Sunday, March 31, 2013

Social Media in Libraries

I am truly impressed with how various libraries have embraced social media. I read this article and think it's a great way to demonstrate that libraries can professionally utilize social media to engage patrons: 20 Ways Libraries are Using Pinterest

Below are a few other social media success stories (based purely on opinion):

I randomly chose a library to research catalog formats during school, and I came across the Salt Lake City Public Library. I've thought about their format ever since, because I love how interactive it is. Patrons can rate books on a 1-5 star scale, write reviews (similar to Amazon), and "share" their updates on Facebook, Twitter, and through email. To me, this truly engages a younger population while giving them a chance to voice their opinions. Having patrons identify with their library both in person and online is extremely beneficial. Click on this library link and search the first title that pops in your head to see what I mean: Salt Lake City Library.

The Hinsdale Public Library outside Chicago has a great Facebook page. One tricky aspect of social media is that it should be updated often in order to be effective. Yes, it takes time and effort, but I believe it needs to be updated as often as possible. Hinsdale has done a great job of organizing photos into albums, updating regularly, and promoting a variety of programs.

The Urbana Free Library has a Twitter account (@UrbanaLibrary) and they update frequently with library closings, events, and photos. Moreover, the tweets often link back to their Facebook account or the library website. This is a great way to show patrons that a library website can be so much more than books! I can't wait to be a larger part of this discussion and/or implementation.

Other helpful articles on this topic:

5 Tips for Using Social Media in Your Library
The Social Library
4 Reasons Libraries Should be on Social Media

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 Minneapolis PARTNERS for Youth Conference

Last week, I had the privilege to attend the PARTNERS for Youth Conference in Minneapolis. Although I walked away feeling a little bit of brain mushiness, I know it was the kind where I learned a lot and was processing the information (aka it was good brain mushiness). Here are some of my thoughts on the conference:

  • Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds had an incredibly powerful introductory speech. She acknowledged the dire statistics regarding youth, poverty, and cultural currency. One quote I really appreciated is that, "the best gifts may come in unusual packaging." I couldn't agree more. Some of the teens I worked with in Washington State were jaded, disappointed and angry. To the average eye, they seemed like troublemakers not worth a second glance. Levy-Pounds encouraged us to step back from this perspective and recognize that every child should have a chance to obtain greatness.
  • The session about adverse childhood experiences and their impact on brain development opened my eyes. I never realized that our brains develop from back to front, and then reverse to go front to back. This transitional stage (also known as the teenage years) is crucial because the frontal and pre-frontal cortexes are developing. If a child feels threatened, their brain automatically shuts down executive functioning and focuses on survival. If this feeling or atmosphere continues, the brain prunes away what it deems unnecessary. Long story short? Teens that are constantly in "survival mode" will function at a younger mentality than those that are not. Brains are so complex and so important!
  • Takeaway from the sexting/cyber bullying presentation: 75% of teens know sexting is a bad idea, but do it anyway. The struggle is to convey the collateral consequences without letting a bad decision define students (e.g. a criminal charge on their record).
On the whole, this was a great opportunity to learn about youth issues today. However, I must rant a little about one presentation. I won't name names, but it was the quintessential misuse of PowerPoint. My issues were:
  • A Wikipedia citation
  • Rampant unnecessary capitalization
  • Slides full of statistics and/or text
  • Bad grammar and punctuation
  • Choppy videos inserted
  • A stock PowerPoint theme that disrupted the content
  • The kicker: the presenter kept saying that it was a presentation designed for 2 hours but had to be cut down so they would "skip through" some stuff. Why wasn't it cut down before the conference??
Aside from the presentation (and let's face it, that happens far too often), this was a great day. I learned a lot and I know these will continue to be hot button issues in the coming weeks.