FB… not okay! I wouldn’t want to see myself cut open like that, let alone anyone else… keep it in the family.
  • My husband and I got married 2 years ago – people were really surprised when it took us a month to change our relationship status to married (I don’t really know why they cared to be honest, but apparently it was a thing for them). When we were looking for someone to do our ceremony we kept seeing references to a Facebook inclusion, when I eventually asked what it was we were told that a lot of people after signing the register like to have an extra part where they update their status’ on Facey to say they are now married… ‘umm okay, no we won’t be having that. Yes I understand it is popular, we still don’t want it’. Since when was the ring, ceremony and massive party not enough evidence of the ‘I do’?
  • Selfies have gone too far! Yes I have taken them, yes I have posted them, yes I love the famous Ellen selfie, it is fabulous! But enough is enough… I do not need to see Belfies (Butt-selfies) which are just pure grot and who thought of that anyway?! The sheer amount of duckfaces I have seen in the past year have made me irrationally hate Daffy Duck a much loved icon of my childhood. And I have to say it… WTF is with after sex selfies?! How is this an okay thing to do? Vent, vent, vent, whinge, whinge, whinge. As a Librarian I have to admit that I do enjoy Shelfies, it’s a guilty pleasure to be able to have a perve at others bookshelves from the non-judgemental corner of my own home 🙂

So people go on with all these conspiracy theories about Big Brother watching and the government spying on everything we do, the thing is that if they wanted to they wouldn’t have to work very hard. I mean seriously, we are posting our entire lives to social media, all they would have to do is write an extremely basic program with some search terms and it would pull all of your information up. I can literally go onto my Facebook page right now and tell you everything one of my friends had to eat yesterday; seriously he posts every meal… I don’t even know what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I know he had a full continental breakfast in the lobby of a hotel near his work… does that not worry anybody else?

We have basically created our own strange version of The Truman Show; we have done this to ourselves. We are too quick to post stuff and we don’t think about the consequences, for example, did you know people Google you when you go for an interview? If you Google my brother’s name a certain way you will find a video of him setting off fireworks out of his butt from 5 years ago. Once the information is out there, you no longer have control of it.

What do your uploads say about your personal brand? http://www.brandnewmedia.com.au/blog/the-facebook-makeover

What do your uploads say about your personal brand? http://www.brandnewmedia.com.au/blog/the-facebook-makeover

So people please think before you upload and if you fit into any of the examples I have spoken about please seek a 12-step program in your area.


Marketing your Library’s Facebook page

First of all let me say that I am absolutely pro-use when it comes to Libraries utilising social networking platforms to connect with their clientele in new and interesting ways. The Pew Research Center (http://www.pewinternet.org) reported that as of September 2013 73% of online adults use social networking sites. That is huge! I don’t even want to think of the numbers for kids with their smartphone access and their Snapchat and their Instagram… that is a scary amount of people who are socially interacting via the internet. It is imperative that libraries get in on this action.

Found on http://kesocialmedia.com/

I am Pro Social Media!
Image from http://kesocialmedia.com/

I myself will admit to Googling before pulling out the yellow pages, I will check an organisations website to look at the information they have available rather than calling them, if they have a Facebook page or Twitter I will most definitely check that out. The use of social networking sites to me also feels like the organisation is more available or approachable because it is in a different setting. The business might close at 5pm and I can’t call them before then because I too am working, but at any time I can leave them a Facebook message and they might get back to me the next day. Sounds like email you say? Well it is basically, but the difference is that it is in a much less formal setting and in the case of Facebook it is in a platform that 71% of online adults use (http://www.pewinternet.org) so they are more comfortable with it than the formality of email. Well that is my opinion anyway.

So you have put your Library on Facebook… fantastic, good for you! You have created your Facebook page, put a lovely picture of your Library up and have been posting Library information on there at least once a day for 3 months, amazing! However, you only have 25 followers… and most of them are staff members, not such great news. In my experience this seems to be a common problem which usually stems from one of two things – lack of marketing or boring content. What I found surprising is that the former is the most common problem, people will not magically find your Facebook page, even if you put the little icon link on your Library website. It is not enough, you need more! You need to think of your Library Facebook page as a new service, because it is. It is a new way of obtaining information and interacting with not only the Library staff, but also other clients and you need to treat it as such.

