Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thing 61: Library Apps on and for FB

Yes, it's Facebook again on the very last day of the month. If it hadn't been such a hectic month for me I might have introduced you to Ma.gnolia or the like, but instead I wish to give you just a little something more to do with Facebook. Some people love the site instantly while others take a little more to warm up to it. Certainly, the Annoyed Library is skeptical. Others, like the fantastic Helen Blowers find it an important networking tool. So if you are a hesitant librarian, why should you get involved?
  1. If you work with the public and computers, your patrons are using it or something like it.
  2. It really is a great networking tool to connect with other librarians, via chat, messaging, or groups – it's more casual than e-mail if you just want to be aware of potentially interesting projects, and it provides another means for you to be contacted.
  3. It is a launch pad to all sorts of 2.0 applications: the WorldCat search app, LibraryThing, along with an abundance of book applications that let you track your friends' reads and keep track of your own.
  4. The chance to give your library one more face to the world by creating your own applications or library profile.
This last reason is one of the least developed, especially here at PLCMC. Searching our initials currently brings up a hand-full of library staffers and one completely unrelated group. A better example is the "Places" profile for Davis Library on the UNC campus. The library's profile gives an image of the building, address, phone numbers, and hours of operation. The page even gives visitors the ability to talk to a reference librarian through an IM application from meebo. The British Library lists a link to their web page, a direct link to their current cultural exhibition page, and they advertise special programs by listing them as events – as does the Seattle Public Library. Discussion boards and wall posts allow user interaction. The Whitby Public Library in Ontario even writes notes (facebook blog posts), and includes the WorldCat app and a map application for patron's trying to find the library.

Discovery Exercise:
Search the word "library" in Facebook, explore some of the results, and blog about what you find.

Add the Explore ... Discover... Play app and brain-storm some ways that it could be more interesting and informative. Add these ideas to the comments section of this post.


Muggie said...

As your Mum, I feel obliged to add a couple more items and corrections.

1. NCO of PLCMC does have a Facebook profile. I personally think that UC would also do well to have one.

2. For Teens MySpace is probably more useful since more teens use MySpace than Facebook, though more are turning up there, it's still less than 10% of the users at ImaginOn. ImaginOn's Loft maintains a MySpace page that has a lot of friends.

3. Don't for get the Library related groups in Facebook. I will talk about them in my personal blog at Look for it in the next week.

Kjersti said...

Smartie. I hadn't known about NCO's profile. It is interesting that the Nco Teens [sic] profile is a personal profile, not a places profile.

And while you are right, more teens use MySpace (maybe it is because of FB's origins as a college site, maybe it is because teens like having more control over the appearance of their page or the stronger tie to music), I think FaceBook is a more useful place for professionals to regularly play and be familiar with how things work.

Why is that? Because a lot of younger professionals got into FB while they were in college so the social networks are already established there. Also, the embedded music in MySpace is annoying.

And one more way that FB can be useful: finding out about things through status updates.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, PLCMC does have a Facebook page.

Anonymous said...

Also, I belive that Muggie meant to say does not go anywhere.

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