Social Networking: Positive Uses for Libraries

Are you still on the fence about social networking at the library?

A year ago the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) division of the American Library Association launched the 30 days of positive uses of social networking project. Every day throughout October three YALSA bloggers posted ideas and information about using social networking in the school and public library.
You can download the compilation as a PDF.
Some of the highlights of the posts were ways that social networking can be used to:
• Empower teens
• Give teens the chance to meaningfully serve the community
• Support teen reading and writing/text-based literacy needs and skills
• Give teens opportunities to create and collaborate
• Make sure teens are able to plan and manage projects
• Communicate with community members
• Provide teens with opportunities to choose how to be smart and safe when using technology.
Here’s positive use #1 to give you a flavor of the quality of the compilation: ( is a great tool for collecting and publishing resource lists. In a public and school library teens can use to collect reviews of materials that should be purchased for the library, bookmark and annotate resources that support classroom projects, and collaborate on collecting resources on topics of interest from music to web design and from favorite authors to craft how-to tips.
If teens are interested in using as an information/resource gathering tool they could setup a joint account. (This would allow the teens to collect resources together in one area.) Then, wherever the teens are, if they find a resource that fits their focus they can quickly and easily login to their joint account, add the link, annotate the link, and off they go. even has RSS feeds so that others who are collecting resources on the same topic in the same space will know something new has been added.
If you still want more information, don’t miss these Infopeople master speakers at the California Library Association Conference:
Saturday, October 27 – 3:45 – 5:00 pm
Shawn Gold, MySpace head of marketing and content development
Social Networks as Marketing Tools?

Do you think social software is just for getting a date for Saturday night or a whole new style of communication that will be shaping the way libraries reach customers in the future? Is MySpace just a fad or a key tool for reaching younger audiences? Learn why and how MySpace, with over 200 million registered profiles, has become an Internet phenomenon and get a sense of what social networks are accomplishing and where they’re going in the future.
Sunday, October 28 – 3:15 – 4:30 pm
Craig Newmark, Craigslist founder
Insights into Connecting People and Information

If you think that non-library information is all in the hands of money-grubbing moguls, think again. Come to this session and meet Craig Newmark, customer service rep and founder of craigslist, a non-commercial community bulletin board with classifieds and discussion forums.
Sunday, October 28 – 4:45 – 6:00 pm
Shel Israel, co-author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk With Customers
Libraries: Staying relevant in the Online Age

Blogging and the related social media are having a transformative impact on every aspect of society. There are now 70 million bloggers. By year end there will be more than 200 million registered members of MySpace, making it more populace than all but five countries on Earth. For every New York Times reader, there are 125 people who download YouTube everyday. A majority of these people are under 25 and the social media have become essential to their everyday lives.
What does this mean to your library? How can and should it adapt to this change? How can libraries use social media to remain relevant to young people and connected to their communities? Can blogs be used to educate communities on what libraries have to offer? Most important, how do libraries relate to a new generation who is more accustomed to getting information online than from bookshelves? How does the modern library adapt to this phenomenon? As the new conversational medium becomes part of people’s everyday lives, what will the library of 5, 10 or 15 years look like?