Start marketing your brand new service

Start marketing your brand new service

So how do you market Facebook? Here are some ideas for an Academic Library:

  • When you have Library stalls during Orientation or Student Services week have up flyers that encourage students to ‘Like’ your Facebook page, include a QR Code at the bottom of the flyer so that students can get there easily.
  • You put up posters in the Library for everyone else, why not yourself? Put some up advertising the Library Facebook page. You could even have some bookmarks made up (an oldie, but a goodie) and give them out to students when they borrow.
  • When you do Library tours or Orientation talks this is a prime opportunity, don’t just talk about the page, go there. Show them how great the information is, encourage them to connect and interact with you. I generally do all the ‘Contact us’ stuff at the end of my presentations, I go through the different ways clients can contact us and say to them that we have tried to provide as many avenues of contact as we can effectively manage so that they can interact with us in whatever way is most comfortable or suitable for them. I then show them the kind of information we have on the Facebook page and finish up by asking if there are any questions. Word of mouth is still a powerful tool, use it!
  • You could target clients using computers, go around with some lollies or chocolate (always good motivators) or if you want to promote health perhaps you could take around a fruit basket and say that you are offering food as a bribe for people to ‘like’ your Facebook page. Be honest, they know what you are about so you don’t need to sugar-coat it!
  • If you have the budget for it you could get coffee vouchers from the Uni café and give them to clients once they have liked the page. From experience I have found that people will do much for a free coffee J

If you are a Public Library you could still do many of the above suggestions, you could also try something like:

  • If you have a Bookclub you could tell members that you will post information updates etc. on Facebook, encourage them to share their reviews of the book on Facebook too. Then you are actually marketing both your Facebook and your Bookclub.
  • Come story time you are generally inundated with Parents, Grandparents and children, use this opportunity. Tell them you post information regarding story times and even photos from story times on Facebook, you could even post information that will be useful to parents such as, how to read effectively to your children etc.
  • When you run competitions you could let entrants know that the winners will be posted on the Library’s Facebook page. If it is something like a poster competition you could even post pictures of the entries (make sure you let them know about this when they enter!).

There are so many options. Unfortunately the old Field of Dreams “if you build it, they will come” does not hold much water in the real world. You must put in the effort to reap the rewards.

Do you have any other ideas? Share them below.

Happy Facebooking!

Do it, you know you want to!

Do it, you know you want to!


Brand New Year

2013 was a crazy whirl-wind for me. I honestly kept trying to get to writing Libraries of the future – Part 2, but every time I sat down to do the research for it I got distracted or called away (let’s be honest, sometimes I was doing the research and kept finding interesting things and got carried away in my surfing endeavors) either way it will be forthcoming… eventually (kind of like George R. R. Martin’s next book haha).

I have been finished my Professional Library cadetship for a year now so have been in the job market and I am recently officially graduated – hooray! I have to say after spending a year in the ‘I am awesome please hire me chair’ I have learnt so much about applications and interviews. I’ll be honest (and blunt) my first couple of applications were BAD, I knew I was right for these roles, but I wasn’t even getting to interview. I was completely frustrated and quite a bit desperate because who can afford to be out of work these days! Then one night as I was plugging away at yet another set of selection criteria I had a thought… what if I approached this like a Uni assignment. I looked at my previous applications and evaluated them, I found them to be at pass, maybe credit level – P’s might get degrees, but they don’t get you in the interview chair. Then I looked at the assessments I received HD’s for – BIG difference in language, layout, pretty much everything. So I wrote my next application as though I was writing an assessment and my goal was to fit as much vital information in there as possible in a small word count without waffle – I got to interview. The fit for the role wasn’t right for me or them and it wasn’t a Librarian role so it didn’t go ahead, but I was onto a winner. I contacted an agency that specialises in placing Information Professionals and I applied for one of the contract roles they had and was working a week and a half later 15 minutes from home!!! Dream come true! The contract which was initially 2 months was extended to 9 and I have had the time of my life here – even meeting a life-size working R2-D2!

