While I was playing around with SlideShare.com and finding all kinds of library awesomeness, I decided that I would post one of my own. This presentation isn’t finished and I want to write some blog posts to go along with it because I think I might be on to something.
Yeah, I know there is a large amount of text on this presentation, but that is so that it makes more sense without me speaking. When I finally get the courage to submit this to a conference to present I’m going to remake it without the text.
This presentation about the concept of Online Social Capital and how libraries need to be thinking about it when they are creating their online profiles. I haven’t read about anyone thinking about online social capital but everyone is kind of dancing around the subject in various ways. I hope that this concept helps to clear up the question of “Why libraries should be involved in online networks.”
I won’t go into too much detail in this post and I hope that you get the information you need from this presentation, but expect some future blog posts that expand on some of the key concepts here. Let me know what you think.
*I am a little frustrated with figuring out how to get the pictures in the presentation to load. Right now there are photos that say that Quicktime and a Decompressor are needed to view the photos. If someone knows how to get that to work I’m all ears.
First, let me say that I absolutely love the idea of libraries following a bookstore model so I’m already coming from a biased opinion. I think that, in general, libraries have a lot to learn from all retail businesses about getting our resources off our shelves and into the hands of our patrons. In fact, I would even go so far as to relate an item circulating in libraries making a sale in retail. It seems to me that having the objective of increasing the number our library materials coming off of our shelves in an efficient manner is the same thing that retail stores are attempting to do with their sales. If that’s true, and a library wants to increase its circulation or its “sales” maybe I should just start calling the circulation of library materials, library sales?
There are, of course, quite a few differences between library materials and retail products. For example, people have to return a library item and the item is owned by
the people of the community as whole through the government purchase and distribution of it. The item can be “re-sold” a multitude of times and people only pay for the item if it is lost, damaged, or returned late. We try not to let the market dictate too fully about which items are purchased. And I’m not suggesting that we are competing with bookstores or retail markets because I think we serve fundamentally different purposes. But really, I think that the actual process of getting the item off the shelf and into the hands of the patron is the same as making a sale and many of the techniques of making more successful sales can be applied to increasing circulation.
In the end, I don’t think that anything would really change about the actual circulation of library materials by simply calling it a new name except that we might begin to look at circulation in a new way and our “sales” would hopefully increase. By renaming the process we might look more closely at the vast number of more refined techniques that retail stores (not just bookstores) use to get their products into the hands of the people in their places of business. Perhaps by simply renaming the movement of the library materials we will get librarians to start thinking about using some of those techniques more often. So maybe from now I won’t “check out books,” instead I’ll “make sales.”
Getclicky.com is a great web analytics tool that is not only free and easy to use but extremely powerful. You can see who is visiting your website, from where, where they go on your site, and what operating system and browser they use. This can allow libraries to make better educated decisions about the design of their websites. Take a look!
If you find better websites or use getclicky please email or comment and let me know how you use it. And, as always, comment, criticize, and don’t forget to subscribe.
I always feel like working at a library is just like the Matrix because everything we need to do our job is right here for us at our fingertips. Anything we want to learn from languages to marketing to budgeting is available to us at all times on our shelves. So it always surprises me when I see that libraries are not at the forefront of technology, innovation, and design. I think its time that we, as librarians, take the responsibility to take the time to learn everything we need to do our jobs better. After all, how can we expect our patrons to learn when we don’t do it ourselves. So this is my challenge to all librarians – find out what you need to learn to do your job better, then learn it.
Of course, I might be totally wrong here. If I am, take the time to comment, criticize, and don’t forget to subscribe, and let me know how you feel. Thanks Team.
And as always, if you have a couple bucks laying around…. Why not donate it to the Coastal Education Project and give the gift of education to coastal communities around the world. http://www.coastaleducationproject.org
I’m still amazed at the number of libraries that don’t have websites. Websites are key to the access of information for our patrons, whether librarians like it or not. This means that every library, no matter how small cannot afford to not have a website. While I don’t believe that iWeb is the only way to create a library website, it does allow for many interesting features that are easy and fun to use. It is also fairly inexpensive. If you would like to see how we have created our library website using iWeb, please feel free to visit our website at http://www.libraryatlincoln.org. As always, please feel free to comment or criticize, but don’t forget to subscribe. If you have any extra cash, you can always donate to the California non-profit – http://www.coastaleducationproject.org and make education and literacy a real possibility for everyone on the coast.