23 Things Kansas starting soon!

Kansas librarians, pay attention! You might be interested in 23 Things Kansas, a 23 Things program for our state.

What is a 23 Things program? From the 23 Things Kansas website, it’s “a fun way to learn about and practice with online tools for community, sharing and productivity.”

And it’s a pretty cool thing – for January-April, you learn about many emerging web-based tools – some familiar, some not quite so familiar. Each week focuses on one thing – for example, the week I’m facilitating is all about web-based video. So that week, we will play with sites like YouTube and Vimeo, search for videos in video search engines, and some of us will even create videos and upload them to the web. And then some.

Want to find out more? Go visit the website … and don’t forget to register!

Widening your Nets, Decentralizing your Web Services

Last summer while at ALA’s annual conference in the Chicago area, a couple friends and I were eating lunch at the Corner Bakery Cafe and saw this ad on one of the tables.

facebook URL ad

The interesting thing about the ad wasn’t so much the content itself (though I’m sure it’s good stuff). We got all geeked out over the URL associated with the ad. Why? Because they didn’t point to their website.

Instead, they pointed directly to their Facebook Page.

Think about that for a sec, because there are some pretty large implications for library web services. I know that many of us have worked for years to centralize all our websites, tools, and services into one place – preferably at www.mylibrarysnamegoeshere.org …. some of us have worked hard to get federated search tools to work on that library website, and have even integrated some of our library catalog content into our websites, as well.

But people aren’t visiting our websites (well, not in droves, anyway). They are going to other places, like Facebook (and YouTube, and Google, and …). And of course we should be active in some of those social sites. But what about pointing directly to those social sites … in an ad? That’s taking it one step further, isn’t it? Pointing directly AWAY from our website … to some social tool like Facebook?

This could work for libraries. If you have a Facebook Page, check out your Page demographics (Facebook provides some basic stats on Facebook Page visitors). Who’s your main audience in Facebook? Doing anything for that group of patrons already?

If so, you might think of taking it one step further, and pointing them directly to the Facebook Page. Why?

  • This group already uses Facebook
  • Your Facebook Page comes ready-made for interaction – comments, discussions, and likes.
  • it can have an easy-to-remember URL (i.e., ours is facebook.com/topekalibrary)
  • For the customer, it’s a direct connection to the library. Once they “become a fan,” they get all your stuff… reminders, questions,comments, etc.

But even better – for us sneaky librarians, it’s also a direct connection to a segment of our customers. But not just any customers – these customers already use Facebook and actually LIKE to interact. If they have become a fan of your library, that means they like to interact … with the library.

So don’t be shy! Spread out your nets … decentralize those web services. Send out status updates. Ask questions. Start discussions. Get feedback about new services. And in the process, have fun interacting with a group that actually WANTS to interact.

Community Discussion Guidelines for our Digital Branch

Remember my post from last summer about comments at my library’s website? Here’s a follow-up post to that earlier discussion.

Because of all those comments (some of which were mean, snarky and personal), we needed a good, fair, “official” way to deal with them. So I started poking around other websites with commenting policies and guidelines, and came up with a library version of commenting guidelines.

I ended up adapting ours from NPR’s Community Discussion Rules. Want to see a whole bunch of these? Check out  the Online Database of Social Media Policies – good stuff.

Our discussion guidelines are posted (via a link) beside the comment box on each page of our website. Here’s what it says:

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Community Discussion Guidelines:

Here are some guidelines to posting comments and content at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s digital branch. The goal? To help you have fun!

We encourage comments:

  • We want to hear from you! Please post comments, questions, and other thoughts … as you think them. That’s what we’re here for.
  • Stay on Topic – stick to the subject and issues raised by the post, not the person who made it or others that commented on it
  • Think before you press the publish button. Remember that this is a public forum, and your words will be archived on this site and available for anyone to find for a long time – the web has a very long memory.
  • If you can’t be polite, don’t say it. Respect is the name of the game.  You must respect your fellow commenters.

Some Don’ts:

  • Don’t post copyrighted materials (articles, videos, audio, etc) that you do not have permission to reproduce or distribute.
  • Don’t post content that installs viruses, worms, malware, trojans, etc.
  • Don’t post content that is obscene, libelous, defamatory or hateful
  • Don’t post spam
  • Don’t post personal, real-life information such as home addresses and home phone numbers.

What will we do?

  • We’ll respond to comments, answer questions, and provide suggestions as appropriate.
  • Sometimes we’ll join a comment thread to help focus (or refocus) the discussion, or to get people talking.
  • If you break one of the guidelines above (or come close to it), we’ll email you and ask you to stop. We might also post a reminder to the discussion. If it continues, we will delete your comments and block you from posting.
  • We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like.
  • We will remove content that puts us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libelous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright.
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Does your library or organization have similar policies or guidelines? Drop a link to them in the comments!

Purdue Adds Twitter & Facebook Participation to Classes

Found this at Mashable – “Students at Purdue University are experimenting with a new application developed at the school called Hotseat that integrates Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging to help students “backchannel” during class.”

I’ve certainly seen some good uses of status updates during conferences, from discussions about a presenter’s content, to asking questions of other people in multiple committees during an ALA Annual conference, to … yes … planning for lunch with friends.

But this could be a pretty useful tool – from the simple “what did he say again” types of questions, to thinking “out loud” about content …

Cool project! It will be an interesting one to watch, to be sure.

Library 101 – New Video, Song, and Resource has Launched!

Library 101 has launched! There are a few things you should know about the project:

But even better than watching the video, listening to the song, or reading an essay is this – please participate by commenting! Let us know what YOU think is a “Library 101″ for your library – what do you think librarians need to know to succeed? Tell us in the comments attached to each essay!