Originally, I had planned on starting a new blog for my final project, but upon consideration I thought it would be appropriate to host the work for my final project on my blog here, as it is a location dedicated to my professional work and was founded to share my ideas on literacy and particularly in libraries. One of the most important directions that literacy in libraries is headed is towards promoting the skills needed to use the electronic tools that more and more libraries are adopting and investing so much time and money on adding to their websites’. So, I will be using this blog to track the process of my project, to present my conclusions, and host the tools I plan on creating to help resolve some of the accessibility issues I’m discovering.
For my final project for my Master’s in Library Science degree, I am reviewing the electronic presences of four libraries in order to determine to what degree they provide assistance to children, teachers, and parents in using the various digital tools they offer. All of the libraries reviewed provide a variety of services for patrons on their websites, ranging from the OPAC (online public access catalog), subscription databases, downloadable e-books and audio books, RSS, as well as other Library 2.0 type technologies. The degree to which these tools are accessible varies depending on the website and the service. Some tools are difficult to access because they are buried in the website, while others lack clear directions in how to use the service. However, the largest barrier to use of most libraries’ electronic services is that they lack sufficient explanation to illustrate why someone would want to use the service through a clear description of what can be achieved through its use and the audience it is directed towards.
In my next posts, I will introduce the four libraries I am reviewing and then talk about some of the services they offer.
I started this blog way back in the spring, when I was working in a transitional job and actively looking for a full time job. It was my way of keeping track of my professional development in the temporary job and served as a way to demonstrate some of the things I was working on for potential employers. While I found a full time job, I continue to use the blog to showcase some of the things I’m involved in. Though having found a full time job, I found I had less time to blog, hence fewer posts for a while.
I revisited the blog when my work announced their Learn and Play program, which required a blog to complete the activities. Rather then make another blog, I returned to this blog to record my learn and play activities. The early posts are much more interesting, later posts reflect the time crunch in completing activities while getting the Homework Help Center open and running. (which it is, yeah!!)
Now, I’m here to use the blog in yet another way. My library and technology class requires us to create a blog and post there. I am opposed to cluttering up the internet with more needless blogs that could be traced back to me, so I plan on using this same blog again! I know some bloggers have many blogs, to represent different interests and purposes, but since all of these uses represent different aspects of my professional development, I prefer to keep them all together.
For my Foundations of Library Science class, we were required to contribute to a class wiki using PBwiki. It was a great experience, and I hope that I can use wiki (or wikis if that is the plural) in my library career. Some of the library wiki I viewed for this Learn and Play exercize were very well done. I particularly liked the wiki that was done in connection with the adult summer reading program, where people could post book reviews and discusions of books. As with all 2.0 technology, there is a great need for oversight by staff members to make sure that they stay focused on the content area and that nothing inappropriate is posted. I suppose it all depends on who is allowed to modify the wiki and who can police it!
Library 2.0 is, as I’ve already blogged about, one of those things that sort of hits at only certain sections of our clientele. When reading the Learn and Play articles, it seemed like some of the ideas were really out there and not approachable to users that are already not technologically savvy. But, there are ways that the library can use 2.0 concepts to help those who are less savvy. Some of this can be done by building them into already familiar tools, like the self check outs or OPAC. Personally, I’d love to be able to connect my goodreads to the catalogue, or build “libraries” of books from the actual library. I know a number of customers who would love to be able to record all the books they check out so they can remember what they’ve read. Just my 2.0cents!
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be participating in Play and Learn @CML, an opportunity to increase my familarization with some of the technologies that make up Web 2.0. The first technology is the blog, which gives me a great incentive to start this blog back up. Maybe after participating here, I’ll have more commitment to posting. So here we go, hopefully we can have fun while we learn!
So over the next month CML will be launching an initiative to encourage library staff members to learn about the technologies that make up Web 2.0. This is ideally to help us become better able to help our customers, because we are largely not able to use these for our own promotion of the library. Since I would love to create a blog, flikr account, or use other technologies to promote and share information about my library, but since that is centralized, it is likely this is intended to help us answer technology questions for our customers. The question that runs through my mind, and that of some of my co-workers, is whether our customers are even ready for Web 1.0?
Case in point, over the past two days we helped a gentleman discover what the Internet is, sign up for a e-mail account (which he first needed to learn what it was), how to use e-mail, how to cut and paste, and basically how to use both the computer and Internet. This is not an unusual occurrence. The vast majority of technical questions I get have to do with the very basics of computer and Internet usage–the difference between the Internet and e-mail, the importance of placing all the periods and dashes in Internet addresses, and how to left and right click on a mouse. More savvy users ask about formatting on Microsoft word, or why our web page is down, or why the web page they want will not work.
All of this, and I work in an area where the majority of households own at least one computer with Internet access. They come to the library when theirs isn’t working, when they are bringing their children to the library, because there is something wrong with their Internet. So why spend the time and money to teach us all Web 2.0?
More thoughts later..