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Magazines > Computers in Libraries > September 2010

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Vol. 30 No. 7 — September 2010
Getting More and More Social
by Dick Kaser

We turn once again this month to the topic of social media, social networking, and how libraries can tap into this enduring trend.

A year ago, when we set the theme for this issue, we asked librarians in the field to “go beyond the apps,” by which we meant “beyond the hype of the brand names” and to share with our readers how these tools can actually be employed by real libraries to achieve real goals without draining the bandwidth of staff.

In the cover story, Curt Tagtmeier, of the Fremont Public Library ( Ill.), tells how his library went about weighing the relative merits of two of the big social networking platforms, Facebook and Twitter. Could a library, he asked, choose just one or the other, or does the library have to use both to become a part of the social conversation?

At the California Digital Library, Joan Starr asked the question in a slightly different way. Can a library get away with reusing content, say from a newsletter, to take advantage of Twitter’s reach without having to invest in a whole new content offering?

The social media are not just good for library outreach, of course.

Perhaps the best way to evaluate social networking platforms is to use them for your own professional development. At least that’s what two public librarians in training roles, Marianne Lenox and Maurice Coleman, advocate in their report on how they use their own social networks to become better at what they do.

And not to overlook the ongoing role of the library website in the socially networked age, Cynthia Kiyotake, from Arapahoe Library District, reports on how a collections-focused website can benefit from the addition of social elements.

The four case studies presented in this issue offer some true insights on a range of topics related to social media deployments in libraries.

So if you are still thinking about how to use social networking tools in your library or for your own professional development, I encourage you to peruse the lot of this month’s contributed features and columns.

I hope to see you next month (October) for our sister events, Internet Librarian in Monterey and Internet Librarian International in London.

Dick Kaser, Executive Editor


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