R2-D2 and me!

R2-D2 and me!

With my contract ending at the end of January I had to get back on the application trail, the problem being as many of you would know that most people don’t do a lot of hiring at Christmas. So I set up all my alerts and RSS feeds for a variety of online job advertisers and one morning the tell tale *ping* of an email arriving held a surprise. The University quite close to my home (yes it is a good one) had a really good 12 month position available (long service leave fill – the role is retiring and will become available after this time). I wasted no time in applying using my new method, a week and a half later I was in interview, 3 hours after the interview they were calling my referees so I knew I had done well and 3 days later I have been offered the role of Liaison Librarian in a great University Library. A little side-note to this tale is that it was one of the Libraries on my ‘I want to work there’ wish list Woo-Hoo!

Now in my case with this role I got a fairytale ending, but it could have easily gone very wrong. Here is where the learning experience came in. Please make sure you know your referees extremely well, you need to know that no matter what is happening with them you can rely on them to give you a good reference. In my case I hadn’t spoken to one of my referees as they called so quickly after the interview and something was going on with them at the time (I have no clue what so I cannot comment on this, but their response was very out of character and I have never seen or heard of this person acting this way they have always been completely lovely!) and their response to the call was that they didn’t know what they were talking about and didn’t have time to talk. Queue the panel member calling me and asking what is happening, luckily I was able to contact another of my ex bosses and get her okay to provide her details within half an hour (she is a complete doll and totally saved my hide!). If they hadn’t have wanted me enough to call and advise me of what had happened with my referee (which most places WOULD NOT DO! I need to stress that fact!) I would not have got this job – because of my referee. When I called the person I apologised for not speaking to them before they were called, but they would not accept my apology and simply said, “I guess you have learned a harsh lesson today” – OUCH! Obviously they felt that after that I wouldn’t get the role either, while I understood that this person felt blind sided by the call I was also hurt that they were willing to cost me the possibility of a job (therefore an income) to teach me a lesson. This was someone I always looked up to as a boss – mental note: I never want to end up like that!

So here are my tips to ensure this never happens to you:
1. Contact the person you want to use and ask them if they would be willing to do it for you – most places require you to enter your references at the time of application now so you need their okay early.
2. If you get an interview, let the people you put down as referees know and send them the position description for the role you have applied for. This means that they will know the role you have applied for and will be able to talk to your strengths in this area.
3. After your interview, just give them a heads up. A quick email or message is fine, something along the lines of, “Just finished my interview, I think I went pretty well. Thank you for being my reference, I hope they contact you. Fingers crossed”.

Hopefully they will in turn let you know if they were called and how they felt it went. If anyone else has any tips in this area or applying for roles or wants to share their story please feel free!

This post didn’t really end up the way I had planned, but I think I like where it ended up. So in the spirit of ‘where the wind may take me’ I am not even going to go back over and edit this post before I publish it – this kind of makes me want to chew on my nails, but here…we…go…


Libraries of the future – Part 1

Libraries are constantly evolving, this we know. But into what? What is the end product? Or will we remain in a constant state of evolution for all time? It could take years, decades, millennia etc. to gain the answer to that last question, but it is great fun to ponder and give yourself a migraine with all the possibilities. But don’t we as Librarians or rather Information Professionals have to evolve with the Library? Are we doing that successfully and to the best of our ability?

Here’s my question to you… what do you want the next evolution of Libraries to be?

This is a totally open ended question, there are no marks or prizes and you don’t need referencing to back up your theories. They can be completely new! Feel free to debate also.

