Monday, March 30, 2009

Trail Blazing Aspirations...

Don't follow where the path may lead.  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.                                                                                                   Ralph Waldo Emerson

I having been filling in as a Library assistant as part of the Young People's team at the Library where I already work.  I am truly loving doing the job and all that it entails, and have been working full time for the last month or so.  Initially I was worried about doing the job as it is sort of a sidewards step towards actually getting to work as a librarian, but the experience I am gaining is invaluable and is good for my resume.  The thing I find hardest is the lack of time on my computer playing around and catching up on what it happening around the world in Library Land.  I am hoping that now I have my very own laptop I'll be able to keep on top of things (no 14 year old boys allowed!).

My talk to council went very well.  The Corporate Communications team have started twittering and are beginning to push information out to the community about all aspects of council, which I think is great!  We (Toowoomba Regional Council) also received a plug about twittering from Mosman Council , who were the first in Australia to have a twitter account.

I will say it again (and again and again....) our library truly needs to start moving with the times. It doesn't matter that we are in a regional area, or that out here we don't do things like that!  We need to upskill our staff and encourage all who work there to learn new skills.  We need to use some of the tools that are freely available and start promoting who we are and what we do.  We need to tell people what great services we provide and what wonderful resources we have to offer.  We need to let our customers share their stories about us and then we need to tell them to all who will listen!  And we need to take responsibility for it, not leave it up to others.

I have encouraged all who work at our regional libraries to partake in the State Library of Queensland's Licence 2 Test Drive .  This program is a variation on Helene Blowers 23 Things , and is one of the most rewarding training programs I have ever been part of.  So far quite a few of the library assistants have joined up, and of this I am so proud.  I have also signed up and can't wait to rediscover the 23 things that truly changed the way I 'think' and 'do' libraries.

I saw the above mentioned quote on the wall at my gym this morning, and I experienced what Oprah calls an 'Aha' moment.   I don't want to sit behind a desk and serve people, I want to stand next to them.  I don't want to do what others are doing in my workplace, I want to create my workplace in the digital spaces that people (our customers) already inhabit.   I don't want to let the fact that I am not working as a librarian as yet stop me from doing what I believe in, nor stop me from participating fully or being responsible for my own learning journey.  I want to leave a trail.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My MacBook

Just a quick blog post to brag about my new Macbook.  I sooo couldn't resist this awesome photo in Flickr  which captures some of my new favourite things!  My kids tell me that I love my iPhone more than them (sometimes true) and now I have another new gadget to love!
The last week has been a massive learning curve as I learn 'Mac', and I am hoping to attend some beginner 'mac' classes next sat so I can continue my learning journey!  Even blogging - something I love to do and which had been like second nature to me tonight has been a whole new adventure with my Mac.
Will blog again tomorrow and share some more of what has been happening lately.  Thanks for taking the time to drop by :)

PS Still can't find my user photo, and this will be my first question in class!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Building a digital identity

I am going to attend a meeting with the Corporate Communications team plus an IT member from our local Regional Council to discuss new ways of marketing in the digital environment next week. For anyone who has read any of my blog posts, you would know that I believe that libraries in general don't market themselves well. I have often commented on other ways we could be doing this using some of the social networking tools that are available at the moment. I love David Lee King's quote from his book 'Designing the Digital Experience': 'Digital Landscapes allow us to invite participation - their goal is to jump start conversations about products and services'. He also talks about the need to invite people to participate with you, your community and your organisation.

Here is a brief outline of the main 5 points I want to share:

Corporate Brand - We can present our brand to not only our local community, but to a state, national and international community of people through social networking. A corporate digital presence allows for viral marketing, hot linking, importing blog posts and uses images to illustrate conversations.

Tools - I am going to concentrate on just three: Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, and talk about their rise to fame, some statistics and how people use them. These tools allow people to create content, participate in real conversations, tell personal stories and create positive, memorable experiences (King 2008).

Community Engagement - These tools allow the free flow of conversation between staff members, between staff and community members and between community members and other interested parties. They also encourage transparency and the feedback provided via community engagement can lead to dynamic 24/7 town hall meetings that take place in digital spaces instead of physical ones. Free and open lines of communication are available to the public, which can only improve our customer service and customer focus. Our Toowoomba is a wonderful example of a local website that encourages community engagement . I would love to see us advertise our events with them! Once the event is registered with them, the link can be used to viral market via Facebook and twitter.

Immediacy - Being in these spaces allows us to create content and deliver it almost immediately. It also allows us to follow up queries or complaints often instantaneously or within a few hours, instead of days or weeks. The information that is pushed is interactive and encourages participation. Kathryn blogged about creating a Netvibes account that pulled in via RSS feeds conversations about their library as way of evaluating services and keeping up to date with what your community is saying about your organisation. This twitter feed is read from the bottom to top:

Economic Boon - In our current economic crisis, the financial outlay for these services is virtually nothing. The tools themselves are all free, and all that is required is a little staff time and effort for a big results.

Many thanks to @dramagirl for her words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement in helping me put this together. I would also appreciate any feedback that anyone has to offer. Oh, and by the way, the answer to @WazL's question was no!
Thanks for stopping by :-)