What makes an effective teacher-librarian: My personal philosophy.

An effective teacher-librarian should understand that their role is among the most important of all staff members. The reason for this is that the teacher-librarian and the library in which they’re based should provide a font of knowledge used by the entire school community along every step of their educational journey. This means the teacher-librarian must be able to effectively connect and collaborate with people of many different ages, backgrounds, beliefs and viewpoints every day. They must do this not only via their personal interactions, but also via the environment they create in the school library, both as a physical and digital space.


Three major perspective altering moments from my time studying this course:

  • 1. Weeding

It may sound strange, but upon commencement of this course I’d never considered that a library would remove resources in good condition from its collection. I learnt this reality fairly early on in one of my first units, ETL503 Resourcing the Curriculum. Up until this time, the term weeding was one I associated with gardening and nothing else. It was a concept I initially really struggled with. My thinking had always been that the more resources a library had the better. As I saw it, the number of resources held by a library was the primary indicator of how good that library was.

However, this kind of thinking was challenged and became a major perspective shifting moment for me. I came to see the rationale of Renate Bailharz (2007), who noted the frustration of having to sort through out of date resources while trying to find ones of true value. I had to admit, I’d felt that frustration myself while looking through library collections. I could see that these dated resources didn’t enhance the collection, they merely acted as speed bumps along the way to finding what it was I really wanted. If it was frustrating for me, how disheartening might it be for a student not as familiar with locating library resources?

I quickly came to see that library collections had to be up to date, and that the role of a librarian had a whole extra component. As well as acquiring resources, the librarian also had to weed existing ones out as well. If I could fail to have any understanding of the need to weed, what else might I have overlooked? The need for a good Collection Development Policy (CDP) provided that additional example, and an answer on how to determine exactly what to weed from a library’s collection.

Ensuring the presence and use of an effective CDP will be amongst the first things I ensure I have access to in a future teacher-librarian role. Larson (2012) tells us that weeding processes are becoming increasingly scrutinized by library users and funders. Clearly, a CDP provides a great explanatory tool in the face of such scrutiny.

Obviously the CDP has a lot to cover, and a look through the City of Yarra’s CDP demonstrates this. The link to this CDP is available here:

The City of Yarra CDP is thorough, yet the statement it contains at section 10 about weeding is simple and to the point. It makes perfect sense to me and it is hard to argue with such sound logic. The fact I’d not considered weeding in any capacity (beyond damaged resources) before studying this unit is hard for me to believe now. However, this key realisation really woke me up the fact that there may be other major aspects to the teacher-librarian role I’d failed to consider. It was certainly an early humbling moment along this study journey for me.

In a future role as a teacher-librarian I’ll be employing the use of a CDP. I may need to update an existing one or perhaps create a new one. Whatever the case, I’ll be ensuring that there is a clear and solid roadmap in place in the form of an effective CDP. I’ll be using that CDP to help ensure that any resource held meets the requirements of the community my particular library serves.

Of course, the only way to ensure that the collection remains relevant and inspiring is through regular interaction with its users. The library’s collection of resources is not a static thing, it’s a changing and evolving organism, just like its users. Therefore, library feedback and suggestion forms will be available, both in hard copy at the library, and also via the school library website. These forms will also allow students and other school library users to indicate what it is about the collection they like, and what needs improving.

Keeping track of what is being borrowed, and what is not, with the help of library borrowing software is also important. This will help provide important usage figures, and provide further information to support the feedback forms and personal interactions of the teacher-librarian.

Such a multi-pronged approach will ultimately be used to ensure that accurate knowledge is being developed and maintained in guiding the weeding program. This knowledge will be crucial to the overall success of both the weeding and resource acquiring strategy.

  • 2. School Structures & Collaboration

The second key learning moment I’d like to highlight came during a podcast in the unit ETL504 Teacher Librarian as Leader. Jenny Bales (2016), my teacher in that unit, made mention of the need for a teacher-librarian to understand the school structure system, and their own place within it. She added that a teacher-librarian could only ever be a successful leader if they understood the reality of this hierarchy. Although it was merely a passing comment in the podcast, it certainly had a lasting impact on me. Probably because up until that point, I did not properly understand how to make that structure work for you, rather than against you. You cannot win when you fail to realise your place.

