School started today and getting the Library ready for the influx of 475 new first years as well as returning students, new faculty, new deans, and new adjuncts has been a whirlwind. But the results are outstanding. Largely this is due to our library crew embracing and taking technology to a whole new level. We are starting out the year with a series of new initiatives that are pretty cool. Here are some of the highlights:
1. We have started using wikis to create subject guides. What a relief! You can actually update and modify the pages to accomodate instructor's needs, students' feedback and new additions to the collection. Awesome and very well received. Hopefully they will be very used.
2. We are trying chat reference. We've held back from chat in the past because we are such a small staff but with more of our students going abroad and a new librarian in the mix, we thought it was time to give it a go. More on that as the school year progresses...it's hard to know how that's working on day 1.
3. We are blogging. I wish my co-workers were a little more active in posting but we are maintaining a library blog to highlight events at the library but also things the librarians think are cool. (Oh, there are so many). And hey, if you are checking that out, you will deja vu this post.
4. We are tracking reference questions using a free, online tool from zoho. We just stareted it today but it was so much easier to keep track of questions. We kept the screen open and the form is easy to fill out and WHAM, we've got improved data on reference.
5. We have been spending most of the summer adding our newest additions to the collection into Flickr. This is my personal pet project and it has been a lot more work than I thought it would be but if I can devote the time to tagging in it as much as I would like, I think it will be a cool way for faculty to share books with one another, comment, suggest other books, and get to know our collection better, which is changing rapidly.
I have to give credit to my co-workers (and I don't think they are even reading this). Some of them are more resistant to technology than others but they have shrugged off their reticence in favor of experimentation. Not all of these initiatives will be successful in the long term but by trying them out, the Library is leading the way on our campus for innovation in technology. And that is where the library needs to be, at our school and I bet at many others. We are giving it a go and I am so proud to work somewhere that is willing to take that chance. It's a great way to kick off the school year: invigorated, excited, and trying new things. It might make me insanely busy, but it feels insanely great.