Recent Presentation at John Abbott College: Join the Conversation in the Blogosphere

ImageInformation and Library Technologies Department, John Abbott College, Ste.- Anne-de-Bellevue, October 22nd.

Guest speaker Graham Lavender drew upon his personal and institutional blogging experience with the McGill Library Student and Staff Blogs and McGill Twitter, to provide guidelines for the use of blogging and Twitter, as tools for self-promotion and the promotion of library services.

Lavender offered advice on getting started, which included signing up for a free account at  WordPress and adding yourself to LISWiki. He recommended reading other people’s blogs; they are current, offer a variety of viewpoints and present an opportunity to learn about the community. If your blogs have a focus, they will attract people who share your interests. Before advertising your blog, write at least two interesting posts. Read and comment on other people’s blogs and create a link to yours. The blogosphere is a friendly community, where established bloggers want to encourage newcomers.

According to Lavender, blogging is a way for students to “get their feet wet” in the professional community.  A blog that demonstrates your interest in your field and your involvement in the community can be a useful tool for impressing potential employers. But blog, don’t brag. His point that not many ILT students and information technicians are blogging, was confirmed when he asked the bloggers in the room to identify themselves.  Alison Nickel, an ILT student, later commented that she was not the type of person to blog and that time was a major constraint. She would, however, read other people’s blogs and could see how others would find blogging useful.

Implementing blogging at the institutional level involves gathering a small group of committed bloggers and preparing a business case. Research the costs, identify who will maintain the content, create guidelines, indicate the value to users, and get support from the top.  McGill on Twitter is used to promote new services and events and to interact directly with students about library services.

Lavender, a Liaison Librarian at the Howard Ross Library of Management, concluded his presentation by inviting members of the audience to join in on the conversation and promote themselves. He was the guest of a group of students in Barbara Houghton’s public relations class.

PHOTO: Left to right: Christine Biron, teacher Barbara Houghton, Samantha Touchette, Samkutty Athukkattathu Varghese, Patricia Munoz Goudeau, speaker Graham Lavender and Chareen Dias.