It got me thinking back to when I was a graduate teacher trying to get a recycling program introduced to the school I was working in at the time. I outlined this story in my March 22, 2016 blog post. However, just to recap, the principal agreed to meet me to discuss my ideas, and during that meeting I explained how the program could be implemented. I also explained the costs of doing so. The principal responded to my proposal with fairly measured enthusiasm. She said she’d give it some thought and thanked me for my work researching the matter. However, in the end my proposal was not adopted. My proposal simply fell by the wayside. As a graduate teacher I felt particularly helpless. I didn’t want to be seen as challenging the principal’s judgment in any way.

Jenny Bale’s comment about knowing your place and working within a school structure could not have been more fitting when I thought back to my proposed school recycling program. Had I been more strategic in the way I went about my proposal I would have had a far better chance of getting this program adopted. A program that offered much better environmental outcomes and some truly authentic learning opportunities and life skills for the students.

I’m not currently working as a teacher-librarian. However, I now realise that I’ll need to be much more strategic if I become one and hope to preside over a school library that is all it can be. If I want to get school library programs up and running that require the approval of the school principal, I now realise a unilateral approach isn’t generally the best way forward. It is much better to work in conjunction with other staff members. Particularly experienced teachers with a higher degree of influence within the school structure, such as assistant principals, leading teachers and so forth. As teacher-librarians we need to sell such staff members our ideas, get them on board, and create wider support. As Aguilar (2012) pointed out, you must bring on board the skills and experiences of others who value your ideas. Widely supported ideas are much more likely to be adopted than those that are not.

Further to this, I came across this short video below, titled Teacher Collaboration: Spreading Best Practices School-Wide. It explains the coming together and collaborating of two year level teachers at the same school. These two teachers had previously worked totally independently of each other. However, they achieved so much more for themselves and their students by working in partnership:

This video got me thinking that maybe implementing a program which is ultimately designed to be school-wide, like the recycling program, could at its early stages first be implemented across just one year level. So if there we’re two Year 4 classes, for example, those two teachers could come together much like the teachers in this video and get the program going together across just those two classes. A bit like a pilot program at just one year level, involving two teachers and their classes working together. Such an approach could be used to test and refine the program, build momentum and support for it, before hopefully rolling the program out more broadly across all year levels at a later time.

In making this happen, I would be looking to apply the principles of distributive leadership. This model is centred around sharing leadership roles amongst other people, and employing the individual talents of others as available to help bring about a desired outcome (Harris, 2008). This model of leadership, in particular, has opened my thinking to how a teacher-librarian can successfully bring new library programs into existence, and bring about organisational change as a whole. I’ll certainly keep the principles of this leadership model amongst my prime tools for use as an effective future teacher-librarian.

In terms of measuring the success of teacher collaboration, and ultimately it’s impacts on student learning, leading library-related professional development would be one approach I’d be looking towards. I’ll be looking to host professional development sessions, ideally in the library, for all school staff members. During such sessions my goal will be to educate staff on all matters relating to the library at that time. This may include how to effectively locate library resources, inform on possible ideas and upcoming library programs, inform on any library-related news or observations, etc.

I’ll also use these sessions to gain feedback on how others feel the library is performing, to get staff ideas and their support (or otherwise) for any proposals I might put to them. This is of course collaboration in itself, and will help to build a sense of staff-wide ownership of the library. This is important if I want staff to care and buy-in to the importance of the library. It’s also placing me in a leadership position, being the host of such sessions, while allowing me to identify and use the leadership skills of others based on what needs to be done at the time. The information I receive from staff will also allow me to gain a clearer picture on how the library-related experiences of their students is ultimately impacting upon student learning outcomes within their own classes. It’s important to tap into the knowledge and findings of the classroom teachers. This is important because while I, as the teacher-librarian, will know and work with all students, I will not get that same level of daily exposure to them that their classroom teacher will. Therefore, gaining these perspectives is critical to measuring the success of the library program.

  • 3. Social Media

The final perspective altering moment I’d like to highlight relates to the changing role of libraries today. I was particularly struck by the opinion of library manager Christine Mackenzie (2007), whose views I read about in the unit INF506 Social Networking for Information Professionals. Mackenzie’s view is that the major role of libraries today it to facilitate participation amongst library users. She identified this as a clear shift on previous times, where the emphasis was more about the presentation of information.

