Although many libraries are taking a 2.0 approach to providing information services using Web 2.0 tools, there are others that draw the line when it comes to using more popular forms of social networking. Certainly in some organisations there may be a lack of understanding as to how social media works and even resistance to changing the way things have always been done.
In many ways using social media is about letting go of the notion of being ‘in control’. It is about trusting your users and allowing them to have a say. It is also about being open to negative feedback in a public arena and realising that a timely and positive response will often do more good than harm and can be beneficial in assisting you to provide better services. Lastly, issues of privacy around social media can be a concern for some organisations; however I believe that with good policies and practices in place it is possible to ensure you maintain the highest standards.
On a national scale, one library that is at the forefront in using social media to enhance it’s service provision is the National Library of Australia’s Trove project where their use of crowdsourcing and social engagement has enabled them to employ an army of unpaid volunteers to digitise out of copyright books, proofread articles and transcribe handwritten records enabling them to become searchable online. The slideshare presentation below created by Rose Holley explains more about the project.
Living Libraries Australia wiki is an example of using social media to form partnerships and was developed by the Australian Library and Information Association in conjunction with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Lismore City Council. The purpose of the wiki is to provide an online forum for members of the Living Libraries Australia network to share information and collaborate. Lismore’s Living Library is an initiative that aims to bring people from diverse backgrounds together through conversation to promote understanding and community – it works in the same way as a normal library however the ‘Books’ in this case are real people and the stories they tell are their life.
Finally, the University College Dublin Library gives us an example of how Facebook can be used in a positive and active way to promote not only the library’s services, but also to provide a wealth of interesting information including announcements, links to other sites and instruction videos. I am not surprised the library has been ‘liked’ 2,248 times!