Social Media Policies

I am glad that this week we are starting to address the question of staff buy-in.

In this week’s lesson, Professor Neal states that “Understanding and following the culture of your chosen site is also important; people behave differently on Facebook than they do on Twitter. ”

While I don’t feel that following every tip that a private sector social media maven has to offer is the best strategy- there is a lot the libraries can learn from their strategies. Because, if we try and fail, we can move on, if they are failing at social media, their company suffers.

The next MEDIA article has a number of great tips.

  • Have a point person
  • Use analytics
  • Insert Social Media into all aspects of the business
All three are vital- you need one person to know all of the ins and outs of the process, even if there are other staff members involved- because you don’t want staff or patrons running around trying to figure how is in charge of what. Analytics help set benchmarks and goals, let you know what is working and what isn’t. As helpful as it is to have some quotes and anecdotes, many, many members of the online community are  “lurkers” or silent, and hit counts, link-trackers and other methods of measuring silent traffic are very important. And finally, your social media strategy cannot be a side-project. To be successful your social media strategy needs “to become part of [your] organization’s DNA”. Of course, fo that there needs to be complete staff buy-in.

Looking at the policy examples from: UT Southwestern Library, Washoe County, and others- I can see the patterns. Libraries want people to participate, but warnt hem about proper behaviour, and issues in privacy and security. And in being honest. While I am not sure where the most approciate place for this policy to live (transparency requires accessibility), I think that social media policies are vital.

I really enjoyed Sharlyn Lauby’s article on social media policy must haves. Every point is well considered and valuable. You need to see social media s part of your job, you need to evaluate and speak to your community, and honesty and authenticity are paramount. Your community won;t trust you if they think that you are hiding something. Post your new Strategic Plan to your website and then link to it from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Have a staff member blog about the process- who was consulted, what measures were taken into consideration and so on. The School Library Journal discussion on social media policies has some great examples as well, and respect is paramount, as is responsibility. Own up to mistakes that are made- don’t ignore them. If the website goes down, met people know and when they can expect it to come back up. That may be the first time a patron may come to your twitter feed- finding out why something might not be working.

Now, back to buy-in.

The Erica Swallow article on Mashable speaks to training, and that is a great step. It includes a lot of the steps necessary in any plan making process (have a team and benchmarks), but also something librarians might not think of right away. Like training & retraining frequently. If your staff aren’t using their new skills every day, or weren’t able to process all of the information the first time, you need to re-train for maintenance. I know that when I was running our eReader program back home, I was very surprised at how quickly staff forgot the skills they learned.

I think about the question of buy-in a lot. And I found two articles that have really helped me think about the problem (I need to get back into the field before I can feel as though I have a real grasp on the issue).

The first article is from the Harvard Business Review, February 16, 2011 and was written by John Kotter. Entitled “Before you can get buy-in, People need to feel the problem“, the article is relatively short and explains that upper management and other staff need to see that there is a problem before they will buy into your prosal. And libraries need to do that with social media and other technologies- explain why it is vital to participate, what segments of the population will be effected and how participation will help out. If you can, approach who might not be into social media, and how your library’s participation in it might help them learn new skills. People need to see that there is a problem (gap in service) before they will agree to “fixing it”.

The second article came up in my RSS feed reader last week, and I put off reading it for a couple of days before reading it. Entitled “Classic Blunder #2: Assuming Resistance is a Bad Thing” it is written by Meredith Farkas from Information Wants to be Free. I can admit that I am the type of person who tends to dive head-first into a project without thinking about the consequences or resistance. Her article points out that people need to know why they should buy-in (see above) but also that they might know things that you don’t about why an idea may not work. And that the key to getting buy-in is communication. Talk to people! Talk to those who are resistant, as well as those who are not, answer any questions they might have and address their concerns, this process may help you develop a better project plan as well. I love the way her post made me think about how I approach projects.

After reading this week’s articles, as well as my own, I am pretty optimistic about the future of libraries and their role in social media!