Mackenzie has made a big statement. However, I think it sums up very well why libraries have such wide appeal these days.  Libraries are community hubs. This is evidenced by the belief that 90% of people who use the NSW State Library do so for reasons other than reading or studying (Juers, 2014).  Libraries aren’t just a place to borrow books, as might’ve previously been the case. Today we’re seeing libraries with large modern maker spaces, cafes attached, guest speakers appearing, where community clubs and societies come to meet, etc.

Mackenzie also made reference to the rise of Web 2.0 and more specifically, social media use, in support of her claim. Libraries are no longer just a physical space. They come into our homes via their interactive websites and their social media platforms. We, as users, can also communicate with them via this online environment. I made the statement in my January 12 2017 blog post that the best librarians will feel comfortable using Web 2.0’s most popular platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and that they’ll understand that the key element of such platforms is participation. My readings of Mon (2015) as well as Luo, Wang and Han (2013) helped shape this view and it is one I continue to hold on to very firmly today.

Naturally, effectively using social media as a teacher-librarian also requires an effective social media strategy. With regards to social media strategy, I was personally taken by the S.M.A.R.T goals as explained by LePage (2014). The letters in this anagram stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. I believe that using such a simple and memorable anagram would help to ensure I kept on top of the strategy. S.M.A.R.T also offers what I consider to be a very clear and definable set of guidelines to follow. This is in terms of both setting out and maintaining an effective social media strategy. I’ll certainly be looking to specifically tailor those S.M.A.R.T goals to the library environment I find myself working in in the future.

I was also quite interested learning about the Arizona State University (ASU) library and their approach to social media. The ASU library has embraced social media to the extent of creating their own “library channel”. I’d never heard of such a thing before. This channel offers a central place on their website where icons linking to all their social media platforms can be found. Icons for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and RSS are among these icons. You can check out the link to it below:

This is certainly in line with the thinking of O’Connell (2008) who encourages us to educate our students using the digital formats they most use themselves. I’d love to set up a social media library channel of some sort as a teacher-librarian. Of course it will not be as large as the one operated by a university. However, I feel the principles of the concept could be adopted and made to work in a school library setting. Just the use of easy to find social media icons on a school library-specific website, or page, would be greatly advantageous. Both in helping to connect with students, and in helping to portray the library in a contemporary way that is seen as relevant and interesting to students.

In ensuring my social media approach is relevant, I’ll need to employ techniques to measure the success of what I’m doing. Most likely I’ll be working as a teacher-librarian at a primary school. Primary schools are traditionally smaller than high schools. What’s more, younger primary school students will be less likely to be using social media than older ones. All this means that the number of students using social media will not be as high as what you might find in a high school. It also reduces the effectiveness of statistical usage tools, such as Google Analytics, to determine how successful a library social media strategy is amongst students. Instead, I’ll be looking  to alternative approaches, such as online surveys. Students capable of using social media should also be able to complete an online survey attached to that social media site. I will keep the surveys short and basic, but the information I gain from them will help to provide some relevant feedback from the social media users, while they’re using it. The online surveys will also be open to parents, staff, and anyone else who uses the library’s social media platforms. This will further extend the breadth and depth of feedback I receive regarding the library’s social media use, how effective it is, and how it can be improved.


Developing into a professional teacher-librarian of the future

I continue to look ahead at what I will need to do to become, and to remain, a proficient teacher-librarian of the future. As I do this, what has really stood out to me is just how dynamic a field information literacy is, particularly, digital literacies. This field continues to evolve rapidly. I know that to be the best teacher-librarian I can my knowledge of digital literacies will need to be dynamic. In fact, the first ALIA/ALSA (2004) professional standard listed (standard 1.1) highlights the need to be well-informed on issues concerning information literacy theory and practice. This standard goes on to mention the need to deeply understand the place of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in learning. This means not just understanding and using digital literacy forms that I personally like, but also those used by my students.

