Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Example of public library using blog & RSS: Omro Public Library

Found this website of Omro Public Library (Carter Memorial Library, Wisconsin USA) where they are using a blog to provide timely updates on new arrivals. Their members can choose what they would like to borrow or reserve right from the blog.

It's a simple but yet excellent example of how libraries can use blogs to enhance their services to users. Librarians (with access to the blog) can post new content quickly, without having to go through the webmaster and/ or messing with the main library page. Presenting the "what's new" content on a blog is also a much neater way to organise the information, i.e. you don't clutter the main library webpage with too much stuff -- think "Google".

But setting up a blog is only half the story. For optimal usage, library members should use newsfeed readers to receive the library's blog content. That way, the library user can receive timely alerts whenever the blog is updated, rather than having to check the library website (or blog) for updates. Without newsfeed readers or aggregators, the blog becomes just another website.

What I like about Omro PL's webpage is how they've anticipated that some library users may not know how to use aggregators. So they've included very clear instructions and useful links to allow their users to signup to Bloglines (which I found to be the most user-friendly, in my opinion) plus links to webpages that explain how blogs work, and what is RSS and newsfeeds.

Omro PL would not be the only library using a blog, but so far it's the only public library I've come across where they've presented the blog and related information very clearly. Users new to blogging would be able to understand how the library blog & newsfeed reader can work for them.

I've duplicated that part of what Omro PL put up (in case they update their main website):
Would you like to find out which novels, movies, childrens' books & more have arrived at our library? Use our brand-new What's New At Carter Memorial Library blog ("blog' is short for "web log") to see what's just arrived, then choose what you'd like to check out or place a hold on the item right from our blog! As often as new items arrive, we'll add them to our blog.

If you already use an aggregator like Bloglines to keep up with other blogs, make sure to add our blog's RSS newsfeed!

Unfamiliar with the word "blog"? Find out more at How Blogs Work.
Unfamiliar with the terms "aggregator", "newsfeed" or "RSS"? Find out more here.


tag:

2 comments:

  1. Ivan, thanks for the thoughtful comment. :)

    I followed up with what you said with a concept piece on how libraries could benefit by having blogs. See it at http://theory.isthereason.com/?p=101

    ReplyDelete
  2. Updated:
    For more examples of libraries using blogs to promote their new materials, check out the links from this post:
    http://www.greenlakelibrary.org/blog/archives/004912.html

    ReplyDelete

Join the conversation. Leave a comment :)