TL Ponderings


Reflective Statement

Progression through this course has involved a huge learning curve for me (and the teachers at my school who have taken up the new wiki I have set up). It has been a journey of discovery concerning the progressing world of social media and networking and the amazing contribution web 2.0 technologies can make to a new and improved participatory library. In particular I have experienced much serendipitous learning that I have been able to transfer from web 2.0 tool to tool such as the ease of use of the wikis (two years ago I toyed with starting one up but found it too daunting and the time needed to develop my skills too great). Furthermore I have made some deep seated changes within the way I work, habitual change, I now scan my RSS feeds daily, although I don’t let it rule my day and many more of the solutions I come up with for the teachers involve social networking tools rather than ramdon links and photocopies. As the evolution of change that started in the 1970’s surrounding the placement of the user at the centre of library services continues to progress through to best practice for today, being those information institutions who seek the contributions and feedback of users through online mobile devices, my outlook for the future appears exciting, challenging, encouraging and enjoyable.

The areas I have found particularly interesting throughout the modules have been the overwhelming dominance of digital technology amongst a majority of users in the western world (OCLC Report, 2007). I was aware of the prevalence of such technology for the .com generation but was surprised at the rate of uptake for others in our community. The growing power of the behind the scenes mechanics of Internet giants such as Google and Facebook in gathering information about you and filtering your searches according to some algorithm, challenge of finding authentic information on the web and the issues surrounding security, privacy and identity have all certainly intrigued me. I have become a much more discerning user of the internet and in my role as a Teacher Librarian have begun to inform my peers, through small information bites on email (my personal tweets to them), my schools preferred online communication method, although over the next months the wiki will be further developed to include a general school communication page. By educating primary aged students early enough about their digital footprints I hope to ensure that as they become teenagers and enter the workforce they will not have ghosts in the wires that follow them around.  I have been pleasantly surprised at the ease and effectiveness of using Facebook for this subject and my adventures into secondlife although, unfortunately I can’t see them being used in my primary setting for many years to come – although I am happy to say I will be ready when the time comes and am looking for an alternative in the meantime.

Areas I have found most useful for my everyday work has definitely been the recognition and development of my online social networking, my PLN. My involvement is changing making my memberships of online networks more into communities of practice where I now find myself asking, and once or twice, answering queries particularly in regards to my involvement on a Teacher Librarian listserve as opposed to hovering.  I certainly harness the web 2.0 tool of RSS feeds much more effectively (again contributing to my PLN) – my understanding and appreciation of this online tool has grown and I regularly follow a variety of tweets, (although I am yet to activate any of these facilities on my mobile device as I am still worry about falling into stage 3 of PLN adoption where I lose perspective). I love my wiki, I love the way many of the teachers in my school have embraced it and of course I look forward to learning from the students as they take it up and run with it. Slow and steady in introducing library 2.0, I have 6 months to plan for new furniture in the library and therefore six months to convince our leadership of the benefits of a monitor to display student’s social media and to play interactive virtual games resulting in transference of knowledge. The need to educate both teachers and students to be critical about authentic information and information literacies, including  transliteracies,  will be written into my programs from term 3 on.

Areas I have found most challenging – incorporating web 2.0 technologies in a meaningful way, not just for the sake of technology. The urgent need for revamped policies and procedures surround library 2.0 in particular how to monitor its effectiveness. Finally, I have begun to develop a library page for my school, one that fosters community, communication, collaboration, creativity and crowdsourcing, through the embedding of web 2.0 tools into its platform.

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

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Marketing Strategy

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
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After reading Brown and Bernoff & Li the following steps have been adapted to suit the primary setting I currently work in. The aim is to set up a library web page that has links to a blog and the school’s wikis (from assignment 1), the catalogue and other online resources useful to my users.

  1. Be clear about what your intention is for setting up a social media/networking/collaborative/communication space. Talk to members of your staff to make a collaborative decision. Decide on goals and audience.
  2. Know your users – target market – then segment your approach. There are different requirements for students (infants and primary), teachers, leadership team, parents and the wider community.
  3. Define what and how much activity on the site is needed to determine whether you are succeeding (schools are all about accountability!).
  4. Get the boss onside. For that matter, get everyone onside (isn’t that what marketing is all about – appeal to their needs and then provide a solution).
  5. Allocate a specific amount of time each day/week to the social venture (it can become all-consuming – ‘know it all’ third stage of Jeff Utecht’s Stages of PLN Adoption to the detriment of other necessary/worthwhile strategies conversely, inactivity makes for a boring, useless site).
  6. Market your site. Use the newsletter, class time, homework activities, staff meetings, staff room conversations, email leading to RSS, posters, pamphlets, post its, twitter – any method at your disposal. If they don’t know about it, they won’t use it or benefit from it.
  7. Evaluate the site at regular intervals, this is not confused with up-dating, adding, responding, communicating, collaborating, creating but rather stepping back with clear guidelines, looking at the site statistics and possibly improving.
  8. Finally, the new catch cry for my own personal learning journey – have fun, enjoy, grow!

Why is marketing so important? In today’s climate where budgets are tight and the illusion that all the answers are on the Internet, it is vitally important to reach out to the user, show them the value-added content and services a library can provide for them and invite them to participate, communication and collaborate in the ongoing development of the library. More online activity results in evidence of the information professionals success and worth to the organisation.

Brown, AL. (2009). Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy, in Salt Lake City Social Media Examiner (30 July)

Bernoff, J. & Li, C. (2010) Groundswell excerpt,http://www.forrester.com/groundswell/assets/groundswell_excerpt.pdf

Librarian 2.0

Knowledge, skills and attributes of an information professional in a web 2.0 world or change and user focus.