Public libraries are certainly establishing themselves as key meeting places and community hubs. It’s important that school libraries fill the same role amongst their school communities. To achieve this, it’s important that both the school library, and the school of which it is a part, work together closely. This draws me to ALIA/ASLA’s standard 2.3, where the need for a library’s policies and procedures to meet the school’s mission is highlighted. The need to work closely with other school leaders has been a constant theme throughout my studies in this degree. Successful collaboration is clearly a key pillar in getting others to back the role and work of the library. Therefore, it also makes sense that this unity should extend to ensuring the policies and missions of the school and its library are also working together. Whether it’s developing a library social media policy, collection development policy, or any other library document, as a teacher-librarian I will need to make sure that (where appropriate) such library-specific documents support those of the school more broadly.

This leads to the final point I’d like to make. The library must never lose sight of the fact that it plays a critical role in the overall successes achieved by the school and its students. ALIA/ASLA points this out in standard 1.4, where it states that a professionally managed and resourced school library is crucial to what the school community achieves. This point is picked up in the School Libraries Matter video below, where they talk of the “librarian effect” and its direct impact on the success of a school:

It seems so obvious when presented in this video. What also stood out to me here is the moment where Superintendent of Schools, Arturo J. Cavazos, professes that the library is the school’s biggest classroom, and asks why the potential attached to this is not maximised. It’s a good question. Especially as in my experience, school libraries, and especially teacher-librarians, are undervalued. Particularly by other school staff members who don’t understand how much work goes into the role of librarian. As a teacher-librarian I can point to standards such as 1.4 for my own benefit, and that of others, as evidence that what I’m doing is in fact a crucial role.



Australian Library and Information Association / Australian School Library Association (ALIA/ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Aguilar, E. (2012, November 28). Effective teams: The key to transforming schools? Edutopia: What works in education. Retrieved from

Bales, J. (2016). Online meeting assessment 1 recording (ETL504 Online resources). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from Charles Sturt University website

Beilharz, R. (2007). Secret library business – Part 2, Connections, 63, 10-12.

Harris, A. (2008). Distributed leadership: According to the evidence. Journal of Educational Administration, 46(2), 172-188. doi:

Juers, E. (2014, February 10). What is a library without books? Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News. Retrieved from

Larson, J. (2012). CREWing children’s materials’ in CREW: a weeding manual for modern libraries. Retrieved from

LePage, E. (2014, October 29). How to create a social media marketing plan in 6 steps. (Blog post). Retrieved from

Luo L, Wang Y, Han L (2013) Marketing via social media: A case study. Library Hi Tech31(3), 455–466.  Retrieved from

Mon, L. (2015). Social Media and Library Services. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. Retrieved from

O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (pp. 51-62). London: Facet Publishing.


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INF506 Assessment 4- Part 2(b) Reflective Statement

I have enjoyed this unit for a number of reasons. The primary reason being that social media seems to be infiltrating just about every aspect of life these days. In fact, social media is used by more than 75% of all internet users (Pew Research Centre, 2013). It’s surely important to learn about it. Another reason is that I enjoy using social media. It’s centred around user generated content that comes from two-way communication (Schwerdfeger, 2013). This means it’s a great way to interact with others online.

I entered this unit with experience in using social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and WordPress. I enjoyed learning about how programs such as these are used by libraries to communicate with library users. This has helped to bring my knowledge of such programs from purely a personal perspective, to one that also includes a professional perspective.

There is no doubt in my mind that this will help me with a hopeful future career as a librarian. Being able to use social networking tools well is essential for any librarian. We are seeing terms like Librarianship 2.0 emerging, where the skills needed to use Web 2.0 technologies (such as those seen in social networking) are paired with the more traditional skills associated with being a librarian (Huvila, Holmberg, Kronqvist-Berg, Nivakoski, & Widén, 2013).

I have also enjoyed learning about some of the social networking tools that are perhaps a little less well known than the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Second Life (a virtual reality site) and Diigo (a bookmarking site) are good examples. I knew next to nothing about either before commencing this unit. As I was less familiar with these tools it has taken me more time to understand them and learn how to use them. I signed up accounts for both and had a good go at each. I even used another social networking form, YouTube, to watch tutorials on how to get started with them. This is a journey that is going to have to continue further before I can fully appreciate their benefit to me in the workplace. As things currently stand, I still don’t see myself jumping in readily to use them in a professional sense. I don’t have the confidence or knowledge for that just yet.

