The 23rd Thing!

by tosca on Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kia ora, gidday and welcome! So, this is 'The 23rd thing!' exercise from our Manukau Libraries Web 2.0 tutorial, which you can find here, and it has certainly been an experience and a half. I am to use this post to reflect on the last few weeks and post a few thoughts about my journey through this programme. Tall order! My mind is distracted - I'm trying to toss up whether or not to extend my New Orleans Mardi Gras trip to slide in some time in Memphis - hey, never been an Elvis fan but even I wanna see Graceland! Might know the answer by the end of this post - although I seriously doubt it.

This tutorial has raised a lot of questions in my head. Questions about the current way in which we deliver online services and ways in which we might be able to add to the experience. I don't expect that they all be answered but I'd like to know whether or not they are possible and if not why not. Or if so, how we can get on to it. I saw 'we' - like the royal 'we' - but I really mean our Lib Sys team :D

Questions & How/Where I see parts of this programme working:
Blogs being used as another means of promoting our library activities: newsletters, new stock, displays, photos of branch activities, events happening in the libraries and throughout Manukau City, and provide a way for them to reach us should they be that way inclined. I would imagine that any future blogs (assuming this is viable) would have to be in line with our branding policy (colours, fonts etc.) I could even see competitions with the best blog content etc. Hmm, maybe even make THEM go through the tutorial lol - half serious.

RSS feeds/Web feeds to promote new titles (which we now have), new programmes (reading or other, e.g. holiday programmes, Manix etc.), events in libraries and city-wide, electronic newsletters, library closing hours (although not emergency closures, I notice on our ideas wiki a comment that emergency closures/job vacancy listings wouldn't work so well as it has a timeframe).

Wiki as a means of collectively organising: subject guides (or what we call pathfinders) - be nice to have them all in one place not just for us but for customers, too, research tips etc. using links to websites, databases and linking back to our catalogue resources, library brochures. For staff, we could use it to collate staff instruction resources e.g. tutorials, handouts, suggested readings, teaching techniques, tips & tricks and our procedure manual (maybe, not sure how practical that is).

YouTube as a way to post videos of hmm ok, maybe won't work so well for us. Was thinking along the lines of promoting new titles, book reviews, orientation, commercials. Seems like a lot of work. Once again, no idea how practical this is. Probably not at all! Although I noticed that Denver Public Library used it to post competition entries for a YA event. Also, Papakura Art Gallery very recently used YouTube to host an art gallery exhibition where artists upload videos delivering messages about road safety. Maybe scratch that?

Podcasts/Vodcasts to show/tell borrowers how to search the catalogue, place requests, access 'My Info', maybe a welcome speech from the head of our public library system, an inside view of each branch, instruction on how to search some of our more popular databases, storytime sessions (record one of our childrens' librarians taking a storytime session), library updates/news and events, maybe even a page with a general listing of free vodcasts/podcasts for customers to choose, invite teen/junior readers to submit reviews this way. How practical is this? No idea!

Social networking - hmm, am not totally convinced either way about Manukau Libraries using Bebo. Could be shortsighted, wouldn't be the first time and no doubt won't be the last time. Maybe because the intended audience is predominantly young - I wonder if that could be my main objection. That, and it's informality. If I were to suggest using it for our branches it wouldn't be for all services, maybe just for the YA bookclubs. Facebook seems a tad bit classier - it's probably meant to lol. And MySpace - I can't get past the dodgy content. Over thinking it? Probably.

Zoho Writer I can definitely see the merits - pointing customers in that direction would almost eliminate the use of floppy disks, writable/re-writable discs and flash drives, and for certain we wouldn't have to worry about compatibility issues. Also wouldn't have to worry about staff who weren't totally au fait with burning to disc/saving or accessing files on flash drives (yes, it does confuse some people). Certainly something like Google Docs was an excellent way to keep track of points for our Manix programme participants a year or two back.

Downloadable media collection - is this possible for Manukau Libraries? I noticed that Hennepin County Library has a specific downloads page (yeah, I know, I've mentioned this in past posts but I was THAT taken with the idea that I'm like a kid with a new toy) for customers to download audiobooks, videos AND music. I did notice, though, that their downloadable music is predominantly classical - not so sure how THAT would go down with Manukau Libraries' customers. Surely not ALL music? Oh ok, pretty much. Just tried to limit a search for 50 Cent + Just Downloads and got nada, zip, zero, zilch. Ok, so maybe not exactly what they've got! Which made me curious about the type of downloadable videos they offer - and they tend to be classics or documentaries. Oohhkay, then! Maybe just the audiobooks is the way to go then?

New York Public Library's eNYPL collection goes a few steps further and has ebooks for loan as well, which are readable on Mobipocket or Adobe. Their audiobooks are compatible with iPod, iPhone, iPod touch and other generic mp3 players - they come in either mp3/wma format. YAY THEM! Just a further note on their audiobooks - they have different types: those that are always available for download and you don't have to wait, and those that you may have to place a hold for. Wow - I didn't know you could do that. Is that a budget thing?? Unsure. Just to show you what I mean, I grabbed the first title in their 'Recently returned' ebooks (yeah, it's lurid looking but HELLO it's an example - besides, don't be a literary snob) and eNYPL owns 4 copies, 1 of which is available now. So, that's how it works! Looked through their downloadable music and umm no rap, reggae etc. Seems to be classical, concertos, opera, instrumental, film, choral, ballet etc. Err don't know that would be wholly popular. Am wondering if that's a money/copyright thing? Don't know.

Is there any chance that we would move in this direction? I have no idea of the costs involved but would really like to know, although I don't suppose this is a practical idea if we weren't sure people were going to use it - no point having a service that people won't access. And if we were going to have ebooks (just a suggestion) is it possible to have the more recent/popular titles - i.e. bestseller titles? Now that I'm definitely not sure of but wouldn't mind knowing the answer to.

Am more aware, thanks to this tutorial, of the things I do online and how what I've thought of as two separate activities (my playing and the library) could actually meet quite well in some respects. Have also learned not to be a snob about the ways in which customers choose to use library services. Somewhat. Will also probably keep up this blog as I explore other types of libraries in other parts of the world and see how they reach their virtual customers :)

And no, I still don't know whether or not to add Memphis, Tennessee to my trip!

Upcoming posts reading programmes for adults - book trailers! Watch this space . . .

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2 comments

Well done! All finished and with time to spare!

by Kelly on August 5, 2008 at 12:26 PM. #

yes, although I was rather long winded LOL. have been looking at adult reading programmes. some interesting stuff out there, although I like the 52 books, 52 weeks idea.

by catatonia on August 5, 2008 at 4:21 PM. #

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