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Does Not Compute: Michigan Libraries and Their Presence Online.

Lisa
March 11, 2011

Does Not Compute: Michigan Libraries and Their Presence Online.

Lisa

March 11, 2011
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  1. Michigan  Libraries  and  Their  Presence  Online.  
    http://blog.deweydistriclibrary.com  
     
    Lisa  M.  Rabey  
    digital.biblyotheke  
    [email protected]  
     
    Kristin  LaLonde  
    Wayne  State  University  
    [email protected]  

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  2. —    Many   libraries   in   Michigan   consider   having   an  
    online  presence  an  option  and  not  a  necessity.  This  
    however,  is  quickly  becoming  a  dangerous  position  
    for  libraries  to  take.    
    —   The  time  has  come  where  it  is  no  longer  optional  
    for   Michigan   libraries   to   opt   out   of   an   online  
    presence;   recent   studies   illustrate   libraries   that   do  
    not   adapt   to   digital   information   gathering  
    techniques  are  dangerously  becoming  irrelevant  to  
    their  communities.  
     

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  3. —  According  to  Pew  Internet  in  2010,  75%  of  
    American  adults  have  access  to  the  Internet  in  
    some  form  and  a  large  percentage  of  these  users  
    are  engaging  with  civic,  business  or  entertainment  
    online  communities.    
    —  Internet  usage  is  growing  sharpest  for  Baby  
    Boomers,  not  just  those  under  the  age  of  25.    
    —  Our  presentation  will  show  the  growing  necessity  
    of  a  well  designed,  accessible  library  website  
    contrasted  with  the  poor  quality  of  many  
    Michigan  Public  Library  websites.    

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  4. —  This  contrast  will  illustrate  our  main  argument,  
    that  the  possession  of  a  content  rich  website  
    should  rank  on  priority  with  other  established  
    library  services,  such  as  a  searchable  catalog,  in  
    order  for  Michigan  Public  Libraries  to  remain  
    relevant  to  their  communities.    
    —  We  argue  that  the  question  for  libraries  should  
    no  longer  be  if  the  library  needs  a  slick,  
    information  rich  web  portal  but  rather  how  the  
    library  can  get  and  maintain  one  affordably  

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  5. —  Many  Michigan  public  libraries  are  not  keeping  pace  with  
    current  online  information  gathering  behavior.  
    —  Lack  of  structure  to  content/policy  for  social  media  use.  
    —  Abandoned  web  projects.  
    —  No  current    or  very  little  contact  information.  
    —  Underutilization  of  free  online  tools.  
    —  No  consistency  with  using  same  tools  for  different  projects.  
    —  Content  is  stagnant  or  non-­‐existent.  
    —  Additionally,  content  not  appropriate  for  social  media.  
    —  No  or  little  access  to  library  services.  
    —  Usability  and  accessibility  needs  are  not  addressed.  
    —  Sites  are  not  mobile/smartphone  accessible.  

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  6. ALA’s  State  of  America’s  Libraries  Report,  2010:  
    —  60%  renew  their  materials  online.  
    —  57%  access  their  library’s  website  on  a  regular  
    basis.  
    —  Number  of  social  networking  users  has  doubled  
    in  the  last  2  years.  

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  7. —  83%  have  cell  phones  or  smartphones  
    —   35%  access  the  web  from  their  phones  
    —   17%  own  a  smartphone  
    —  74%  use  the  Internet  
    —  60%  have  broadband  at  home  
    —  46%  have  a  laptop  
    —  42%  Wikipedia  
    —  8%    Twitter  
    —  5%  ebook  reader  
    —  4%  location-­‐based  services  
     
     
     
     

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  8. —  Issue:  Abandoned  web  projects.  
    —   Create  a  social  media  policy  and  a  project  management  
    matrix  to  ensure  regular  use,  updates  and  maintenance.  
    —  Issue:  No  current  or  very  little  contact  information.  
    —  Treat  your  web  presence  like  your  virtual  front  door.  Provide  
    brick  and  mortar  address,  phone  numbers  and  email  
    addresses.  Be  sure  to  update  when  necessary.  
    —  Issue:  Underutilization  of  free  online  tools.  
    —  Popular  sites  such  as  Facebook,  Twitter,  Flickr,  YouTube  are  
    not  only  free  to  use  but  also  provide  tutorials.    
    —  These  sites  also  provide  another  level  of  engagement  with  
    your  patrons.  

