Ten uses for a FE library service blog
Posted by andrewey on August 1, 2008
Blogs are one of the most versatile Web 2.0 tools that you can deploy in your library service. Here are ten simple uses for a blog that any FE library service could utilise. Not only are these functions simple to set up but they are also free!
1 Marketing – blogs are a great way to promote the library service and raise awareness of what you are doing. Blogs are particularly useful in that they make good RSS feeds in to other applications such as your College VLE, Athens homepage etc which further raises the profile of the service.
2 Virtual suggestion box – blogs are an excellent way to generate feedback on the library service and it enables you to publicise what you are doing about any issues raised.
3 Current awareness services/ Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) services – this is a popular use of blogs in HE where a faculty/subject librarian sets up a blog to raise awareness of resources in a particular subject area. Examples of subject blogs from HE include the Open University, University College London and Birbeck, University of London. In FE you can just do this on the one blog with categories for each subject area (as we have done at Coleg Llandrillo).
4 Reader Development activities – this could include virtual reading groups, book reviews and links to national promotions.
5 Book requests – blogs offer a simple means for staff and, particularly, learners to make stock requests to the library.
6 As a discussion forum – particularly with staff/learners at other institutions. On our blog there was a discussion about whether or not wikis are legitimate sources for students to cite in references – the debate was started by a librarian from another college.
7 Promote/host staff or student work – our blog has featured photographs taken by teaching staff (and library staff)
8 Reflective journal – a good educational use but also a useful way for library staff to feedback on training they have undertaken (see my Web Quest posts)
9 Reference service – many libraries are using Instant Messaging for this, but where this software is restricted, as is often the case in FE, blogs make a good alternative. We have added an ‘Ask a librarian’ page to our blog.
10 News items – (the main function of a blog) a way of keeping library users up to date. Blogs are very useful for posting ad hoc arrangements eg vacation opening hours and the like. These can be posted quickly and are readily accessible off campus (and via RSS feeds).
As part of our Inspiring Learning Web 2.0 project I will evaluate how effective each of these uses has been in the case of our library blog. I will post my findings (on this blog) towards the end of the 2008/9 academic year.
If you are using library blogs in other ways please leave a comment.