Author Archives: lesalazar

Access

I’ve learned a great deal in this course about the potential of social media tools to help advance the mission and goals of libraries and other LIS institutions; as the world rapidly advances towards an increasing use of online and mobile resources, we can’t forget that issues of access to technology and these resources can’t be overlooked. The so called digital divide and information literacy go hand in hand with access: patrons without the means or knowledge to use and interact with all the great tools we’ve discussed will undoubtedly suffer personally and professionally.

The traditional means still exist, but all the great content that libraries extend online will remain a click too far for those without internet access, those whom don’t have a computer at home, or those unfamiliar that such tools exist. Yet, libraries have a responsibility to such patrons and indeed some of the very tools discussed here can be and have been utilized to bridge these gaps. What first comes to mind are videos and screencasts, which have been used extensively by academic libraries (like our own King Library) and a small number of public libraries to help patrons understand how to do research, access databases, and could theoretically be used for an infinite number of applications. The rising use of smartphones and statistics that youth, and especially minorities use these devices to go online more so than others means that this is an area of possible focus. Economically disadvantaged groups and minorities are less likely than other groups to have access and the skills to use this access effectively. Libraries, be they public, school, or academic can step in to educate and ensure patrons can and know how to use the abundant offerings the web has to offer.

Is Google Plus really a Plus for Libraries?

Of the social media we’ve discussed so far in class among Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google +, the tool that most baffles me with its relative lack of popularity is Google +. And by lack of popularity I’m referring to its use by the public in general and libraries in particular. Although I’ve been using the Google suite of products for years now, and this used has increased substantially since starting at SLIS (especially Chat and Drive), I only set up my Google + profile on account of this course. Upon doing so, the cursory check of my contacts for possible addition to circles illustrated that it definitely hasn’t caught on as much as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This translates to the use of G+ by libraries as well, most of the library systems in my area have either a nonexistent page with few or no postings, the bare minimum of information, or don’t have a page set up at all. These are libraries who have a presence on Facebook or Pinterest, or both. Have they decided that Google + is just another social media tool that is one click too far?

As many of my fellow students have commented on, it seems that Google Plus just really hasn’t caught on, but a recent report by Global Web Index “benchmarks Google+ as the second largest social platform in the world.” The author of the posting goes on to state that the future is indeed bright for this platform, and that it has seen growth in user behaviors such as posting videos, comments, and links that surpass Facebook and Twitter. I’m inclined to believe that this is a social media tool that will continue to grow and its potential for library use as well. As a professional tool for librarians I’ve already seen that it surpasses Facebook for instance through the use of communities, one pertinent group being Libraries and Librarians, a “public community about libraries and librarians of all kinds, covering both local and global issues in librarianship.” With the wealth of tools at Google’s disposal, the use of circles to group people together of similar interests (and distribute specific and relevant information to them), the ability to have live Hangouts, all make me think that although use is currently minimal, libraries will have much to take advantage of in the future.

-Luis Salazar

Pinterary

Through the first few weeks of the semester, the social media tool that has most piqued my attention has been Pinterest. Not only because of my nearly complete ignorance as to what it is or how it’s used, but because of its rocketing popularity among social media users. To be honest, I had never really visited any sort of Pinterest page but for a mere second or two prior to the class. My introduction to it came about via Facebook, as friends “pinned” items to their page. Looking back now with the course having shed light on the subject, I realize that two thoughts were evident back then: the majority of my friends who posted were female, and the pins focused on a single activity. In my infinite wisdom I passed this as another form of social media that neither interested me personally, nor had implications for future professional practice. Nothing could be further from the truth, articles on libraries and Pinterest abound, but more importantly, the exquisite Pinterest pages of libraries that may be found is truly incredible. The article “Pinterest as a Tool: Applications in Academic Libraries and Higher Education,” describes the Archer Library’s (University of Regina, Canada) creation of and subsequent use of Pinterest to highlight new acquisitions, library news, photos of staff, with two boards in particular catching my eye: “libraries we love,” and “what are you reading.” Each board had wonderful images and allow interactions between libraries and patrons.

Both this article and Anne Clark’s “Pinterest for Libraries” also highlight the potential for education, which I think is one of the coolest upsides to using this tool. Librarians can collaborate with professors and teachers and pin resources that will assist students in research projects. For youth librarians, there is an abundance of ideas for storytime and arts and crafts. The following quote from Anne’s article really caught my eye: “since Pinterest is a visual medium, it is easy to find things just by looking, instead of trying to remember if you filed an idea under Bulletin Boards or Display Ideas.” It is indeed a visual medium that allows for collaboration and promotion unlike any other social media tool. What better way to promote than images and video, which will leave a greater impression on the mind than any form of text based information. It’s a tool that can be used to good advantage by libraries, although it’s probably more useful for public and academic libraries. Like any social tool however, the success is based on the level of support as evidenced by the lack thereof in the LA County Public Library Pinterest’s page, as opposed to quite the opposite in the Fullerton Public Library’s page.