Nor am I completely sold on what they can offer. Both Second Life and Diigo average less than 10,000 monthly Australian users, while Facebook and YouTube average around 15 million (Cowling, 2016). Whatever the reason, Second Life and Diigo have not reached the top tier in terms of usage. However, they still do have their fans, so any librarian who wants to have a more complete picture of the social media landscape must have at least some working knowledge of them.

The social media landscape is ever evolving. The evolution of social networking has even seen the rise of training based social networking sites. Sites such as Fakebook and Kidblog have emerged to meet the educational needs of school children, for example (Davis, 2014). It’s almost overwhelming how many different types of tools are out there. I’m not sure anyone can know them all. However, I do believe librarians in particular require a broad understanding of the many types of social networking tools available. Additionally, a working knowledge of the most popular programs being used would be high advantageous. Such knowledge and skills will leave librarians much better placed to determine what tools could most benefit their library and its users.

I have also particularly enjoyed the opportunity to develop my knowledge in the field of blogging. It was around blogging that I centred my social networking report. A major assessment in this unit. I’d never really considered just how many different ways readers can be encouraged to participate on the blog posts they read, in addition to the comments thread. Polls, surveys and competitions can all be run on a blog (Peck, 2011). Blogs are not the latest social networking tool. However, when you combine such features, with the ability to write in some depth about various topics, I see a long future ahead for blogs.

I have certainly developed a new and much deeper appreciation for social networking, in all its forms. I’m fascinated, and overwhelmed, by how it continues to grow and shape our lives. I’m excited by how social networking can help me and others, both now and into the future, personally and professionally.


Cowling, D. (2016, August 1). Social Media Statistics – July 2016. In Social Media News. Retrieved from

Davis, V. (2014). A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Huvila, I., Holmberg, K., Kronqvist-Berg, M., Nivakoski, O., & Widén, G. (2013). What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? A library professional viewpoint. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 45(3), 198-205. doi: 10.1177/0961000613477122

Peck, D. (2011). Think Before You Engage. Wiley. Retrieved from

Pew Research Centre. (2013, December 27). Social Networking Fact Sheet. Retrieved from

Schwerdtfeger, P. (2013, March 17). What is Web 2.0, What is social media, what comes next?? (video file). Retrieved from

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INF506 Assessment 4 – Part 2(a) Evaluative Statement

Social networking brings people together in the online environment. Social networking sites offer a variety of different types of online environments where people can interact and information can be shared (Mon, 2015). As the blog post titled ASU and the 4Cs of social media points out, people communicate with family, friends and work colleagues instantaneously – and usually at no financial cost (Miller, 2005). People can source local, national or global news via social networking sites, and also contribute to it with their own comments and discoveries.

The best librarians will be those that understand how the most widely used Web 2.0 platforms operate. They’ll understand that the key feature of Web 2.0, including social networking, is participation (Mon, 2015). Additionally, they’ll understand the behaviours, culture and etiquettes of the communities who use them (Luo, Wang & Han, 2013). This was acknowledged in Web 2.0: Knowledge, skills and attributes. This blog post highlighted the view of library manager Christine Mackenzie (2007). Mackenzie’s view being that the central role of libraries has shifted from being about the presentation of information, to facilitating the participation of library users.

Social networking sites are certainly popular, and many sign up for more than one. In fact, 43% of social network users have multiple social networking accounts (Hanson, 2015). Most are aware that social networking accounts require personal information, and that these sites are often accessed via a person’s mobile phone. This may be a quick and convenient way to set up and use social networking tools. However, time must also be taken to appropriately set security features such as passwords, privacy settings and pin codes.

The trend of having multiple social networking accounts carries other risks too. Robinson (2013) raises concerns about a person’s (or organisation’s) ability to actually manage multiple accounts in an adequate manner. While Atlas Communications (2007) warns of too much personal information being put online. The invasion of our privacy and theft of our personal details is a concern for many. It’s evident in the fact 35% of people wish to remain anonymous while social networking (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007). As noted in Protecting your identity online, the less personal information you have online the better.

