I have been using Facebook for this course but have found myself with some reservations that I have come to realise may be important before I utilise Facebook (or similar social networking sites) in my own practice.
When I initially found out that using Facebook was fundamental to this course I was not surprised but I was hesitant. My reluctance to use this site is due to the fact that all teachers at my school have been told not to have Facebook accounts. (We have also been told that should we decide to have an account anyway, the school will not support us if there are any issues surrounding our accounts). Therefore, I find it hard to engage in depth on the site as I have no wish to upset my employer.
My other hesitation after using the site is simply that I don’t find Facebook as easy to use for study purposes as I do the university forum pages. I find myself scrolling through a lot of information to see if conversations I am interested in have been updated.
Something I find myself considering is the correct register to use for Facebook (and I feel that many struggle with this). As it is a social networking site many people adopt casual language. However, I struggle with this as I see university study as a professional, more formal enterprise. I think that as a teacher librarian this is something that needs to be addressed before using pages like Facebook to connect with library patrons.
There are positives in using Facebook for study. I am easily able to access the site via my mobile so it makes keeping up to date on the go much easier. It is an interface that I am familiar with using so I didn’t need to teach myself anything before joining the Facebook group. It does also make study a more personal experience. I have enjoyed being able to see other people’s profiles and it makes online study more personal, instead of feeling quite formal and distant.
I thought it was important to reflect on the use of social networking tools from a student perspective before I implement these technologies in a school environment.
Activity: Select advice from 5 letters of this A to Z list and consider how these may be applied to this library to help it embrace a library 2.0 ethos.
The school in which I currently work has been reluctant to embrace social media. It is thought that social media is fraught with dangers such as bullying and the fear that teachers may be considered unprofessional should students see their personal Facebook profiles. Therefore, the letters I have chosen are as follows:
A – Active. I believe that as a starting point, the library needs to become much more active in social networks (with both students and teachers). The library needs to promote the services they offer in a medium which students feel comfortable using.
D – direction. As a school that has not yet embraced social media on the whole, I feel that it is important that the library and the school itself work out a plan for what they hope to accomplish when using social networking.
F – Facebook. As the reading states ‘having a presence on Facebook with a fan page or a group is a must. Facebook is so popular now that it is expected’ (The Social Networking for Libraries Blog, 2010). The library needs to realise this and embrace this as almost every student at the school is a frequent Facebook user. The library needs to be more personable and demonstrate to students that it has kept up with modern innovations, otherwise the library will seem outdated and therefore irrelevant to students.
P – Podcasting. As students occasionally have to wait for the assistance of a teacher librarian (and many students are not happy with waiting) it would be helpful to provide tips for students via podcasting on how to utilise library services. Most students I know struggle to use the OPAC system and do not know how to navigate some elements of the library webpage – a simple podcast may help solve many of these issues and make the library more user-friendly.
T – Text messaging. This could have many uses within the library but one use I would propose would be notifying students of the arrival of new books by certain authors, or notifying students when items they have put on hold arrive back in the library. I teach many enthusiastic readers but even they get disheartened when they have to find time to go to the library each day to see if a book has come in. A simple text message would make this much more convenient and would ensure that enthusiastic library patrons don’t become disgruntled with the library’s services.
The Social Networking for Libraries Blog. (2010). A to Z of social networking for libraries. Retrieved from http://internetworkmarketingwealth.com/archive/a-to-z-of-social-networking-for-libraries/