(a) An evaluative statement using three (3) experiences documented in your OLJ as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject (@750 words)
The first learning objective to be addressed explores the concepts, theory and practice of library 2.0 and participatory library service. The blog post that best explores this concept is ‘Building Academic Library 2.0’. This post refers to the You Tube video of the same name and has many important reflections on the concept of library 2.0 (UC Berkeley Events, 2007). As I am not yet a teacher librarian, I found this video to be a useful starting point to help clarify what library 2.0 means. Wagner’s statements about working in partnership with users and his emphasis on service (2007) was a good starting point in terms of building my knowledge. Wagner urges that it is not simply about having the technology but focusing on how such technology is delivered that is important to encourage participation (2007). This helped to clarify my understanding of not only Library 2.0 but my role within such a concept. The keynote speaker, Meredith Farkas, also made some salient comments that helped to build my knowledge of library 2.0 and participatory library service. Farkas encourages participation, indeed ‘radical trust’ and urges librarians to allow users to give feedback on various social networking sites. Farkas also urges librarians to ‘know your users’ (2007). To me this piece of advice was at the core of library 2.0 as I feel it is easy to become overwhelmed when evaluating all the available technology. Therefore, knowing users, allowing them to participate, provide feedback and be partners in the learning journey seems to be at the core of library 2.0 and participatory library service.
The next learning objectives to be addressed are examining the features and functionality of social networking tools to meet the information needs of users and evaluating social networking technologies and software to support the needs of various groups. The blog post that addresses these objectives is the ‘Criteria for Library Websites Task’. This post looks at the criteria that a library needs to consider in order to design an effective website. In order to do this, libraries need to understand the information needs of their users and they need to select appropriate social networking tools to meet these needs. It is clear from the statistic in the McBurnie reading that ‘more than 70% of 16-24 year olds visited social networking sites’ (2007), that some form of social networking function needs to be utilised to meet the needs of the users of today. In light of this, and keeping in mind the advice of Farkas about ‘knowing your users’ (2007), criteria such as a help function, providing multiple ways to communicate with users to better ascertain their needs, having a mobile friendly site and including some form of student creation or co-creation in terms of using web 2.0 tools have been included. Matthews also echoes the importance of feedback when designing sites (2009). Added to this I feel that it is vitally important to market library services to users, let them know what the library can do and what information it can provide. As Dempsey states ‘libraries must demonstrate value in the context of growing competition for resources’ (2009). I thought such promotion was done really well in a succinct and fun manner in the library minute videos (Arizona State University, 2011).
The final learning objective is that of demonstrating an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world and how policy is developed to support such issues. As I am not yet a teacher librarian I found this more challenging but it has also brought to my attention the need to keep such issues in mind. The blog post that addresses these issues is ‘Identity, Privacy, Security and Trust’. The OCLC report highlighted to me the importance of keeping library information confidential (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007). I also find the idea posed by Raynes-Goldie of ‘context collision’ (2007) an interesting one in terms of the use of Facebook as I find it difficult to know what should be shared and the tone to use when creating a library profile. The advice from Harris, helped to clarify this in the recommendation that creating a professional/organisational profile as separate from a personal profile is the best way to market library services while avoiding any personal or ethical issues arising (2010). It is from this reading that the issue of policy was also raised, as the world of social networking is an ever changing and evolving one it is hard to develop policies that keep up with the rapid pace of change. I do, however, firmly believe in Harris’ advice that it is important to follow education board policies and work in partnership with your principal when creating social networking sites and resources in an educational context (2010). This learning objective has been particularly informative for me and has been an area I am particularly concerned about as there can be controversy surrounding social media when working with secondary students. The readings surrounding this subject have raised a lot of key issues that I now feel better informed about and more able to confidently address when I begin my new role as a teacher librarian.
(b) A reflective statement on your development as a social networker as a result of studying INF506, and the implications for your development as an information professional (@750 words).