Helping to ease fears, Prensky (2006) reminds us that younger people have grown up in the online environment and are typically very comfortable with its use, while older people are typically extra cautious. Regardless of the potential dangers, people have taken to social networking in a big way. Facebook alone has more than a billion users globally (Hansen, 2015).

While there can be no doubt that care must be taken when using social networking tools, the power of them is there for all to see. It’s not only individuals signing up for social networking accounts, it’s now a widely established practice at an organisational level as well. For example, libraries often use a number of social networking sites to communicate with their students. ASU and the 4Cs of social media explains that this makes sense as students today have typically grown up in that online space (Prensky, 2006). Social networking is second nature to them.

If a library, or any other organisation, wants to connect more widely with people in today’s world they too must be social networkers. Of course, many of the same dangers to individuals exist at an organisational level. However, organisations must also be in that space as that’s where their users so often are. (King, 2015). Social networking sites provide a place in the online world for library users and staff to ask questions, to share news and ideas. These tools can help bring library communication to life in ways previously unseen.

A well planned and maintained social networking strategy is important to any library today (Adekunle & Olla, 2015). In devising a successful social networking strategy, libraries must therefore consider what resources they have available to employ (e.g. staff, time, finances). They must consider which social networking tools best fit the needs of their community. They must plan carefully, developing a social networking policy – including measurable targets (e.g. post numbers, views, followers). The targets and success of each adopted tool should be regularly monitored, ensuring it remains the most relevant and best option available.

Whether for an individual, a library, or any other type of organisation, social networking provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with people. It provides an opportunity to communicate online with individuals and communities in quick, convenient and exciting new ways.


Adekunle, P. A., & Olla, G. O. (2015). Social Media Application and the Library: An Expository Discourse. In A. Tella (Ed.), Social Media Strategies for Dynamic Library Service Development (pp. 41-70). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-7415-8.ch003

Atlas Communications. (2007). How to manage your digital footprint: Don’t take chances when it comes to your online reputation. Retrieved from

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook]. Retrieved from

Hansen, S. S. (2015). Social Media. In V.F. Filak (Ed.), Convergent journalism: an introduction: writing and producing across media (2nd ed.). pp.165-185. Burlington, MA.: W. Focal Press.

King, D. L. (2015). Why use social media?  Library Technology Reports, 51(1), 6-9. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.

Luo L, Wang Y, Han L (2013) Marketing via social media: A case study. Library Hi Tech 31(3), 455–466.  Retrieved from

Mackenzie, C. (2007). Creating our future: Workforce planning for Library 2.0 and beyond. APLIS, 20(3), 118-124.

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library. Ariadne, 45. Retrieved from

Mon, L. (2015). Social Media and Library Services. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2006). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), p.8-13. Retrieved from

Robinson, L. (2013). Choosing the right social media platform. Landscape & Irrigation, 37(4), 11. Retrieved from Gale Centage Expanded Academic ASAP database.

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Protecting your identity online

INF506, OLJ, Module 6 question:
Based on your reading of three items, think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

  • what is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?
  • what can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

It has been quite interesting to read about protecting your identity, privacy and security whilst using social media. Something that really has stood out to me here is just how simple it often is to do so. Take privacy settings for example. They are rarely hard to find and typically very easy to alter. It is very important that we take the time to do this, in a way that best controls what we want to share, and how we wish to present our online identities.

However, I do wonder how much time people take in getting these settings as they really most want them? De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk and Jenkins (2007) inform us that 35% of people want to remain anonymous on social media sites. We are also told that when opening a social media account 65% use their correct name, 80% use their correct email address and 81% their correct age (De Rosa, et al. 2007). If you’re going to provide such personal information, and you want to remain as anonymous as possible, then it’s obviously going to be important to correctly set your privacy settings.

Another relatively easy thing to do is to close off old accounts no longer being used. Atlas Communications (2007) reminds us that the less personal information you have online the better. This makes sense. It has also got me wondering how many online sites I’ve signed up for as a one-off and then completely forgotten about. So many sites require you to register even to undertake one transaction. You may never need to access that site again but your details remain there unless you go back and delete your account. How many of us actually remember, or care, to do this? I for one need to be much more vigilant in doing so.

