An evaluative statement using three (3) experiences documented in your OLJ as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject.
As technology has evolved over time, the needs and expectations of library patrons have changed. Many libraries are now starting to embrace the principles of Library2.0 in order to meet these changing needs in a socially networked world, and I believe it is my responsibility as a future teacher librarian (TL) to have an understanding of how social media can be used to connect with students, create a community of learning within the school and enhance the library’s profile. I strongly believe that the opportunities and experiences provided throughout the INF506 unit have enabled me to not only meet the learning objectives of the subject, but have also instilled within me the confidence to use a range of social networking technologies in my future career. I have engaged in a wide variety of learning experiences throughout the semester, however for the purposes of this assignment I have selected the three experiences documented in my OLJ that I feel most demonstrate that I have met the five learning objectives presented in the subject outline.
According to Casey and Savastinuk (2006), a Library 2.0 service is one which “successfully reaches users, is evaluated frequently, and makes use of customer input.” Library 2.0 embraces the underlying principles of Web2.0: “collaboration, conversation, community and content creation (or co-creation),” (Hay, 2010), and social networking technologies are the driving force behind this concept. In my blog post Website Criteria and Evaluation I demonstrate my understanding of the theory of Library2.0 by applying it to the services offered by a high school library on their blog/website. The site incorporates a number of Web2.0 tools, including a Flickr stream, a Shelfari widget and a blog, and links are provided to the library’s Facebook page and Twitter account. Despite the presence of these social media technologies I realised that they were mainly being used for broadcasting purposes, thereby resulting in students passively receiving information. Obviously this does not support the principles of Library2.0 as conversation is not encouraged, there is no place on the website for users to offer feedback or provide input and there are no opportunities provided for students to create content. In my blog post Social Media in School Libraries, I highlight ways in which school libraries can use social media to encourage content creation, contribution and collaboration. These include having students share book recommendations and reviews using tools such as podcasts or blogs; allowing students to comment on library services using platforms such as Facebook; allowing students to publishing photos of their work on Flickr; and creating a wiki that all teachers can edit to provide links to online resources that students can use for their research.
Throughout this subject I have engaged in a number of immersive learning experiences in order to examine the features and functionality of various social networking tools and sites, but the site I explored most thoroughly was Twitter. Having not used Twitter before I wanted to become more familiar with this widely-used form of communication and discover how it could be used to meet the information needs of library users in particular. Over the session I have added a number of posts detailing my experiences with Twitter to my OLJ, and the post that I believe will prove most useful in my future career as an information professional is Twitter in Libraries, in which I detail how Twitter can be used to meet the information needs of library patrons.
As I am keen to use Twitter in my future career as a TL I wanted to investigate the educational issues that exist with regards to this form of social networking, and learn more about how to implement it in a school setting. As demonstrated in my blog post Twitter in the Classroom, I discovered that the main issues with Twitter were:
- Concerns that students may endanger themselves by posting personal information online;
- Concerns that students may post disrespectful/threatening comments about school staff or other students;
- Twitter services are “not directed to people under 13,” (https://twitter.com/privacy). In the ‘Comments’ section of my blog post I provide two ways that teachers can legally (as far as I can tell) use Twitter in the classroom with parent permission.
Having researched social media policies for an OLJ task the week before, I was aware of the need for such a policy when using Twitter with students. A social media policy in the education setting outlines the behaviours expected of students when using social media and publishing content online, and specifies the consequences of not following the policy. In my post I acknowledge the importance of involving students in the process of developing a social media policy and having them sign a copy of the document to show that they intend to abide by the rules they have helped to create.
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.
At the beginning of this semester, my knowledge of social networking sites and tools was limited to those listed in my Assessment Item 1 blog post. Although I held accounts at a number of various social media sites, I admit that I was not much of a social networker – I rarely visited the sites unless it was a requirement for work or study, and consequently I only had a limited understanding of the features and functionalities of these tools. My goals for this semester, therefore, were to 1) learn about the purposes and features of a range of social networking sites and gain experience (or more experience) in using them; and 2) learn how social networking technologies and sites could be used by school libraries to interact with users and better meet their needs. As a result of studying INF506 I believe I am well on my way to achieving these goals. However, while I am satisfied with the effort I put in to completing the modules, conducting my own research and engaging in a range of experiences using social networking technologies, I feel that I could have put more effort into contributing to these networks (Twitter and Facebook in particular). As someone who keeps to myself a fair bit in real life (especially around people I don’t know) I found it rather daunting to broadcast messages to such large, unfamiliar audiences. However, I think that as I gain more experience reading other people’s posts and tweets and get a feel for the conventions and types of content shared I will become confident enough to contribute my knowledge, experiences and opinions in these arenas.
In addition to having a fairly limited knowledge of social networking technologies at the beginning of the semester, I also had very little knowledge as to how these technologies could be used to provide library services and meet the needs of patrons (especially in regards to Facebook and Twitter, which in my view were used primarily for social purposes such as interacting with friends and family). As I made my way through the unit I came to understand not just the how but more importantly the why of using social networking technologies in the library, and in my opinion Burkhardt’s (2009) blog post, Four Reasons Libraries Should be on Social Media, summed this up perfectly. In Burhardt’s words, libraries should be using social media to 1) communicate with users; 2) to respond to users’ positive and negative feedback; 3) to market the library and library services; and 4) to better understand users (and hence serve them more effectively).
If I had not taken the INF506 unit I probably would’ve had enough understanding from the other units I have completed during the Med(TL) course to trial a small number of Web2.0 technologies in my future career as a TL, although my main focus would have been on integrating them into learning experiences for students. As a result of completing this unit, however, I am inspired to create a Library2.0 environment in which Web2.0 and social networking technologies are used to deliver library services and meet the information needs of students. Throughout this subject, Meredith Farkas has proven to be a constant source of information and inspiration in the area of Library2.0 – so much so that I have subscribed to her blog so I can continue to read her insightful comments and suggestions. I found that the advice she gave was practical and she delivered information in a way that was easy to comprehend, especially for someone like me who is relatively new to this socially networked world. In her blog post The Essence of Library 2.0?, Farkas (2008) states: “It’s valuable to know how to use this stuff [i.e. social media], but the focus should never be on the tools… We should always be focused on our patrons’ needs,” and this is a message that will definitely inform my practice as a future TL. Not only has completing INF506 added to my repertoire of Web2.0 and social networking tools, it has also allowed me to explore the features and functionalities of these tools – thereby equipping me with the skills to be able to select the most appropriate tool to meet a particular need.
So where to from now? Well, taking Farkas’ advice from her keynote presentation during the Building Academic Library 2.0 conference, I plan to start small in my future library of employment, implementing one or two technologies based on the needs of the school community and conducting regular evaluations to determine the value of these services. I also plan to maintain the use of my PLN to gain advice from experts in the field, keep up-to-date with emerging technologies, and continue to learn how social networking technologies can be used by libraries to meet the ever-changing needs of patrons.
Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6365200.html
Farkas, M. (2008). The essence of library 2.0? Retrieved January 19, 2010, from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/
Hay, L. (2010). What is Library 2.0? [INF506 Module 3.1]. Retrieved December 20, 2010, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201090_W_D/page/d29ce2d2-a039-43b9-0060-1c1abd3b18f5