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A Map Mash-up update

This morning I was happy to see that the change that I suggested to Google Maps was approved. I really appreciate that they send an email message.

Dear Sarah

Your change has been approved by Google Reviewer Kody K, a trusted reviewer and has gone live.

Hi and welcome to Map Maker. I’m approving your edit. If you have any questions you can refer to the help page at Thanks again and keep on mapping!

This change has total 1 approvals and 0 denials

Previous comments:

  • there are already two listings for the library (by you)
  • there are already two listings for the library (by you)

Enable display of images to see the map.

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Maps and Mash-ups

Before this week I had some familiarity with mash-ups. As the class’ other Sarah pointed out– a lot of us watch and love Glee!

As for maps, at work I’ve completed two projects involving Google Maps, the first was a little map with parking information on our Contact Us page, and the other was a map with locations of interest for when the Olympics were in town. That involved trails, annotations, but no images.

For this week, on Google Map Maker I suggested that one of the three duplicate entries for my library be removed. I do like that any changes need to be verified by another user.  I have used that before when Google decided that the library was actually in another municipality. It made things very confusing for the Internet class.

I was really excited about the second class activity. It is not often I get to play with FTP clients (no Web Design class for me), and I have a couple of projects on the go that this could be helpful with.

It was easy to get everything set up- and I understood the concept behind the rest of the map building exercise, but I wasn’t having any luck saving my locations.  After switching from Chrome to Firefox, I had no issues in creating locations. The video was very helpful in making suggestions.

After creating the map and uploading it onto my uwo space, I ran into another stumbling block- an error about my Google Maps API key. After a close examination of the code, I discovered that I had pasted over the opening “. With that fixed everything worked!

Here is my map with most of the locations that I have visited over the since 2010: Sarah’s First Map

This was a lot of fun, and I had managed to forget how easy it was to work with webspace and ftp clients, as long as you have the proper permissions, everything is great!

Now, excuse me while I play with my Western site…



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Wikis and other Collaborative Tools

While not unfamiliar with wikis, I did learn something new from this week’s lesson: that “wiki” is Hawaiian for quick! That was pretty neat, I’ve always wondered where the term came from.


I was a little afraid of this part of the week’s tasks, Wikipedia seems so huge and overwhelming- what is my knowledge compared to the worlds? I originally was going to edit the E-book reader article, but the part that I had an issue with was not editable. So I turned to another topic that I know a fair amount on, the West Vancouver Memorial Library. Now, in the interests of proactive disclosure, I have edited this page before. This time, I made an minor edit and added in a link to another wikipedia article.

Other Wikis:

This is a link to a project that I worked on with a classmate during my  library technician diploma:,_Rebecca_Orr

It was a great project because we were introduced tot he idea of working within a collaborative space, and in using the strange codes that were nessessary to create a table of contents and external links back then. Also, it used WikiMedia software which is a bit different than pbworks.

I do feel that in the last four years that the technology has improved- today I created a page on the class wiki: Best Library Blogs primarily to play with the WYSIWYG editor, and also in the hopes that people will assist with a annotated list of library blogs.

Overall, both popular (and free) types of wiki software are very easy to use, and I am glad I took the chance to re-familiarize

And other Collaborative Tools:

Google Docs is an incredible tool. I just handed in a paper where all of the group members had their parts of the paper in the document. We were then able to edit and comment on the document in Google Docs as well. If we wanted we could have also shared the paper to others so that they could view, but not be able to edit.

Overall, I really enjoy using online collaborative tools and I look forward to do more in my job in the future.


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RSS & Me

I love RSS feeds. I’ve loved them for years, and I can’t imagine how I would get my news without them. It was during my first semester of my library technician diploma that I was introduced to RSS feeds and they changed the way that I looked at the web. We used Bloglines for setting up our feeds, and I was entranced.

