Sunday, September 23, 2007

Libraries and social networks.

After spending the last week with readings on online communities, mostly scholarly, we're looking at Social Networks in the social computing class this coming week. I usually try to come up with a quote or two to begin the online lecture, something to get the thought processes percolating. These two quotes both came across my news crawlers, and I though they made a really poignant juxtaposition:

  • Each day hundreds of people go to the Temple Terrace Public Library to use the computers and surf the web. But patrons should not expect to check out one of the most popular sites online at the library. That's because Temple Terrace has a ban on myspace.com, as well as chat rooms and some online blogs. Michael Dunn, Temple Terrace Spokesperson says, “We're not there to promote websites. We're there to help people find a job, acquire information, learn things that could help them in their lives.” [Retrieved 9/22/2007 from http://www.tampabays10.com/printfullstory.aspx?storyid=61885].
  • “…It's not just about Jena, but about inequalities and disparities around the country,” said Stephanie Brown, 26, national youth director for the NAACP, who estimated that about 2,000 college students were among the throngs of mostly black protesters who overwhelmed the tiny central Louisiana town. …Brown said the Jena case resonates with the college-aged crowd because they aren't much older than the six youths charged. Many of the student protesters had been sharing information about the case through Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking Web sites. [Retrieved 9/22/2007 from http://www.registerguard.com/news/2007/09/21/a1.nat.jena.0921.p1.php?section=nation_world].

Interesting times ahead for libraries, I think. I know many librarians are a bit soured on the social networking programs, but I think we need to look at libraries' involvment with these applications through a different lens. Throwing up a profile page hasn't been effective for most libraries, but that doesn't mean they can turn their backs on the phenomenon. We'll be looking at what does make sense this week. I'll be interested to see what the class thinks after some of the readings and assignments.

1 comment:

Jeff Scott said...

I think many libraries expect to see stats with the programs. The reality is that it is a marketing and outreach technique. Often, this means there are no stats linked to core library usage stats (such as book checkout). I think everyone is digesting it now. It isn't going away.