Anthony Andora’s Creative Web Presence Helped Public Library Connect with Users

Student Anthony Andora used his creative writing background to develop an entertaining and informative online presence for the San Mateo County Library System (SMCL) during his Spring 2012 virtual internship.

As SMCL’s creative writing web intern, Andora was responsible for maintaining the Facebook and Twitter pages for the Atherton and Brisbane Libraries. He also developed and wrote two different ongoing series on the San Mateo County Library Blog.

“I wanted to help the library’s web presences become viable online information sources,” Andora said in regards to his Facebook and Twitter updates. A self-proclaimed geek, Andora enjoyed being able to tweet about things in pop culture that relate to library holdings. With topics as varied as PostSecret, Dr. Seuss-style Architecture, and The Hunger Games, his updates had a little something for everyone.

A published manga author, Andora used his contacts in the industry for his Insider Series on the San Mateo County Library Blog. This series featured interviews with a variety of creative professionals, many within the comic book industry. Geared toward a youth demographic filled with aspiring creators, Andora’s posts shed light onto what it’s like to work as a professional artist or editor and how to break into the field one day.

Andora’s Meet the Staff series was a point of pride during his virtual internship experience. As a former library page and current library aide, he knows that there are some really amazing people who work in libraries. He said, “If you get to know the staff, you’d realize that the library is a pretty cool place, and the people working there are the greatest resource available to patrons!” Andora pointed out that providing this personal behind-the-scenes information through interviews helps the public feel more comfortable using the library.

Andora first explored the idea of a virtual internship because he was interested in working from home. A virtual internship allowed Andora to avoid a long commute, while still giving him the chance to gain professional experience. SMCL’s need for a creative writing intern meshed perfectly with Andora’s undergraduate degree in English and his enthusiastic attitude.

Working with social media during his virtual internship turned out to be an excellent complement to Andora’s philosophy of librarianship. “Libraries are more than just a repository,” he said. “They are communities where information flows back and forth.” His work online allowed him to bring SMCL into the virtual world, something that he feels is needed as libraries move toward the future.

Andora, who enrolled in the MLIS program in Spring 2010, has taken a wide variety of classes at SJSU SLIS. He hopes that obtaining as many skills as possible will provide him with a broad foundation when applying for jobs in the future. His dream career would be to help manage information at a large company like Amazon or Google after he graduates in Spring 2013.