LawAnswers (2015) points out that our mobile phones also typically store a lot of our personal information. Particularly if the phone remains logged in to our email and social media accounts.  They suggest a pin lock being put on your phone to help protect this information. It’s an obvious thing to do, and another example of how easy it can be to put basic measures in place to protect ourselves. I use one, but I know a few people who don’t. They see it as inconvenient. I do feel that such attitudes are more common than they ought to be.

Appropriately setting account privacy settings; closing off unused online accounts; better protecting our mobile phones. A few examples of the simple things we can all do to better protect our online information. Without the need to be an IT expert.


Atlas Communications. (2007). How to manage your digital footprint: Don’t take chances when it comes to your online reputation. Retrieved from

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook]. Retrieved from

LawAnswers. (2015). Internet privacy laws Australia: 5 ways to better protect yourself online. Retrieved from

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Drafting a library marketing strategy using social media

INF506, Module 6 OLJ question:
Based on your understanding of your library and your exposure to concepts and strategies presented in this section of Module 6, outline how you can apply these ideas to develop a draft marketing strategy for your organisation.

Some of the strategies I’d look to employ are general business strategies. Strategies that I’ve long been familiar with, but wouldn’t previously have considered applying to a social media approach. LePage (2014) identifies S.M.A.R.T goals, for example. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Fernandez (2009) suggests a S.W.O.T analysis – whereby Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are considered. Such business models can be perfectly applied to any organisation’s social media strategy – and why not? Social media is a very important business tool. Certainly they’d be models I’d be using if implementing a social media strategy at a library.

Of course, any organisation must also have stated goals it is pursuing. A library is no different. LePage (2014) states that specific, concise and achievable goals are best. In coming up with goals: an assessment needs to be made about where things are currently at; where you want them to be in the future; and which tools can best help achieve that (LePage, 2014). As far as social media goes, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and YouTube are all platforms the CSU library has chosen to adopt at this current moment in time. It’s important that a few different platforms are adopted, as different social media platforms will better connect with different groups of people (Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014). I assume these platforms are currently working well for the CSU library, but that’s not to say that things will never change. There is a constant need to re-evaluate strategies and goals to ensure they remain relevant (Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014).

Constant evaluation and re-evaluation is clearly going to be essential. One of the great growth areas in social media use in recent times surrounds the field of analytics. This is evidenced by the emergence of social media monitoring tools such as Klout, SumAll and StatCounter. In obtaining the best picture possible the use of such monitoring tools can be quite advantageous. What’s more, analytics also have a role to play in other areas. Olavsrud (2015) notes that data security is one such area. He points to intrusion detection and malware protection as a couple of examples. That said, to be most beneficial analytics must be more than simply measured. King (2015) points out that deciphering what this information is actually telling you is the real challenge.  What does the metrics of activity; audience; engagement; referral; and, return on investment tell us? And how can we use this information to do better in a library environment? Such questions would need to be carefully explored.

A final key pillar I’d be looking to incorporate is people power. Collaboration is a must. Ramsey and Vecchione (2014) highlight that by connecting with other departments a wider scope of what works and what doesn’t can be obtained. It also helps to establish the library as a centre of organisational communication and networking. This is surely what any library should hope to be.


Fernandez, J. (2009). A SWOT analysis for social media in libraries. Online, 33(5), 35- 37. Retrieved from

King, D. L. (2015). Analytics, goals, and strategy for social media. Library Technology Reports, 51(1), 26-32,2. Retrieved from

LePage, E. (2014, October 29). How to create a social media marketing plan in 6 steps. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Olavsrud, T. (2015). 8 analytics trends to watch in 2015. In CIO. Retrieved from

Ramsey, E. & Vecchione, A. (2014). Channelling Passions: Developing a successful social media strategy. Journal of Library Innovation, 5(2). Retrieved from

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Social Q&A sites and user reviews

INF506, Module 2, OLJ questions:
-What are your thoughts about the credibility or quality of user reviews?
-Could they be used as good evidence of the quality of services or products?
-How do you think about charging customers for leaving bad reviews on Tripadvisor?

It’s hard to have an across the board opinion when it comes to user reviews. There seems to be so many of them around these days and the level of feedback on a given site can vary quite a lot. So too can the quality.

