Sunday, April 10, 2005

Lansing Public Library blogs

Found another public library in the US using blogs as a service (via The Shifted Librarian) -- Lansing Public Library (Illinois). They have not one but four:
1) Lansing Library Adult News
2) Lansing Library Teen News
3) Lansing Library Youth News ("birth to Grade 5", i.e. what we know as "Children Services")
4) Lansing Library - What's New on Our Website (featuring updates on the main library site)

Judging from the archived posts, Lansing PL started their blogs in Feb/ Mar '05. I like how they've included the Instant Messenging icon to indicate if staff is online to answer their questions.

Just dropped a note to their web admin to ask a few questions, like how they promote the blogs and whether they conduct user education sessions on RSS and newsfeeds.

Speaking of which, GadgetDude gave me good suggestions on how to promote RSS as a form of public education to library users. One idea was to create say, a Bloglines account, with sample subscriptions that appeals to certain groups. In fact, Bloglines already allows me to send my subscriptions (I choose what I want to send) via email.

I'll certainly take up this idea. This is really no different from the web resources or pathfinders librarians provide to users, except that this is provided as RSS subscription that they can access as a kind of sample.

I have said this before -- if libraries want to provide blogs, public education on RSS is the other critical success factor. Otherwise, the blogs are really just another webpage to users.

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