INF506: OLJ/Evaluative Statement

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(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.

 References

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.

INF506 Farkas and Web 2.0

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As a budding teacher librarian I have always struggled with Web 2.0 tools in terms of where to start. there are simply so many great things now online that could be used in an educational context and I have struggled to filter which tools that will be of most value to my students.

In my struggle, I have found Meredith Farkas’ blog to be very useful and enlightening on such topics. (http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/)

Farkas makes the following points:

‘It’s valuable to know how to use this stuff, but the focus should never be on the tools. Never. I know they’re fun to play with and it’s exciting to see the cool things other libraries have done with them, but that shouldn’t impact whether you use the technology or not. We should always be focused on our patrons’ needs.’

‘What I always hoped to see come out of the Library 2.0 movement is exactly what never did. I wanted to see a greater culture of assessment in libraries. How can we know what our patrons need and want if we’re not doing assessment?’

I found the above two points to be excellent as a way of better understanding which Web 2.0 tools that I should be using in both a library and classroom environment. It also seems an incredibly logical and simple way to approach tasks.

Reference:

Farkas, M. (2008). The essence of library 2.0. In Information Wants to be Free. Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

INF506 Building Academic Library 2.0

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The task: Based on your viewing of the Youtube video ‘Building Academic Library 2.0′, select five key pieces of advice from the speakers, and consider how these may be applied to your library to help it embrace a library 2.0 ethos.

The first piece of advice I have chosen is from Wagner who urges librarians to work in partnership with their users. He recommends building a technology council to look at how people use technology (2007). The library in the school I work at needs to foster partnerships with students as many technological acquisitions are made without student input.

The second key piece of advice was also from Wagner who states that service is important – it is not just what is bought technology wise, but how it is delivered (2007). I feel this is important advice as many students I teach are not aware of the technology and its applications that are available in the library. Therefore, more time needs to be spent delivering new technology in a meaningful way.

The next three pieces of advice are taken from keynote speaker Meredith Farkas.

One of Farkas’ first piece of advice relates to the notion of radical trust, of opening up comments pages on social networking sites and trusting students to give feedback (2007). This is an important piece of advice for my school library as it does not have a Facebook page nor anywhere to leave comments online, the library only has a suggestion box in the foyer. There seems to be a culture whereby students are not trusted to make comments regarding their educational needs.

The next chosen piece of advice is know your users (Farkas, 2007). Again I feel this simple piece of advice is important for the library at my school. As the library is not involved in social networking sites and does not seem to actively seek feedback from its users, it would seem that the library is not really aware of its users needs.

The last piece of advice I have chosen is the suggestion to market to parents (Farkas, 2007). Working in a high school environment I found this interesting. I know that many of my students complete the majority of their assignments at home and I know that they seek help from their parents. Listening to Farkas, this idea really struck me as libraries have changed a great deal since the parents of my students were at school. Therefore, by marketing to parents, they will not only be aware of the library services but may also encourage their children to become active library users.

References:

UC Berkeley Events. (2007, November 2). Building Academic Library 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI.

INF506 – Criteria for Library Websites Task

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Activity:

1. Develop your own set of criteria with regard to effective library website design.

The criteria that I have developed are designed for secondary schools as that is the area in which I currently work.

Library websites should have the following features:

1. A modern design – they should not look old and outdated as students will be less inclined to use the site.

2. Regular updates – The library webpage should be updated regularly so students who visit it are met with something new and interesting when they visit (e.g. photos, events, new book releases, podcasts etc.)

3. Different links/pages for parents, teachers and students (Matthews, 2009) as the interests and vernacular of each group is different.

4. Search boxes (Matthews, 2009) – Important for users to be able to find the information they need quickly, otherwise students may turn to sites like Google for more efficient searching.

5. Mobile Friendly (Matthews, 2009) – As many users now access the internet via their phones/iPads etc. the site must be accessible using these devices.

6. Help – the library should have many ways of providing assistance to its users.

7. Clear instructions – At the school that I work at many students struggle to access the library services (e.g. encyclopaedia links, OPAC, logging in at home etc.) Therefore, clear instructions need to be provided stating how to access all the library has to offer – perhaps even a podcast/YouTube video to aid students who struggle to comprehend written instructions.

8. Social networking – the library needs to have a presence on social media to engage with its users. As McBurnie states ‘more than 70% of 16-24 year olds visited social networking sites’ (2007).

9. Student creation – As Web 2.0 is focused on user creation, perhaps having some student input would be an interesting way to engage users.

10. A sense of humour – Most students I speak to find the library a serious place. Showing an age-appropriate sense of humour may be another way to change attitudes and put a human face on the library.

Part two –

Evaluate the effectiveness of the selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of the website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

My chosen website:

http://www.mariancollege.nsw.edu.au/new/library/

The website has a design that is beginning to look outdated (old graphics and fonts etc.) It is hard to tell when the page was last updated but it does not seem to have any ‘what’s new’ links. It does have a link to the student portal, which is excellent, however, an improvement may be adding teacher and parent links too. It does not contain a search box, contact information or a help function which does make it difficult for students should they need assistance. It does have some presence on social media with links to a Del.icio.us account.

While the library website has some good features, it needs to adopt a more interactive approach, it needs to be made more user-friendly and it needs to have many more ways of seeking assistance. 

References:

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.)

 

INF506 A to Z of Social Networking for Libraries

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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.

References:

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/

INF506 Activity – RSS Feeds

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The activity posed: Find two additional examples of RSS in action and develop a 350 word post to your OLJ on how RSS can enhance a library or information service’s ability to meet the information needs of its users.

When completing this activity – I have chosen to discuss the use of RSS feeds in the context of the library. The two additional feeds I have found are below:

http://www.themillions.com/rss-feeds-of-new-releases-for-books-movies-music-and-more

and

https://www.dailylit.com

The above RSS feeds have been chosen as the school that I currently work in is trying to begin a wide reading program for year 7 and 8 students. The first site listed provides RSS feeds based on book genres (for example; literary fiction, biographies, graphic novels etc.) I thought this was an excellent site as it enables students to select which feeds to subscribe to based on their interests, it also has a feed for Kindle readers as well, which is the way many students now read novels of their choice.

The second site was chosen as students are able to read books via email or RSS feed. I chose this site as many students at the school I currently work at say that they dislike reading books in a traditional format. By utilising this feed they are able to access books in ways that they are more comfortable with (many students even being able to access it through portable technology such as iPhones) thus hopefully encouraging students to begin to read more.

I think that RSS feed can enhance a library’s ability to meet the information needs of its users in many ways. A library is able to provide useful links to RSS feeds on their website (links can be suggested by subject teachers and may even form part of a homework or assignment task.) Added to this, a school library may even be able to create its own RSS feed for its users. I think that this is important in a high school setting as students are often reluctant to visit the library in person and are also often completing work outside of school hours, therefore an RSS feed may assist them in their studies in various ways.