One website of questionable quality is Rate My Teachers. This site is largely used by school students (the users) to rate the performance of their teachers. These reviews do carry some credibility because they are typically written by students who have actually experienced the teaching they are reviewing. However, such a website also lacks credibility because there is no way of knowing if it’s an actual student of the teacher. Anyone can rate a teacher. Assuming it is a genuine review, has the student’s view been negatively skewed after getting a poor mark, or getting into trouble over a certain issue? The poor mark or discipline received may have been entirely appropriate. However, that doesn’t mean the student is not left with an axe to grind. A site such as Rate My Teachers provides an easy outlet to grind that axe, often in an inaccurate and unfair manner.

Rate My Teachers is not alone in this regard. In any system of user review there is an opportunity for people to exploit it for their own means. The reviewers are largely anonymous and are held to few, if any, professional standards. Certainly not like those professionally employed critics must meet.

On the other hand, it’s hard to argue that a very large number of user reviews on a given topic doesn’t carry more weight than a single review from a paid professional. I think this is where the key lies – the weight of numbers. My own view is that if there are only a handful of user reviews about a given product I’d be quite wary. However, once the reviews are in the tens or, even better, hundreds, a meaningful pattern of information is there to be considered. As with any set of statistics really, you need to allow time for a pattern to emerge.

It was extremely surprising, and worrying, to also read in this module of customers being charged for leaving bad reviews on Tripadviser. I’d not heard of this, but of course this would undermine the credibility of Tripadviser altogether if widespread. It would be very interesting to know the organisations that were charging for leaving bad reviews. My feeling would be that they are not companies that have great confidence in their own business. I’d want to be avoiding them. It also seems like a doomed strategy in an ever-evolving Web 2.0 world. If Tripadviser cannot be alerted to such cases and find a way to stop it happening, then the nature of Web 2.0 would indicate that a new and better service will emerge to succeed it. One that allows users to more fully and freely interact with each other.

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ASU and the 4Cs of social media

INF506, Module 4, OLJ question:
Write a critical evaluation on ASU Libraries? use of these platforms to achieve the 4Cs of social media – collaboration, conversation, community & content creation:

Arizona State University’s (ASU) library has certainly been one to embrace the power of social media. Even having their own “library channel,” containing icons linking to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and RSS to name a few. Paul Miller (2005) describes the emergence of such web-based programs as being an inexpensive and easy way to connect with students.

Social media also has the added bonus of being able to present information in a way that is meaningful to today’s students. Marc Prensky (2006) highlights that nowadays students have virtually grown up in a digital age, seeing them most at ease with email, social media and other online formats. He calls them “digital natives” and contrasts them with earlier generations, something educators of today must acknowledge.

Judy O’Connell (2008) agrees that we must educate using the digital formats our students most embrace. She goes on to point out the advantages of moving from a mentality of restrictive learning spaces, to the broader, more creative opportunities of social networking environments.

However, in making things as familiar as possible to students, we don’t also want to rob them of exposure to other powerful online tools. It is vital students have the awareness and skills to use a school library’s own software. Judy O’Connell (2008) reminds us that teacher-librarians must develop the library catalogue and other online systems so that students can properly use them to find the information they seek.

It would be possible to argue that ASU has somewhat overlooked this, with its strong focus and usage of social media. However, if you delve deeper into how they have actually used social media I believe that argument diminishes. For example, they have been particularly active with video streaming sites Vimeo and YouTube. Using these services, they have uploaded a number of minute-long videos introducing viewers to various library services. This includes library software. While you can’t fully explain everything in a minute, such videos do alert students to what’s available and how to find out more about it. We must not neglect to educate our students on the availability and use of tools that allow them to find information only findable by more direct search procedures (Turner, 2006).

ASU’s library website is certainly one where collaboration, conversation, community and content creation is there for all to see; to participate in; and to utilise according to their own needs.


Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library. Ariadne, 45. Retrieved from

O’Connell, J. (2008). School library 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (pp. 51-62). London: Facet Publishing.

Prensky, M. (2006). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), p.8-13. Retrieved from

Turner, L. (2006). Delving into the deep end of the web. Techlearning. Retrieved from

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