Personally I can see the possibilities to a shift towards running Library client services divisions more like a retail outlet. Staff aren’t hiding behind the desks, but actively out on the floor connecting with clients. Kind of a roving reference, but we teach them not to force themselves on students. Nothing worse than those staff in stores that hover and won’t leave you alone to decide.

Connecting with clients

In the way distant future (or possibly sooner who knows) I can see a move to something along the lines of ANZ mobile lenders. Rather than students/clients coming in for Research Consultations, Librarians go out to their homes and show them how to search from their personal computers at home. Librarians could show them everything from how to download and set up endnote (including showing them how to have a mobile endnote library),  to how to construct search strategies, identify important journals and set up RSSFeeds. This would also require Librarians to be much more technically minded which honestly I think is sorely needed anyway.

We must become Super Librarians!

I can also see a path for Librarians embedded within faculties and schools and even stay at home Librarians, which would work somewhat like stay at home IT peoples. You have your other work to do, but are also logged in to receive calls and IMs.


Part 2 – Evaluative report

Part 2A. – Evaluative statement utilising OLJ experiences

I have chosen to focus on the three experiences in my OLJ that I gained the most from professionally. Interestingly, deciding which three entries which had been most beneficial proved rather difficult.

The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

As an Academic Librarian, a large part of my role is connecting information; staff are trained to locate and critically evaluate information for clients as well as teach them these skills so they can perform their own searches. Lorenzo’s ideas surrounding “information literacy” are very interesting (2007, p.2), it is not too late to learn this at University, but ultimately it would be best if people learnt these skills at a younger age. Compounding this is the fact that relying on the words “peer review” might not be an option for much longer (Wittenburg, 2007) and also that places like Google and Wikipedia appear to now be the “go to” for information (Garfinkel, 2008, p.84). Whilst reading and learning about this was valuable, it took a query from a student attempting to reference a Facebook post to make me realise how vital and current this topic really is. This experience allowed me to suggest and be involved in the evaluation of my workplace’s current reference guides in order to include social media.

Building a market strategy for social media

Utilising various platforms of social media is gaining popularity with Libraries. Whilst this provides a slightly less formal and more social interaction with clients, it is important the organisation is not represented poorly. Building a marketing strategy and policy prior to implementing any social media technology is vital. As discussed in my post, the questions outlined by Brown (2009) provide a sound foundation when building a marketing strategy. Two of the most important I feel are “Does the organisation have a social media policy?” and “Who is the target audience?”

A social media policy provides comprehensive guidelines regarding appropriate behaviour as deemed by the organisation, particularly in outlining socially acceptable practices, and cultural and ethical matters. This document assists staff engaging with clients via social media and clearly defines what is suitable to be publicised in this arena, preventing any embarrassment to the staff or the organisation as a whole (Schrier, 2011). Previously I had no knowledge of social media policies. However, due to knowledge gained through my studies, my assistance was requested in the creation of a social media policy for my workplace. The resulting document covers all social media currently used and is suitable for application to any additional platforms the Library wishes to explore.

My newfound knowledge also resulted in being asked to contribute to the evaluation of the social media platforms the Library uses, regarding effectiveness, improvements and possible expansion to other technologies. I introduced Bernoff’s (2012) Social Technographics profiles to staff involved and all found these extremely intriguing, they were referred to during the evaluation of the platforms. Consequently, when evaluating information gained (for example from Facebook statistics) and looking at the profiles, we were able to provide meaningful, considered suggestions.

 What is a Librarian in a web 2.0 world?

Prior to undertaking this subject I engaged in social networking and felt I had a reasonable understanding of what constituted “Librarian 2.0”. However, this subject made me consider this concept afresh. The works of Harvey (2009) and Abram (2012) instilled realisation that one did not gain the title “Librarian 2.0” by simply knowing how to use a few social media platforms. To remain relevant, I feel it is vital for Libraries to attain “Library 2.0” status and this begins with the Library’s staff.

Originally for this post I provided what I felt were basic vital skills for Librarians to possess. I still agree with this list, however after further completion of this subject I believe it essential to include information fluency – the ability to unconsciously and smoothly move between the critical skills of finding relevant information, devising solutions, collaborating, creating and communicating (Lorenzo, 2007, p.2). Librarians not only need this skill, but also the ability to teach it to others.

