Posts Tagged ‘libraries’

Before investigating the world of social media, it is wise for organisations to develop and implement a policy that will determine how these new technologies may be used. While some organisations only focus on the mitigating risks and not having a social media public relations issue (similar to Commbank did recently), a policy can also act as a guideline for all employees and give them a sense of how they can use social media technologies to communicate both personally and professionally.

Developing a social media policy is something that needs to be considered as carefully as any other policy, to ensure that all aspects are covered. Below are just a few things to consider when creating the policy.

1. Teamwork – a cross functional team should be created to work on the policy to ensure a wide range of experience and viewpoints. It would be useful to have someone from management to lend credence to the policy, as well as someone from the marketing or communications team, an advisor from the legal team and the HR team, as well as a couple of employees. Ideally, the team would include people from different generations, to help cover the issues as they may be faced by different employees.

2. Consultation – To determine what content needs to be covered in the policy, it is important to consult widely with the organisation and understand how employees use social media. Once that is done, an appropriate plan for that usage can be worked out.

3. Risk Management – Any risks need to be identified, planned for and managed carefully. Some of the more critical risks include the release of confidential or sensitive information, lost productivity due to employees using social media excessively, harassment between colleagues or inappropriate behaviour between employees and members of the public.

4. Terms of Use – guidelines need to be decided upon and advertised widely both within the organisation and externally. These guidelines would cover acceptable behaviour, values and there should be clearly defined ramifications for non-compliance, which are dealt with immediately.

5. Policy Review – Once these guidelines have been developed, any existing organisational policies need to be reviewed and amended as necessary. Policies that may be influenced by social media use include records management, IT, information security, privacy and HR/code of conduct.

With a carefully thought out social media policy, organisations may find they have a much deeper connection with their community and greater brand recognition.

Reading List

With the advent of Web 2.0, it seems that the “2.0” moniker has been used for all sorts of concepts, including Government 2.0, Bank 2.0, Vegemite’s iSnack 2.0(!), as well as Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0. This has caused some confusion about the skills and attributes required by library professionals in the 2.0 world.

 

With so many new technologies and resources being developed every day, librarians need to be adaptable, continuously learning and evaluating new technologies to find the ones that work for our clients. We can not be risk averse; rather, we need to trust in our evaluative skills and our knowledge of our clients to find the best path forward.

 

In order to find the best solutions for our clients, we need to experiment, play with new resources and tools and communicate with our clients about what they need and what works for them. We need to be confident about providing their information needs, even if that means using resources that are not traditionally found in libraries (i.e. links to Google Books, Amazon or so on). In the Web 2.0 world, our clients will find their information one way or another, so we have the opportunity to market ourselves as being able to provide information anytime, anywhere and on any technology our clients use.

 

We need to collaborate and communicate with our clients on a much broader scale, using a wide variety of mediums, including in person, telephone, library website, social networking sites, blogs/wikis, VOIP, mashups, and anything else that they use. In order to do that, we need to keep our technology skills up to date and continuously learning. Training skills will be even more important as we help clients become familiar with some of these tools.

 

Trusting our users is vital. We need their input on what works for them and their collaboration will help to make our collections and knowledge a lot more relevant to the community as a whole. In fact, many of the skills required by a Librarian 2.0 are skills that information professionals have been obtaining for many years. The biggest change however, may be the closer relationships we have with our clients and the level of influence they have into our libraries.

 

Reading List

 

Library websites have come a long way in the past ten years, however there are still advances that can be made. While reading a number of articles (as listed in the references below), I have compiled a list of ten criteria for effective library website design.

  1. Simple navigation with search box on each page for easy access to resources
  2. Regularly updated website to help engage clients
  3. Promoting library resources
  4. Segment website to market to different groups of users – kids, teens, adults
  5. Use bright colours, animation, sounds for kids to promote a fun, happy experience
  6. Mobile friendly pages – text only options
  7. Using social networking to deliver targeted messaging to different groups of clients and promote two way communications
  8. Using social networking for reference services (Ask A Librarian)
  9. Allowing interaction in form of wikis or blogs etc (Trust your users)
  10. Not only allowing feedback, but posting feedback and responses on website 

To test out my criteria, I investigated the Melbourne Library Service website (http://www.citylibrary.org.au) to see how it used website design to meet its library clients’ needs.

  1. The website is very easy to navigate, with a simple menu down the left hand side. The search box at the top of the page is shown on every page on the site. It provides a simple search of the entire library’s collection. An advanced search is also available.
  2. The home page contains news of the latest events, which is updated very regularly, along with other news, such as the recent refurbishment of one of the branches. It would be helpful if the pages included a last updated date on the bottom to show currency.
  3. The library promotes its services well. On the home page, they currently have advertisements for their new Japanese collection, Online Information and Elibrary downloads. These advertisements change regularly.
  4. The City Library has two pages targeting particular age groups, a kids page and a teen page. The kids page appears to be targeted more towards parents, rather than the kids themselves. The teens page has lots of links to resources for teens, but it is not designed in a way that teens would be engaged with it.
  5. Both the kids and teens pages need to be redesigned using design features and technology that will attract these groups, including games, video and sound.
  6. The website does not have a mobile friendly or text only option.
  7. Melbourne Library Service have a Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melbourne-Library-Service/118103338213507) where the staff interact with clients and promote their resources.
  8. The website does not include an online reference service, either on their website or via their Facebook fan page.
  9. City Library does not have any wikis or blogs that clients can interact with staff on. There is this feature on the Facebook fan page however.
  10. There is a feedback form on the library website, however previous feedback and responses have not been published. Publishing this information will help promote transparency and help clients trust that the library is listening and responding to their comments.

References