End of an era.

And so ends S603, a class where I learned quite a lot about new technologies.  I was probably one of the few students in our class that hadn’t used a blog before.  And I’d tried using RSS feed readers a while ago but could never figure it out.  But now that I’ve learned more about the technologies, I definitely intend to use them more and take advantage of them.  Specifically, I feel that blogs are one of the more useful and productive online tools that libraries can implement.  Sure, there is still Facebook and Myspace to consider, perhaps even Twitter.  I do think it’s interesting when a library has a web-presence on these social networking sites, but I’m not always positive that the impact is positive.  First and foremost, I think that if a profile is created, it should be used.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when I see a library’s profile on, say, Facebook and see that it is never updated or used.  A profile for a library on Facebook should either be simple and clean, directing traffic to the library’s main web page, or it should be constantly updated with information.  I’ve never thought to myself, “Hmm, I wonder what time the library closes tonite.  I’ll check its Facebook account to find out.”  And I definitely don’t think that Twitter is an appropriate forum for libraries.

However, I do feel that blogs are really the perfect medium for a library to create a static, subscribeable web-presence to update, highlight, and expound.  I found a couple of really good examples of libraries that use blogs;http://brighamcitylibrary.blogspot.com/ and http://library.usu.edu/blog/ are blogs by two libraries that I’ve worked in.  I love these examples because of the layouts they have and all of the information that they make available in them.  Both blogs highlight features in their collections, both are updated rather regularly, and both employ widgets that create an immersive and engaging page.  I especially love the Brigham City Library’s blog because they are such a small library, yet they really take advantage of their blog and its abilities.  They illustrate how a smaller library, even a branch library, can adapt technologies and use these programs to create a strong online presence, especially when it comes at a relatively low-cost.  All that’s needed is the knowhow.  I mentioned this in class, but the comparisons are staggering when looking at the Salt Lake City public library’s website.  The only online, virtual presence they have is their site, and the only reference help they offer online is email (kind of anticlimactic if you ask me).

Even though our class has ended, I think I will probably continue this blog; it gives me an environment to wax poetic and write about things about school, work, and life.  Plus, it’ll be important for me to keep my web 2.0 skills sharp since I’ll be starting the post-graduation job hunt soon.  And I’ve enjoyed using WordPress for the most part; my only gripe is that they charge if you want to customize the html coding on your blog.  But, the fee is relatively small, and it would be nice to be able to have an html sandbox to play around in.  The account I have now really limits what I’m able to do with the html, and I’d like to be able to work more at creating meshup types of features in my blog.

Ultimately, I feel that it’s important for libraries to have a strong web-presence.  Libraries need to be in tune with current and future technological trends in order to serve their patrons.  But I also definitely feel that their presence should be simple, effective, and professional.  Blogs are the best way to compliment a library’s home page, and I hope that more libraries take advantage of them.

I’ll end with one of my favorite Billy Joel songs, Say Goodbye to Hollywood, as a farewell to my fellow classmates and teacher.

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