Now, years later, I have all the websites and blogs that I follow organized, mostly by topic and ability to look at them at work. Which are my technology & library folders, with an occasional foray into news. I also have since migrated to Google Reader, mostly to have all of my web apps linked to one account.

My RSS feed foldersIf you are interested here is a link to all of the Library Blogs that I follow: Keep up-to-date with Libraries  and here are my Technology Feeds. Both link to “bundles” in Google reader where there is a RSS feed of all of the blogs, and an opportunity to subscribe if you find the feeds interesting.

Speaking of reading feeds at work- RSS and the library! Blogs and the library!

I think that both are awesome. Like both the Schwartz and the Fichter articles, I feel that blogs are a great way to promote your library’s services, and to allow for better community involvement.  Calgary Public Library uses blogs well, as does North Vancouver City Library.

For staff, being able to keep up on industry news beyond monthly publications is great- and being able to follow local news sites can notify you to unfolding events before your patrons know, a very handy thing.

You can also use a blog for the RSS feed it creates. For my library’s mobile site we have an events feed, from a blog created for the sole purpose of creating the events feed. Here it is. A funny work around, but it is a useful one.

In conclusion, if you love information, you should be able to find love for RSS- you’ll never miss an update again.

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Introduction to Web 2.0

As I was reading the articles for this week, I kept flashing back to a video that I saw last semester that finally helped me understand what people meant by Web 2.0:

In addition to making me smile, this video really helps with Tim O’Reilly’s articles on the nature of Web 2.0, and even a bit about the advertising sections.

When thinking about the application of social media and Web 2.0 in libraries, I was a little surprised to find that both the Farkas chapter, from 2007 and the Maness article, from 2006 spoke a lot about library discovery layers. London Public Library just rolled out their Encore discovery layer last semester, and my library back home is still working on getting their discovery product (bibliocommons) reading for release.

What I find interesting reading these articles, which are uniformly tech positive, is that there isn’t any discussion about the implications of social media programs at the library for staffing. While the Carson (2010) article talks about the importance of setting policy in order to protect the library legally, there is no disccusion of the “buy in” by staff.

There is always the worry that patrons will not participate in your social media efforts, whether it be liking your facebook page, following you on twitter, or adding reviews to the library catalogue. But there is also not being able to roll-out a new service because you don’t have enough staff able or interested in supporting the effort, and then failure can become a self-fulfiling prophecy. For example if only one staff member is populating the twitter feed, and they go on vaction or become ill, and no one steps in to cover them, people will lose interest in an account that never updates. The Casey & Savastinuk article gets at this a little in the section “Handling the Technology”. Here they discuss libraries/librarians being unaware of the applications of social software, or feeling that there is limited technological expertise at hand. Librarians need to be willing to learn new skills and adapt to change now more than ever if we want to be able to relevant to the communities that we serve. If it continues to take four or more years to implement a new service, where does that leave libraries in our rapidly changing world?

To go even further, librarian and blogger, David Lee King, recently posted about Milwaukee Public Library’s anti-social media campaign. His post was interesting, and the comments event more so.

Web 2.0 applications and social media software allow us to become part of communities that we may have neglected before (addressing that long tail) and might help members of our communities learn more about emerging technologies in a safe manner, which in turn helps us in our goals to improve literacies and access to information.

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Introducing the Blogger

My name is Sarah and I am a second semester student. As a temporary transplant from Vancouver, I am quite enjoying London so far.

Prior to entering the program I completed a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and a Diploma in Library and Information Technology at Langara college. For the past three years I have worked at the West Vancouver Memorial Library as a Library Assistant in the library’s Community Computing Centre. As part of my position (I am lucky to be heading back west in August), I work with our eReader lending & training programs, and train patrons on basic computer functions.

I use and think about social media as a technophile and (near) digital native. I am taking this course in order to learn about how to best use social media in libraries and what the best methods are for preparing for future developments.

On the personal side, I love knitting, my eReader, open source software, and trashy books and movies.

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