Embrace change and create a communicative platform between the users and the organisation and services. We need an awareness of the needs of  users that can only come from letting them into the organisation which has been enabled by the current technology; the user should drive the content and the services while the librarian is the facilitator of this collaboration.  Be careful not to slip back into letting the system determine the activity, content, collaboration, communication because we get so bogged down with the amount of social networking tools out there. Embrace technology that is right for you and appropriate to your users (Harvey, 2009) slowly introduce the new, few tools at a time and marry them to the old successful methods of your library. We are opportunistically positioned to guarantee the survival of the library profession by using our knowledge and insights to become change leaders and influence the new dynamic (Abram, 2007). Remember we are the gateway to user success and knowledge creation particularly for the student. Learn from those around us, the user especially and be prepared to make mistakes ensuring that you learn from them. When it seems you can’t keep up remember there is a community out there, tap into that collective intelligence by utilising your own PLN. Finally have fun, love your work, greet each day in the knowledge that both you and your users will learn and/or create something new, rejoice in it!

Harvey, M. (2009). What does it mean to be a Science Librarian 2.0? Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (Summer). Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/09-summer/article2.html

Abram, S. (2007) paper at the Online Information 2007 Conference where he tries to define the ‘work’ of a Librarian 2.0, Web 2.0, library 2.0 and librarian 2.0: Preparing for the 2.0 world

Criteria for Library Web Site Design

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
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The readings suggested for this activity give a comprehensive look at factors that influence website design by examining best practice libraries, children’s websites, online library identity and web 2.0 architecture. After scanning several library sites that may be of interest to my students, the audience, I decided to examine Parramatta City Council Library  which is not too far from my school. The page has a clean, fresh feel to it and is easily identifiable with the council home page through the use of a brand. There are several different options to search for resources prominent across the top which utilises a tabbed federated search box, with the body of the page dedicated to library news, promotion, and upcoming events keeping the site current and the content relevant. Navigation around the site is straight forward although you need to know the site map to link back to the library home page. The e-Resources page has a very clear guide to use and provides links to many ‘reliable’ online databases, no silo here. There are several ways to contact the librarian; through live support (leaving a phone message not really asynchronous communication), email and of course in person. Customer feedback seems important with an invitation to comment on your experience, positive or negative through paper form and online through contact us. The library has several Web 2.0 tools which enhance communication and engagement element that foster social networking, there is also a mobile element through Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and You tube and the library runs a separate blog to foster collaboration and possibly folksonomy in tagging. The style of the blog page ‘Parra Reads’  changes markedly from the main page making it more inviting through colour and a book shelf design.

Overall this library page fairs well with regards to the many criteria presented in the readings. Its pages don’t really have a high visual appeal nor do they particularly invite you into the physical library itself. It does not provide information
literacy tutorials, (possibly utilising podcasts) or how to’s or services available, nor does the site discriminate for different users for example children, or the many cultures residing in the area, the links catering for different languages are not that obvious.

Governor, J., Hinchcliffe, D, & Nickull, D. (2009). Web 2.0 architectures (1st ed.). Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media. [ebook] Available http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/9780596514433

Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practices, Smashing Magazine, (27 November). Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/27/designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/

Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February). Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6634712.html?industryid=47126

McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/share/2510

Building Academic Library 2.0

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
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Meredith Farkes, the keynote speaker in Building Academic Library 2.0 (2007)  speaks of transforming your library into a place where students want to be, whether it is online or in the  physical space. I particularly liked her definition of library 2.0 being an evolution of library 1.0 and the role of the librarian since the user centred paradigm shift of the 70’s – libraries support change, libraries can lead change. Of the many ideas, suggestions and evidence that Meredith and other speakers presented, the following have relevance to my situation as a primary school TL.

The overarching point of this presentation is the needs of the user. How do they ‘navigate the tectonic plates of information’ that we all sail in? In my situation most teachers are, dare I say, reluctant to change what has always worked, (only I hear them complaining about the behaviour of students, maybe they do need to engage the students more – TL to the rescue!).  A balance is needed, start with the willing then expand to the wary. I need to understand where the teachers are coming from then, slow and steady, introduce new/easier/more engaging ways of doing the same thing – spelling lists from spellingcity.com, maths homework through the 2100ctk wiki (assessment 1 project), group work using wiki, google docs , presentation on prezi. I see a major part of my role over the next few years as always being available to the teachers to show them individually and in professional development opportunities new ways of doing things library 2.0 style, understanding want they do and their skills then providing for their needs. This could be done through mini podcasts then RSS feeds, help sheets provided online, video examples of change working.

Allow the user to become a partner in the development of the library’s resources. Build participation and hence a sense of ownership, trust the user and in turn they will trust you. We are all participants in the creation of knowledge and the development of the web. Providing an avenue for students to review books, suggest new reads (2.0 online through a blog/wiki or 1.0 creating posters, blurbs, suggestion books) then taking the terms that they have used and adding them as tags (folksonomy). Providing a terminal for instant communication using wallwisher.com , building trust.

Marketing of libraries reminds me of the role of the TL as a change leader and of promoting the services of the library. Regular columns in the newsletter and promoting and celebrating activities on the school website, getting the students to  write/blog/collaborate on their learning journey in library time, encouraging the schools completion of the Premier’s Reading Challenge and celebrating it, incorporating guided enquiry  into library lessons and then presenting the students evaluations as evidence of library work. Could I twitter activities to the parents?

Be aware of the opportunities around you, continual professional development of the TL. I cannot take on everything that I see but of the 25 new tools, maybe there is one that will suit the needs of my users. I need to collaborate more myself and look at what others are doing, Meredith calls it extrapolating information, broadening my network to include a larger variety of information agencies and businesses, who are successfully targeting my users – teachers, students and parents?