Currently a large portion of staff at my workplace does not hold the skills discussed above. As a University Library this isn’t ideal, therefore I have dialogued with management and recommended they consider:

  • engaging staff in professional development sessions surrounding these areas;
  • raising the current accepted IT competency level for all staff;
  • investigating ways staff who do not have one, could develop a Personal Learning Network (Klingensmith, 2009),
  • encouraging staff to get their own RSS reader, subscribe to professional sites and spend 30minutes per day engaging in professional reading.

Part 2B. – Reflective statement on development

This subject was chosen due to personal interest in social media and my growing belief that knowledge of social media and its potential is vital to Librarians of the future. I was unprepared for the large impact this subject had on my skills in this area generally and in my workplace specifically. Multiple opportunities for involvement with projects have eventuated due to knowledge gained from this subject. These include:

  • Creating a social media policy for the organisation:
    I liaised with the Marketing & Promotions Officer in the research and writing of this policy. This was my first attempt at policy writing; knowledge gained from this subject gave me the confidence I needed. This document is in draft form, but is close to completion.
  • Being involved with future social media planning for the Library:
    I was involved in creating questions for focus groups with students regarding the Library’s social media presence. Subsequently, I aided in assessing the data collected and making suggestions to management in a report.
  • Reviewing the Library’s current social media platforms, assessing their success and recommending improvements:
    I volunteered for a staff group formed to discuss the Library’s social media presence. This group reviewed the current situation (taking into account staff opinion and student responses from the focus groups mentioned previously) and discussed possible improvements and additions.
  • reviewing and improving our website:
    As a result of exploring RSS feeds offered by other University Libraries, I realised our own RSS page was inadequate. The page was outdated and not easily locatable from the homepage even if searching for it. I approached my manager and received permission to update the page. Also flagged for 2013 is investigating ways to offer more via RSS than we previously have. This page still isn’t as visible as I would like, but it is still progress.
  • In addition to the above, I am now a regular contributor to the Library’s Facebook content.

RSS feeds page

Through the completion of assignment two I gained many skills, including:

  • Comprehensive project planning,
  • Evaluating social media technologies against an organisation’s business plan or mission statement to ascertain which technologies could meet organisational needs.
  • Research for this assignment also unveiled a technology called Hootsuite which allows pre-programming of Facebook posts (Hootsuite media inc., 2012). For social media to be successful it needs to be “active”; unless it is well maintained it will not be used by clients, therefore content needs to be regularly added (Brown, 2010). Previously my workplace did not post messages over weekends and holidays, but now utilises Hootsuite to make such posts.

Something really unexpected resulting from this subject was a personal issue of knowledge management regarding tacit knowledge. This subject provided me with new knowledge and skills and I was motivated to use them in my workplace. Some knowledge is easily imparted by providing staff with research to inform themselves or providing management with suggestions. Whereas, the tacit knowledge I gained from this subject is more difficult to impart and I am still seeking ways to effectively and successfully do this (Oye, Salleh & Noorminshah, p.72).

Prior to this subject I had a WordPress blog. Whilst I occasionally wrote a Library-related post it was certainly not a professional blog. Since posting professional content I have noticed a marked increase in visits to my blog  as well as comments. Initially I assumed that these were other students in the course, however my post titled “The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world” was scooped by Joyce Valenza for her Scoop.it! toolkit entitled, “Information Fluency transliteracy research tools” (Valenza, n.d.). This was the first time I felt not like a student, but like a professional who has information worth contributing. Writing professionally has encouraged me to read widely and keep abreast of new trends, it pushed me to refine my RSS feeds to ensure I receive valuable, relevant content and made me think of myself in a wider context than just my workplace.

