Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them

by tosca on Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This is a looong one folks, so settle in and get comfortable or get lost! And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

I got stuck on one wiki and quite happily explored it thoroughly. Having completed this activity I see the extra ways in which Manukau Libraries could utilise blogs/wiki/RSS Feeds: posting newsletters, activities for book club groups, starting book club groups and inviting readers to blog about their experiences/books, Next Reads, pathfinders, branch/local events, etc. The list is almost endless.

I had been toying with the idea of a Maori newsletter for Manurewa residents (to remind borrowers of our services, aimed at both schools and organisations with a Maori kaupapa although just as relevant for our non-Maori community) but wondered about the expense and whether or not it would be effective, i.e. just 'cause I sent it doesn't mean that it will get the desired result, which is bodies in branch. Am now wondering if a blog or wiki would work and, if so, keep printed newsletter as well? Can we do this? Is this the way our service is headed and, if so, who will be responsible for it? I'm keen to see it just not so keen to raise my hand to help. Ain't it always the way?

Anyway, I'll continue blogging about my experience of using the 'The Blogging Libraries Wiki' - whose statement boldly proclaims, 'The purpose of this Wiki is to collect links to library blogs.' Basically, if your library has a blog they can list it with this particular wiki to promote it. The wiki then lists library blogs by categories such as Academic Libraries, Public Libraries etc. I merely meant to quickly peruse this site and then head off to another wiki but chose to explore the blogs listed in 'Public Libraries'. I couldn't help myself!

In 'Public Libraries.' I decided to have a squiz at Luling, Louisiana's St Charles Parish Library for a couple of reasons: I like anything even remotely connected to the state of Louisiana, and Teen services still interest me. St. Charles Parish Library - Luling, Lousiana's 'Teen Screen Blog' was quite an interesting read - on one page (pretty much) they have activities that they've done with their youth as well as a photo or two. They also have a link to their newsletter, dates of upcoming events relevant to YA, list of new books. I also found links to other book related sites such as teenreads,The Brown Bookshelf, GuysRead, Reading Rants, Favourite Teenage Angst Books, Book Browse and LibraryThing.

Bensenville Community Public Library in Illinois has a '52 books, 52 weeks' programme and their aim isn't so much that readers meet that exact number (easy for some, harder for others - life sometimes intrudes and housecleaning has to be done) but that reading become an every day, every week part of their lives. However it's done. Aww, isn't that nice?!? I like that idea. Couldn't we do something like that??

Kansas City Public Library uses blogs/RSS Feeds to promote their subject guides. The subject guide isn't necessarily restricted to library related materials, they also contain relevant: website links, branch/local/city events, articles to help people get started. Useful!!

Long Island's Huntington Public Library in New York allows their Reading Club participants to review a book (just a few lines) and add it to their book hunt blog. Simple and easy to do for both staff and readers. One thing though, I thought it could've done with the bookcovers for each and every book listed, or at least as many as possible and not just a few here and there. Just to catch the eye.

One site I found, Library Book Discussion, is an online book discussion site for teens used by a number of other American public libraries. A 'book of the month' is chosen and people are then invited to discuss the questions posted (which are ones that actually make you think about the story and its characters and its intent - oohh err, my kinda site). Nice!

Ha! I watched the video and it was a hoot! Quirky and fun way to view the basics for how a wiki works - I especially like the delivery, such a modern format with traditional methods (whiteboard/drawing) referring to what was once a very modern method of communication (email) as being passe and disorganised! It's nice to know even I could handle it. Moving our service delivery online, at least in a blog/wiki sense seems to create more questions in my mind, and a burning one is 'quality'. Would we leave our borrower comments/entries as is, or 'nice' them up a bit? Keeping in mind I'm a control freak ;) What form of control would we have in this sense? Would it be tampering with the integrity of our blog, for example, if we went in after a borrower and tidied it up (spelling, layout, colours blah blah blah). Would we just leave it all as is or huh? Is this even important? Is it important that my questions get answered (ever or even at this stage) - I don't know. I imagine if we move this way (and I don't feel so resistant about it having taken this tutorial - which is probably the aim, oohh how crafty of you Kelly! I admire the cunning) it won't be such a surprise, and I would have the chance to ask these questions then. Who knows, I might even help . . .

Heck, I was meant to check out other wiki and instead got stuck on the one. My bad! I'm easily distracted on the internet - but it sure did help the time pass on my Learn.Net shift. As far as the idea of wiki go, I like that Manukau Libraries could possibly have its own Subject Guides like St. Joseph County Public Library does. And also link that back to (like I said waaay back earlier) library related materials, branch/local events, websites etc. Not just the traditional idea of 'books' as resources. Totally blows my mind that you can not just reach customers like this but keep them informed in such a simple way.

Wiki, wiki, wiki! Spotcha :D

One comment

Ahh... and so a wiki fiend is born.

Just a note on the newsletter idea - one thing that the nextreads database does is let you create your own fancy html newsletters. It'll let you do whatever you like, manage a subscription email database and take care of sending it out on set dates.

Could be something for the future to see those newsletters created and sent out, and archived through our website. Volunteer guinea pigs, anyone?

by Kelly on July 17, 2008 at 12:06 PM. #

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