LIBR 246

LIBR – 246

The library where I work is a city library, which often feels a bit lonely.  We collaborate with other county libraries, but we have to fight our own battles with local administration.  We’ve got a great mayor that runs the show, but he’s incredibly resistant to any social technology and what he feels are the “inherent risks” it enabling web conversations to run both ways.  Likewise, our tech department feels there’s no room for social technology, and blocks social networking from all city computers.  While reading some of assigned reading this week, I realized we’re not alone.  Many of the articles spoke to the road blocks libraries encounter when trying to enter into the social an interactive library.  Jami Haskell, in her article “create a social software policy for your library,” encourages libraries to tackle skepticism by providing clear social networking guidelines in the form of library policies (  “Applied prototyping: designing for buy-in,” follows the idea that libraries need to create a working model to test the waters, then approach the powers that be (  I definitely can see see how combining both approaches would work with our mayor.  He doesn’t like to have to visualize ideas, instead wanting to see solid proof of how ideas are going to work right out of the gate.  It feels like providing clear and concise policy would help alleviate some of his fears of losing control over the two way conversation.

Establishing trust with an IT department is a slippery slop.  Nobody is expected to know as much as an IT person and be fluent in their terminology, but as the article “building trust with IT staff” describes, you must be able to “discuss things on their own terms” (  Our IT staff are incredibly knowledgeable, and feel like they are constantly fighting the good fight against the those trying to work their way into the city internet system.  Actually letting people in, so-to-speak, through social networking seems counter intuitive to the way they work.

Our library director feels strongly about the need to implement web 2.0 (yes, we’re not even there yet) and social networking aspects to our website, and has been to push the mayor to make the plunge.  These days, not having a presence on Facebook feels like you don’t really have a web presence at all.



5 responses to “LIBR – 246

  1. Mr WordPress January 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. slmantz February 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    It’s interesting to me whenever I hear that library’s are resistant to social media. I work at a small public library, and while we’re not resistant to it, I feel like we don’t know how to adequately pursue it, or use it to our benefit. We have Twitter, and Facebook and Goodreads and a YA Blog, so it’s like we’re following all the rules on things we should be doing, but the problem is, I’m not sure anyone looks at any of our social media sites besides the people that work on them. I’m interested to learn what steps we could use to create more of a social media impact, because it’s not just about getting the permission to be on the web, its also knowing what to do once you’re on there.

    • jjamesfield February 8, 2012 at 4:46 am

      Good point. We’re still arguing just to have the chance to put up something that nobody reads (ha ha). It’s like the signs in the library that nobody reads. Library staff love to try to solve problems with signs. People stealing toilet paper? Put a sign up saying, “don’t steal the toilet paper.” People constantly asking where the tax forms are? Put up a sign with lots of arrows. Of course, it never works. I guess our main pursuit is to be able to advertise library programs via Facebook. We currently don’t have much of a web presence. Your right, though, may turn out to all be for not…

  3. Lisa Ferneau-Haynes February 9, 2012 at 4:57 am

    There are many libraries that have a Facebook page, or a Twitter account etc. but that is just the beginning. Instead of using these sites to advertise to the public, why not use these sites to further conversations with the public? Follow the conversations others are having and as a library figure out how to be part of the conversation. Is the conversation about how difficult it is to find the correct tax forms this year, or make an appointment to get your taxes done? How, as a public library, can you join into the conversation in a way that is non “stalker” but provides information to the public? Libraries are more than just a place to attend a program or visit a book on a shelf, we need to be thought of as the community meeting place, even if that “place” is via social media. The question now is how do we go about this? By the way, where I work (at a Public Library) we have NO social media presence at all!

    • jjamesfield February 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm


      Yes, our library does not have any social media presence either. Our website isn’t even web 2.0. I couldn’t agree more about creating a more conversational web presence, but that may not be the best way to pitch it to a mayor who is skeptical about the legal precariousness of Facebook and other social medial sites. He’s not just being old fashioned or unreasonable, he’s trying to be careful and illuminate the importance of doing it right. Ok, he may be he is falling back on being too careful to stall the process a bit…

      I work the front desk and understand the importance of libraries being community places. We are a small town library where the “face” of the library is the people working there. I didn’t mean to imply in my post we’d only use it for advertising, it’s just a place to start the conversation to push the need for more social media presence. Thanks for you comments, Jeff

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