Tuesday, September 30, 2008


As I mentioned in a previous post, I do use review websites (frequently) in my personal life. I also use them in my professional life. As a collection development librarian, I read a number of different review resources in order to purchase the best content I possible can for my collection. I really like to use Amazon, because it not only gives tidbits from sources like Publisher’s Weekly, Choice, and The Washington Post, it also shows user reviews. If there are a number of substantive, unbiased user reviews, I will take these into consideration when selecting books. If a number of college students commented that they found a particular book to be very dense and hard-to-read, I will take that into account when selecting books.

Here is a link to a review I wrote about one of my favorite books

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Social networking...personally and professionally

I must say that I’ve been using social networking tools in my private life for a few years now. In high school, I was online AOL all the time chatting to friends or using the discussion forums to practice my German. In college, I was constantly on AIM; I think I used it more than any of my phones. Currently I use a number of social networking tools in my personal life. I am addicted to Facebook, as it helps me to stay in touch with family and friends from high school, college, grad schools, etc. I use Flickr to keep in touch visually with my family in Pennsylvania and Twitter to share my random thoughts with friends and family. I also use Yelp all the time to get reviews on everything from restaurants to yoga studios. Etsy, although not purely a social networking site, is another addiction of mine. It introduces me to new crafts and unique handmade objects that I normally would never have seen.

I have had a much harder time finding a use for social networking sites in my professional life however. I am on Linked In, but I haven’t really taken advantage of that tool yet. I do join ALA-related Facebook groups to get information and news, and I also read some professional blogs. Some of the reference librarians at my Library are currently attempting implement a staff planning wiki. We hope to pilot this wiki with our blog planning, so I don’t have any feedback to report on staff planning wikis yet. The same reference librarians have also created a delicious account. The reference librarians collect links that they have found useful and post them on delicious to share with the rest of the staff. This is also a very new project, so I don’t have too much feedback yet. I have toyed with the idea of creating a Facebook page for our library, but I have not really seen a successful library Facebook page yet. (Although I would love to hear of others’ experiences with this tool!) I am hoping that by reading some of my classmates’ posts that I will get more ideas for the implementation of social networking tools in libraries. Has anyone used Second Life professionally? I have heard of some libraries/librarians doing this, and I am really curious to hear how they did it/how it was received.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 26, 2008

What's a library blog good for?

Hmmmm…now that’s a good question. My library is currently in the beginning stages of planning a blog, so we have already started to think of answers to this question. All of us realize that if it isn’t going to help or interest our community, it’s not worth the time and effort. However, we do feel that there are a number of things that the community would find helpful (and maybe even…dare I say it…fun or interesting!).

First, we think that it would be a great way to showcase our collections and services to our community. Our school is increasingly getting into online education, so we will not always have patrons who will be able to enter the physical library. This would a great way to reach this particular population. We’ve thought of doing something like “the database of the month” and perhaps highlighting that database with related trivia questions.

Also, we have displays in the library that we could also do online. One example of this is our “Word Wise” program. One of our part-time reference librarians picks a word a week and makes signs with two examples of how the word has been used in sentences. We then post one sign on the reference desk and another above the dictionary stand (with the dictionary opened to the word’s entry). This could certainly be done online with links leading patrons to our online subscription to the OED.

Another way to use the blog would be to update the community on general library news (quiet study hours, group study rooms, library events, keeping valuables safe, etc.). For more temporary news bits, I think implementing a Twitter feed on the blog would be really great. (See U. Illinois UC’s Undergrad Library’s UGL Alerts for a great example of this : http://www.library.uiuc.edu/ugl/). It is not uncommon for us to have a printer or two go down for a little bit during the height of the semester, and this would be one way to inform our patrons. In addition, we have 24 computers in our library’s reading room that serve as our dedicated teaching space, so we could alert patron’s to these computers’ availability and direct them to the computer lab if need be. And of course we can also inform patrons about snow closings, which is always an issue in Boston!

Finally, our staff likes that our community could receive updates to their emails, feed readers, or mobile devices. This means that patrons could stay up-to-date at their convenience, even when the library is closed (including during longer holiday breaks or the summer).

I’d love to hear other suggestions or feedback, as we are meeting next Tuesday to start planning and dividing the work among our staff members.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Hi everyone! This where I will be sharing my adventures in libraries and 2.0. To see one of my current projects, please click here. Thanks for stopping by!