Whose space is it anyway?

Flowers at Hampton Court

I’ll be off to Liverpool tomorrow to present at the Facebook Symposium organised by Liverpool John Moores University. I’ve uploaded by talk entitled ‘Whose space is it anyway? Libraries, Librarians and Facebook‘ to slideshare. Thanks to everyone who completed my Facebook and libraries survey, but in particular to Katharine at University of Warwick library and Jo at University of Wolverhampton Learning Centres. Both have great library Facebook pages (which I’ve linked to above) and use a range of features and services to enhance their services. I would like to write up the findings from the survey to update the Facebook case study I did last January. It is interesting to see how experimental and open minded many librarians are being about using Facebook and other web 2.0 technologies. We’ve come a long way since I started the LASSIE project! However, also it is interesting to note the differences in opinions of senior library staff – as the recent JISC attitudinal survey showed. Many did not feel social networking was an appropriate place for libraries to be. Consequently, Facebook and the use of Web 2.0 technologies feels like a real ground up movement at the moment, which is partly what makes it exciting I guess? I’ve got some useful links about social networking in delicious.

On a slightly different track, I’ve started work recently on a new project to develop a Digital Literacy programme for staff and researchers at LSE. I may have mentioned I revamped our training programme for this term, calling it Digital Literacy instead of E-literacy for E-learning, which started to sound a bit dated. So I was interested to read Josie Fraser’s recent posting on Notes towards Digital literacy and how it really doesn’t matter what we call it. I agree although I really have gone right off the name e-literacy! My colleagues put me on to this blog as Josie was the ALT Learning Technologist of the year. It would be great if we could get some papers on this topic at next year’s LILAC (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference): some of you may realise I am the Chair of the Academic Programme and the call for papers is currently out. The theme of emerging technologies is pretty broad, so could cover all aspects of using web 2.0 technologies and digital literacy.

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2 thoughts on “Whose space is it anyway?

  1. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for posting this, and thanks for the mention of the work going on at Warwick! I hope the presentation went really well.

    I notice on your slides there seems to be some question over student opinion of academic Libraries being on Facebook. I thought you may like to know what we have heard about at Warwick. . .

    Antony Brewerton (Head of Warwick Academic Support) had some very positive feedback from the Students Union here when he talked to them about our presence on Facebook, and we do seem to be adding up to 100 fans a month at the moment (many of them seem to be postgraduates, which surprised me).

    When I approached the Students Union at the start of term (via Facebook) about the possibility of linking to the Library Facebook page, and even hosting a Library video on the Student Union freshers page on Facebook, they were only too happy to do it.

    Also, the idea is catching on for other university services as well. I have recently been asked to meet with someone from our IT Services department who has been asked by students to provide an IT Services Facebook page like the Library one, and is now asking for support from the Library in getting it started.

    It seems to me that using Facebook pages for any service or business is something students (or any consumer) can take or leave. Just because a Library has put a page there doesn’t mean we are invading their space, they still have to choose to visit it, and it seems, increasingly, that they do.

  2. Hi Katharine
    Thanks for your feedback about students opinions of Facebook. I raised the question of whether we are invading a social space because I have heard this concern voiced by so many librarians. What my survey showed was that there isn’t a demand as such for a library Facebook page from the student body.

    That said, I think the fact your library page has so many fans shows that many students do welcome the presence of the library and we shouldn’t get hung up on the idea of being unwelcome!

    Thanks again for your help with my research, the idea of promoting the page via the Students’ Union is excellent!

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