As a result of this course I feel that my skills as a social networker have grown somewhat over the course of the semester and that my digital footprint has certainly increased. I was already a member of Facebook and had had experience of social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest and had been blogging using WordPress. Therefore, I felt somewhat at ease with many of the social networking technologies used in the course. I was particularly pleased with the requirement to open a Delicious account as I have found it incredibly useful as a bookmarking tool. I was also interested to learn about the educational benefits of Web 2.0 tools such as tagging, podcasts and QR codes etc.
While I felt reasonably comfortable as a social networker, I feel that the biggest development I have made is as an information professional. I work in a school where social networking sites have been banned due to bullying issues and as teachers we have been told not to have Facebook accounts. Therefore, I was aware of some of the negative consequences of social networking sites, however, I chose this course as my elective as I am convinced that social networking is something that needs to be embraced by schools to retain relevance and to reach the next generation of students.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed both with the availability of so many Web 2.0 technologies and in terms of how to market such technologies to both teachers and students. This course has given me some valuable ideas as to how to better meet the needs of users. In this area I found Schrier discussed some interesting principles that have helped me develop as an information professional. Schrier’s first principle is that of ‘listening’ and being able to ‘identify topics that will be relevant to conversations already taking place in the online environment’ (2011). This principle will certainly be a guiding one for me as I embark on my career as an information professional. Schrier also discusses two more principles that have helped me develop my knowledge of what it takes to be an information professional, these principles being ‘participation’ and ‘transparency’ (2011). As a future teacher librarian I was focused on how I would build a quality collection of resources for students but Schrier’s point that the ‘library does not prove its authoritativeness solely through the quality of its holdings, it must also prove it through the quality of the librarians’ interactions with its users’ (2011) is certainly one that has made me realise that putting a human face to the library is still important and that libraries should ‘push their genuinely valuable content, services and expertise out to places where people might stand to benefit from them’ (Miller, 2005). Schrier’s principle of transparency in terms of being open to feedback and criticism as a way of improving library services has also been useful for me in expanding my knowledge of what is required of me as an information professional.
In terms of my development as an information professional I have also realised the importance of being a lifelong learner, particularly in an environment where technology is constantly changing and evolving. As Gutsche states ‘everyone who works in a library must stay nimble and ready to receive new knowledge and skills’ (2010, p.31). The importance of a commitment to lifelong learning is also one of the standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (ALIA & ASLA, 2004).
I can honestly say that as a result of completing this course that my enthusiasm for my career as an information professional has grown. The standards of professional excellence for teachers state that excellent teacher librarians ‘model the sharing of knowledge’ (ALIA & ASLA, 2004) and I am excited about returning to the workforce to share the knowledge that I have gained. As I embark on my career as an information professional and when establishing myself as a teacher librarian and when the plethora of available technologies become overwhelming I will always keep the advice of Farkas in mind when she states ‘It’s valuable to know how to use this stuff, but the focus should never be on the tools. Never. We should always be focused on the patrons’s needs’ (2008). This advice has really helped shape how I perceive myself in my role as an information professional.
Arizona State University. (2011). The Library Minute. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohyqXAhLgsM
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/teacher-librarian.standards.html
Dempsey, L. (2009). Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity. First Monday, 14(1). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/2291/2070
De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In 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_part3.pdf
Farkas, M. (2008). The essence of library 2.0? In Information Wants to be Free, January 24 [blog]. Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/
Gutsche, B. (2010). Coping with continual motion: A focus on competencies can help librarians stick to values while absorbing future shock. Library Journal, 4(135), 28-31. Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6719414.html
Harris, C. (2010). Friend me?: School policy may address friending students online. School Library Journal, 1 April. Availablehttp://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6724235.html
Matthews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February).
McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October.)
Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller
Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook. First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2775/2432
Schrier, R.A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: The digital library as conversation facilitator. D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html
UC Berkeley Events. (2007, November 2). Building Academic Library 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI.