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- The Ann Arbor District Library uses blogs -- and leaves the comments open -- to create an online dialogue between the library and its patrons. Click here for more info.
- The Missouri River Regional Library, which serves Cole and Osage Counties in Missouri, has a blog that is dedicated to the Library Expansion Project that the library is currently undertaking. The community is starting to notice and comment on the project - both positively and negatively - which gives the library a chance to address issues quickly and completely.
Tips for Developing Online Communities
Thoughts About Online Communities in Libraries
Questions, Comments, What You'd Like to Know About Online Communities
I am curious about the accountability factor regarding online communities. Specifically, is it a better idea to force users to "sign in" to a wiki (or blog) in order to allow them to edit the page? Is it a good idea to require a library card number as a username (or allow them to create a username\password that is connected to a card) to help prevent spamming the site? Or have open sites been successful? -Posted by Mike Beccaria 8-11-05
At MRRL, we don't require any kind of registration or signing in to comment on our blog. We've had very few problems with it, too. I have to go in and delete the occasional poker or casino spam, but it's not too bad. We have a statement above our comment form, however, that warns folks that comments will be deleted if they are off-topic or rude. Our patrons have had no problem abiding by that (even when they disagree with us)! - Posted by Robin Hastings 8-12-05
I would be really interested to see some statistical measures of the success of various tools for fostering online community in libraries--maybe number of overall web-site visits: pre-blog and post blog; pre-virtual reference and post-virtual reference, etc., measure of visits to "regular" library web-site vs. visits to online community area. -SMK 8-22-05
Great Examples of Libraries Creating Online Communities for Their Patrons
Forums and Listservs
Online Book Clubs
- Ann Arbor District Library Blogs - The Ann Arbor District Library has a number of blogs on their website. They include:
Posts are tagged with one or more categories so that each post can be in more than one blog (for example "teens" and "events" or "kids" and "audio".
On all of these blogs, the AADL has chosen to leave comments open, which has led to some interesting online discussions between the library staff and their patrons. Technological changes, the website's redesign, and library construction plans have inspired many comments -- some positive, some negative, but all useful. One item about the library's system to e-mail due date notices on books ended up with 25 comments while a post about gaming tournaments ended up with over 60 comments! This is a great model that could be used in other libraries. Blogs are a fantastic tool for disseminating information to patrons, but it is also a great tool for soliciting useful feedback from patrons if a library is willing to allow and encourage patron comments. This is a great way to develop an online community and a better relationship with your patrons!
- Check out the wiki section on virtual reference services for relevant articles, success stories, and a list of libraries that use IM.
Great Examples of Online Communities Among Librarians
General Online Communities
- LISNews is a collaborative weblog dedicated to reporting news and discussing current events in the library world. It is an open community where any librarian can post stories and comment on posts, making it far more of a "conversation" than the average blog.
Blogs and Websites to Watch
- BlogJunction from the folks at WebJunction
Specific Blog Posts, Articles, and Presentations
- Hill, Chrystie. Everything I Need To Know I Learned Online. Library Journal (Feb 2005).