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  9. —  Issue:  No  consistency  with  using  the  same  tools  for  
    different  projects.  
    —   When  creating  a  social  media  policy,  decide  which  tools  are  the  
    best  for  your  library  for  each  purpose.  For  example:  If  creating  
    separate  blogs  for  adult  services  and  teens,  keep  them  on  the  same  
    service  instead  on  differing  ones  for  ease  of  use  and  updating.  
    —  Issue:  Content  is  stagnant  or  non-­‐existent.  
    —  Creating  new  content  is  important  for  keeping  your  patrons  
    engaged  with  your  library  online  and  off.      
    —  Use  a  Content  Management  System  (CMS)  such  as  WordPress,  
    Drupal  or  Joomla  to  build,  manage  and  provide  content  on  the  fly.  
    —  Library  of  Michigan,  partnering  with  IMLS,  has  a  program  that  will  
    build  and  deploy  a  site  FOR  FREE  built  on  the  popular  Plone  CMS  
    derivative,  Plinkit.  

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  10. —  Issue:  Content  is  stagnant  or  non-­‐existent.  
    —  Services  such  as  Facebook  and  Twitter  make  it  easy  to  
    update  new  content  such  as  events,  news,  new  services  and  
    materials.  Even  better,  these  services  can  also  be  updated  at  
    the  same  time  via  free  services  such  as  HootSuite.  
    —  Inappropriate  content  doesn’t  have  to  mean  XXX.  But  it  can  
    mean  that  library  accounts  should  not  be  used  for  discussing  
    personal  issues,  posting  non-­‐library  related  items  or  hold  any
     
    kind  of  opinion.  
    —  Issue:  No  or  little  access  to  library  services.  
    —  At  this  point,  it  is  absolutely  imperative  to  have  an  OPAC  
    available  and  to  make  your  collections  searchable  online.    
    Many,  if  not  most,  consortiums  in  Michigan  provide  this  
    service  as  well  as  technical  support.  
     

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  11. —  Issue:  Usability  and  accessibility  needs  are  not  addressed.  
    —  Websites  are  created  for  the  end  user,  not  for  the  
    designer.    You  should  attempt  to  address  the  needs  of  
    your  community  so  that  the  visually  and  hearing  
    impaired  have  the  same  access  to  information  as  the  
    non-­‐impaired.  
    —   Issue:  Sites  are  not  mobile/smartphone  
    accessible.  
    —   You  don’t  have  to  build  a  new  site  from  scratch  for  
    your  mobile  users.  Many  popular  CMS’s  have  plugins  
    available  to  do  the  work  for  you.  

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  12. —  94%  of  American’s  find  presence  of  libraries  in  their  
    communities  as  enriching  their  lives  
    —  71%  of  libraries  report  they  are  the  only  sources  of  free  
    access  to  computers  and  interwebs  in  their  
    community  
    —  20%  is  the  percentage  of  library  use  increase,  as  
    notated  by  the  ALA,  since  2009.  
     

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  13. —  Try  it  out:  Personal  before  business.  
    —  Create  a  blog  or  Twitter  or  Facebook  accounts.  
    —  Only  begin  with  one  or  two  technologies.  Blog  and  
    Twitter,  Twitter  or  Facebook,  then  expand  as  needed.  
    —  Only  use  technologies  your  patron  will  use.  
    —  Keep  the  content  relevant  but  personable.  
    —  All  it  takes  is  one  person  passionate  about  the  
    technology  to  make  it  work.  
    —  Don’t  feel  guilty  about  logging  into  social  networking  
    sites  when  at  work  –  it  can  be  used  professionally!  

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  14. “At  the  heart  of  library/archive  advocacy  is  the  active  
    pursuit  to  continue  to  influence  the  community  at  large  
    to  the  worth  and  purpose  of  the  local  library  or  
    archives.”  –  Lisa  Rabey  
    Can  be  broken  down  into  four  simple  rules:  
    —  Engage  with  your  community  
    —  Create  a  (consistent)  brand  
    —  Connect  your  networks  
    —  Create  meaningful  content  

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