Friday 10:45 AM
Do-It-Yourself: Blogging for Libraries
Panel: Karen Mellor, Jennifer Varney, Maryanne
Blogging for Libraries - Karen Mellor
A blog is.... a content management system, it can be syndicated (RSS), searchable, web-based (virtually) no tech skills required, interactive, free!
Why blog? Empower your staff by allowing them to publish in real time (without webmaster/support). The power of RSS feeds, they can be aggregated. It is a marketing and public relations tool (community and funding sources can see what is happening at your library). Virtual library (24/7). You can also use one to document a project or to share/store information.
Who is blogging? Visit Blogging Libraries Wiki or LISNews 10 Library Blogs to Read in 2009. Canton Public Library, Michigan using a blog as a website. Darien Public Library is using blogs to open a dialogue with the community. Iowa City PL is using a blog for Teens (fun with media). The Librarian's Brain: Fun with WordPress.
Blog hosting services...Blogger is very, very, easy to use. WordPress offers many useful tools like categories, statistics of use, etc...
Karen demonstrated how easy and flexible it is to use Wordpress to blog. She created a blog in 2 minutes with a blog title and a first posting. Next she added a new page (useful if you are using it as a website) with information about the library's hours/information. Then she created a link for the new page of library hours/information and gave it a category (About The Library). The link to the new page appeared on the right hand side of the front page of the blog. Themes can be used to change the appearance of the blog.
There are lots of useful plug-ins, and Karen recommends using the Kismet plug-in for eliminating spam sent to your blog. She demonstrated how she is using her Delicious links to feed them directly to a blog's sidebar.
Developing Your Blog...have a purpose, content and writing guidelines, comment guidelines - Free Range Librarian, brand your blog with a catchy name, frequency of posts, transparency - authorship, institutional connection, contact information, disclaimer (Rhodarian), editorial process (group blogs), blogging etiquette (give credit where credit is due).
Writing Tips...Keep posts brief, make writing accessible, develop a personality and be consistent, check your facts (spelling and cite sources), don't delete your posts correct them, read other blogs for inspiration.
Market Your Blog...publicize within the library/community, add links to website, feature in your newsletter, add to bookmarks-flyers-signature files, use the web!
The next speaker on the panel, Jennifer Varney, introduced us to RSS...
Newsreaders will bring the stuff on the web to you. Examples include Bloglines, Google Reader, My Yahoo, and Newsgator Online.
RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication", site provide a feed from their page and you can tell your newsreader to gather these feeds from the site's you want to keep up with.
RSS feeds contain site content (text, audio, video), metadata, xml.
How to use RSS: Easy!
Step1 - choose a reader (Google Reader)
Step 2 - subscribe to your favorites via Google Reader (Click on Add a Subscription: Add the URL of the feed, search for the feed, or search for topics that interest you) or find a site and subscribe via a site (Click on Add to Google Reader or copy and paste the url of the xml page into Google Reader). Be careful when subscribing to "bundles" the number of feeds can be overwhelming, you may want to subscribe to just a couple of feeds within the bundle.
Step 3 - browse and read all in one place (Google Reader)
Step 4 - organize your feeds (rename, put into folders, create folders, unsubscribe, very similar to E-mail)
Why do this? Professional development, alerting service (monitor topics of patron interest), collection development.
Tips for using RSS - review your feeds daily, file and flag for follow-up, weed, limit and organize your feeds. Offer RSS feeds on your blogs, website, catalogs, etc...
Maryanne showed how to create a Facebook page for your Library...
Have to create a profile on Facebook (but it does not have to be public to have a Facebook page).
From the Facebook homepage click on the link to creating a page for businesses. The web form is easy to fill out and once you have completed it you must either create your profile or login to your already existing profile.
Now that you have a page...upload a picture, add your basic information (year that you were founded) and detailed information (website, overview, mission statement, products you offer) you can fill in as much as you want, get the word out (suggest to friends feature, put your Facebook info. on website and blog, publicity).
Examples of how it is being used well...Belmont (NH) High - librarian is interacting with students (giving them tips, etc...), Assabet Valley HS, Northfield-Mount Hermon (private school), Beamon Memorial Public Library, West Boylston - to communicate about events, share photos, advocating for the library, WPI - Gordon Library - advertising services, meet the staff videos, etc..., Regional Library Systems - communication with librarians, job postings, etc...
Send updates to your fans...use this feature to notify your fans.
Update your Facebook and Website at the same time to keep information synchronized/current!