The Library Minute: Who says it can’t be fun

ASU Libraries video series “The Library Minute” is an example of how to create effective instructional and informational library videos.  Mentioned in a previous post, The Library Minute is one of many tools that the ASU library uses to provide information for their patrons.

One example of what ASU does so well is in the video, Library Minute: RefWorks.   The video is just under a minute, as many of their videos are, which is not that much of an investment of time.  Shorter videos may be more appealing particularly for students who have limited time and must balance school with their personal lives, and watching a library video may be low on their priority list.

The 58 second video on RefWorks begins with a very brief introduction that describes the citation software.  The video continues on with the benefits of using RefWorks for easily organizing citations, and for using whichever style format you need.  The video then shows the ASU Library RefWorks page and shows where on the page that the student can find more information on how to use the software.  The video also takes time in the short amount allotted to interject humor which makes the overall video viewing more enjoyable.

The only criticism of the video might be that the librarian presenting the video is a bit stilted in her dialogue but that actually helps to add to the charm of the video.

The main thing that works so well for The Library Minute is that the videos presents what could be dry information in a fun way.  This may not seem to be an important factor until you consider that it may make the person viewing the video more likely to look at more of the videos that the library produces.

It’s not really that new anymore now, is it?

Online communities can be found everywhere on the internet from news sources like the Huffington Post and Salon, to retailers like Amazon and Newegg, to dating sites like eHarmony and Match.  It would seem that if you are interested in something you are bound to find a website full of people with similar interests.

What makes these community sites successful is simple: people participate in them regularly. Without participants in an online community there is no community.

Many libraries make forays into the world of online community and create blogs in an attempt to foster relationships with their patrons.  They also go a step further by creating Facebook and Twitter profiles.  Libraries would seem to have more concerns relating to online communities however, than in simply creating them.  Some librarians are concerned with privacy issues concerning not only their patrons but themselves.

In the article Facebook for Libraries, David Lee King implores librarians to take advantage of Facebook as it is a good way to connect with their community, the majority of who are on Facebook already.  While the article was interesting it was the comments that told the real story as many of the commenters expressed concern over privacy for not only librarians but for library patrons.  It was interesting how there was so little enthusiasm for implementing something that is basically free except for the amount of time it takes to maintain such a service.

Hilary Davis goes more into these privacy issues in her article Reconsidering Facebook and finds that the benefits outweigh the difficulties of managing Facebook.

Twitter on the other hand seems to have a more enthusiastic following.  Typing “libraries and Twitter” into the search bar finds articles like How Libraries can Leverage Twitter and The Most “Influential” Libraries on Twitter.  These articles spend less time trying to persuade libraries to use Twitter and more time extolling the virtues of the social software.

With all of these articles encouraging the use of such resources it seems a bit discouraging that the message is still not out there, and if librarians are hesitant in embracing social networking websites it makes the success of such endeavors uncertain.