I know I’m dating myself here, but I don’t remember ever having a cool librarian as a kid. Instead, the librarians I knew had pursed lips, shushed people for a living, and slept with the Dewey Decimal System.
Not today. Librarians are Twittering, Facebooking, blogging, wiki-ing, and definitely not sleeping with the Dewey Decimal System.
If you want proof, take a look at the Library page of the Online Education Database, which currently contains reviews of 1,081 programs from 86 accredited online colleges. There, you’ll find tons of references written by and for librarians about using social media in libraries around the country.
Here’s what the Library page says about Twitter, for example:
Twitter is a free communication and social networking tool which allows you to convey short messages of up to 140 characters to your circle of friends via the Twitter website, SMS, email, IM, or other Twitter client. Messages appear not only within your profile on Twitter, but are sent to your community of followers who have signed up to receive your updates. Often referred to as microblogging, this new phenomenon has caught on with over 300,000 users on Twitter alone including Barack Obama and John Edwards. Twitter recently made the cut as one of Time’s Best 50 Websites of 2007. Librarians are using it to communicate at conferences and events and to keep up with developments in the field, and libraries have begun using it to promote their services.
Among their listings are librarian-only applications and networks like:
Shakespeare High Cafeteria: This online tribute to Shakespeare features active discussions about Shakespeare news, book clubs, a creative writing center, “staff lounge,” study help and teaching ideas.
Readers Read: Browse forum topics like publishing industry, general fiction, mystery/thriller, children’s books and nonfiction.
TeacherLibrarianNing: Educators and librarians get together on this network, where you can join groups, post photos, upload videos and more.
Shelfari: This blog about books and book collecting has a MySpace page and a Facebook application.
GoodReads: Keep track of what you and your friends are reading through this online networking site.
BookJetty: BookJetty lets users organize, rate and review books and even look up books in the site’s database of over 300 libraries around the world. Users also get a blog that lets them show off a “bookshelf” to friends.
Books iRead: Another Facebook app that lets you rate, review, and share books you’ve read.
You can also catch a number of 21st century posts on the site, including these:
Need any more proof that librarians are cool? I don’t think so. Now shush!