The Here and Now—A Closer Look at Social Media, Open Courses and Innovative Library Programming from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

Published: Thursday, May 28, 2015 by Allison Randall Gatt

This is the third and final post of a three-part summary of the Library 2.015 Spring Summit that took place on April 30, 2015. In this segment, three expert librarians take a look at the ways in which social media, MOOCs and a variety of other technological tools can be used in library programming, and how to choose what works best in a variety of library environments and communities.

It’s All About Interaction
The Spring Summit’s third presentation, entitled The Here and Now (click on the title here to go to the list of recordings), featured Jen Jumba, a public librarian and the instructor of the iSchool’s LIBR 246 Web 2.0 and Social Media course; Sara Gillespie Swanson, assistant director for information literacy at Davidson College; and Dr. Joyce Valenza, assistant professor and director of the MLIS program at Rutgers University.

Jumba gave a brief overview of all the reasons why, how and when (and a few other ‘w’s) to use social media tools and how to make them effective. She stressed trying out different platforms and analyzing their pros and cons. “Really think of why you chose it, what its advantages are and what role it will play in your library,” she said. Remember that social media is a “two-way communication tool.” Blogs, Twitter and Facebook content need to stay fresh and current, and engage the targeted audience.

I of course, delight in this idea because I want to be the one who writes the library’s blog, and it’s wonderful to hear about all the ways I could be of value to my future employer. Note to self: sign up for LIBR 246, and check out the prerequisites too, by the way.

Swanson went on to discuss all the ways undergraduate students at Davidson College are engaging in original research. Many are taking massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are a great way for students to interact. MOOCs become a social tool, as well as an educational tool. Doing research this way—with social technologies—develops more collaboration among students, connects students to alternative resources and perspectives, and allows them to be creators of content with blogs, Twitter and other social media. “Libraries support these kinds of research with social technologies by helping students make connections and help them to think about themselves as content creators,” said Swanson.

Technology Must Be Meaningful
Joyce Valenza has worked in a variety of library and information settings and has seen hundreds of exciting and innovative ways to use technology. “Think outside the box?” she asked. “I don’t even see the box.”

Valenza’s presentation inspired librarians, information professional and students like me to continue to challenge ideas and to keep current with the ways people are using technology. “A librarian’s job is to translate library service and make it meaningful for our community,” she said.

Valenza went on to discuss how today’s librarians can rethink collections using app curation, ways to address inequity issues, and the importance of allowing social media to remain unblocked for all users.

Her presentation was full of fun pictures and graphics, encouraging a sense of creativity and delight in creating programs for the library community. There were funny quotes and great examples of services for the bilingual population using technology.

You can read more about Valenza’s great experiences and ideas on her blog. I’ve already bookmarked it and intend to use it as an inspirational toolkit (not a tool “box”) as I plan and create. I might even steal a few ideas for my household of children.

That concludes our whirlwind series on the Library 2.015 Spring Summit. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first or second posts about the corresponding presentations, be sure to check them out for ideas, technology updates and resources to inspire your future as a librarian or information professional.

More interesting and related content from the iSchool:
Web 2.0 Course Teaches Students How to Maximize Social Media Tools for the Workplace—iSchool news item

Shape Your Graduate School and Professional Goals with iSchool Pinterest Boards

Exploring iSchool Career Pathways—Teacher Librarianship

Chasing Storms or Rainbows—Resources and Inspiration from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

Being In the Know—Advice about Technology and Program Funding from the Library 2.015 Spring Summit

image courtesy of renjith krishnan

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