Social Software for Librarians

I want to take a moment to just be selfish. I can justify it, too. Too many times during the workweek I find I’ve forgotten to schedule any time for me to spend on my own learning. Building the collection, working with vendors, coaching staff – check. But learning best practices from other Library professionals I usually let slide, and I have to remind myself that it’s not just OK to take a bit of time on the boss’ dime to keep up with these things – it’s a part of my job. It doesn’t all have to be done on my own time. (I hope that’s an unnecessary reminder to whoever may be reading this.)With that in mind, I’m evaluating social software according to how it serves my professional needs to learn. I’ll focus directly on the users next post.

The essential Web 2.0 tools I’ve started using in the last few months are: social bookmarking via, RSS feeds via Google Reader, and social networking arena Facebook. Of these, Facebook has been the most intricate, but even “intricate” is an exaggeration. All have been easy to adapt to, and if you can download programs without needing the approval of an I.T. worker [check your institution’s policies – you wouldn’t believe the hoops I had to jump through to get Firefox approved] then you can rapidly be gathering and sharing information far more rapidly than ever before.

Blogs are making my list conditionally. Although I’m growing to love feeding this little datababy, I think they are a more isolated technology than those listed above. Readership of a blog is dependent upon a site visitor or RSS feed; social networking software like Facebook allows the sharing of postings from a single site. Yes, the archival function of the blog is key and the blog is a very useful means of communicating out and receiving feedback. That’s why they made the list conditionally.

…and SecondLife? I’m still learning how to use it. I’ve receieved gifts of a pair of wings and a groovy set of dance moves, have attended a tutorial on making clothing, and have fallen down a lot. Anyone who can help me learn to land from flying gracefully? I’m certain I will grow very fond of it and enjoy several hours of networked learning with information managers here – but I’m off to a slow start.



  1. Hi Shannon! I do not think you are being selfish. I think gaining an awareness of how social software fits into your day-to-day (as an information professional) is a key part of acquiring the skills and know-how, and understanding how ton use these tools to help others in your library and community.

  2. Many thanks for the support, Daka – I think it’s really important that we flex our newly-credited librarian muscles in the workspace and help to define for our co-workers and employers that time in the workday for researching tips, tools, etc. are an inegral part of our profession. That may be the norm in some libraries, but in mine, the Librarian role is just now receiving academic status.

    More on social networking and gaming – check this new initiative, Gamasutra, by the Library of Congress. Kudos!

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