This subject has had a huge impact on my knowledge, skills and has opened up new avenues for me professionally. It has made me aware of the necessity of keeping abreast of developments in social networking technologies to be truly effective in my career. It is easy to become entrenched in the day-to-day workload and accept the status quo. However, for an informational professional, knowledgeable about developments and innovations in information dissemination and communication is essential. This should be easier for me in the future with the establishment of my PLN, Twitter account and RSS feeds instigated by this course. The success I have experienced with my blog has also inspired me to continue professionally posting.

 

References

Bernoff, J. (2012). The global social takeover. Retrieved fromhttp://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2012/01/the-global-social-takeover.html  on 15 September, 2012.

Brown, A. (2010). A to Z of social networking for libraries. Retrieved from http://socialnetworkinglibrarian.com/2010/01/22/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/ on 30 July, 2012.

Brown, A. L. (2009). Developing an effective social media marketing strategy. Salt Lake city social media examiner, Retrieved fromhttp://www.examiner.com/article/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy on 15 September, 2012.

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84.

Hootsuite media inc. (2012). Social network management. Retrieved from http://hootsuite.com/features/social-networks on 31 August, 2012.

Klingensmith, K. (2009). PLN: Your personal learning network made easy. Retrieved from http://onceateacher.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/pln-your-personal-learning-network-made-easy/ on 7 August, 2012.

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. (March). Retrieved fromhttp://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Oye, N.D., Salleh, M. & Noorminshah, A. (2011). Knowledge sharing in the workplace: Motivators and demotivators. International journal of managing information technology, 3(4), p.71-84.

Schrier, R. A. (2011). Digital Librarianship & Social Media: the Digital Library as Conversation Facilitator. D-lib Magazine, 17(7/8). Retrieved from http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html on October 6, 2012.

Valenza, J. (n.d.) Information Fluency Transliteracy research tools: Helping learners perform more meaningful research. Retrieved from http://www.scoop.it/t/research-skills-and-tools on October 8, 2012.

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Available http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101


The challenge of finding authentic information in a socially networked world

The way in which users are connecting with information is constantly changing, new trends, apps etc. come out every day. Users are literally bombarded with information from an endless variety of places, but how are they to know what information is to be trusted? Lorenzo (2007, p.2) discusses people moving towards building “information fluency”, this refers to being proficient in three skills; “basic information technology skills (including computer literacy), information literacy skills, and critical thinking skills”. Wittenberg (2007) also discusses the credibility of information and what students need to accomplish this, she also posits the idea that the much-loved “peer review” system of the Academic world may be coming to an end. Garfinkel’s (2008, p.84) article supports Wittenberg’s theory through his discussions on Wikipedia being the primary source for information on the Internet. A large number of researchers cite it as background reading and Garfinkel confesses that the majority of the article was created using Wikipedia as the information resource (2008, p.84).

From reading these three articles I believe the following two messages are important:

1) Find new ways: No longer does there seem to be a hard and fast “right” way to find authentic content. We need to develop alternative ways of identifying or critically analysing information, more important than identifying these alternate avenues is finding a way to provide our clients with these skills. We cannot always be there with our clients, but by providing them with “information fluency” skills (Lorenzo, 2007, p.2) we enable them to locate and analyse resources on their own.

2) What is authentic? Or what is being now accepted as being authentic? The majority of information seekers now use Google as their first source of information (Kaur & Singh, 2011, p.738). When users are googling for answers more often than not Wikipedia articles are the first or second listed results. That these articles are so high in the results means they are frequently used (Garfinkel, 2008, p.84).

As a staff member of an Academic Library it is important for me to know whether if a lecturer will accept a student using Wikipedia, particularly if they can verify the information in a second source. Recently a student came into the Library for assistance with his referencing, it turned out he was having difficulty referencing a Facebook post using Harvard Author Date as he could find no reference to Social Media referencing on the guide. It seems that in some subjects Facebook is now acceptable as a resource.

 

References

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84.

Kiran Kaur, Diljit Singh, (2011),”Customer service for academic library users on the web”, The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 Iss: 6 pp. 737 – 750

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the new education culture. (March). Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Available http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101