It has been a while, a good old long while since I last blogged. I remember the days when I was a regular and, at times, obsessive blogger but with grown-up professional life muscling in, things get dropped and blogging- in fact writing of any sort- has taken nose dive into the grave of previous pastimes.
Anyhoo, reminiscing aside, I thought I would resurrect this dusty blog. It has been very much inspired by my igniting the social media touchpaper *hopefully* for the Online Library. I thought: how can I advocate and get my colleagues to engage with social media if I don’t use it myself?! I am an increasingly notorious Facebooker and Twitterette but as for the other forms of social media out there- it is a crazy, crazy world to learn about and one I am going to tussle with and hopefully document right here in this blog. It maybe a crazy, crazy social media world out there, but it is one I think we must as librarians knuckle down and get to grips with or become old-fashioned, even redundant services.
That last statement isn’t an original one- thousands upon thousands of articles have been written about the necessity of libraries using social media and adopting current trends for accessing information. I don’t doubt that this post is but one small drop in a vast ocean of advocacy out there, but I feel I need to add my two-pennies worth!
Despite all the advocacy for libraries to use social media, I have found myself with a blank canvas (excuse the cliché!)and the library has no social media presence at all. It is an interesting case- all (and I mean all) of our students are distance learners and based in over 180 countries across the world. There is no library social media. There is, however, a brilliant website packed full of information, and we operate a live chat, email and telephone enquiries service covering UK working hours, but I think of the possibilities of tapping into the social media market and in some ways I am so shocked it has not be done before…
So. ‘Online Library’ is no misnomer: there are no physical books (all resources are electronic and accessible wherever you are in the world), there is no physical library building with study spaces; there are no students in the vicinity; and we are a small (though recently doubled in size) team of 6. In contrast the last academic library I worked in, we were admittedly overstretched, but we did have over 40 members of ‘core staff’ and a very reasonable social media presence. Three months ago there were just 3 members of Online Library staff catering for over 50,000 distance learners, so really it is not surprising that social media ranked low on the list of the OL’s priorities.
Anyway whilst perusing the literature on social media and libraries I cam across this infographic below:
Whilst I am not a huge fan of Elsevier’s monopolising, I do like their inforgraphic from their website: https://www.elsevier.com/connect/infographic-portrait-of-a-social-librarian as it fully explains what I think it is to be a 21st century, social librarian 🙂
After all the reading and contemplating, I feel really galvanised to unleash the Online Library to the social media world and get connecting with our students in forums and formats that they are currently using…
I guess it is a case of watch this space and see what happens… I’ll post my success (and no doubt some failures too!)