Library 2.0 for You (L-2-4-U)

Brian Herzog, Paige Eaton Davis, Elizabeth Thomsen

From left: Brian Herzog, Paige Eaton Davis, Elizabeth Thomsen

Program Description:

Flickr isn’t just a bird, isn’t just your NELA luncheon, and WordPress isn’t a new kitchen gadget. Find out what these things are and how these popular Web 2.0 applications (and more!) are being used in real-world libraries. L-2-4-U offers a panel of three experienced Massachusetts librarians: Paige Eaton Davis from the Minuteman Library Network, Brian Herzog from Chelmsford Public Library, and Elizabeth Thomsen of NOBLE. They share their expertise with applying Web 2.0 technologies to help promote your library’s resources, programs, and materials. The program sponsor is ITS whose business meeting is included in the program.

Elizabeth Thomsen, North Of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE):

Elizabeth started off this panel discussion by comparing the old way of finding information to the new.

In the old days, people found information in books. Someone else decided what information was important. For example, if you were interested in Lewis Hine child labor pictures, you never saw the photos from Salem, MA in published works because they are not as interesting as some of his other photos. But if you work in Salem, you are interested in them. You can now find them as part of the Lewis Hine Project. “What’s interesting for you may not be something that’s interesting to everyone else.” Continue reading

Library 2.0 for You (L-2-4-U)

Monday, October 20, 2008; 1:00 – 2:30

(Disclaimer: I am a 2.0 novice, so please excuse any ignorance or anything I may have missed.  Feel free to post comments to correct any of my errors.)

Presenters: Paige Eaton Davis from the Minuteman Library Network, Brian Herzog from Chelmsford Public Library, Elizabeth Thomsen of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange)

What’s Old is What’s New

Elizabeth Thomsen (blog:                 

The Historical Perspective:

In the past we read about things in books, but seldom had access to the source material.  As a result we only had access to the things that others chose.  Now that things have been digitized we have access to everything.  We can find old photos that have personal interest to us rather than an author. 

Now, people have the ability to interact with historical documents and photos.                                                                         is a blog with photos from historical archives.

Library of Congress on Flickr – People make comments on the photos. Members of the Community add tags. Interesting example of how people add tags.  Ordinary pictures of ordinary things – show a way of life and become nostalgic. 

Movies: For the Living –  Prelinger Archives: 1949 television production from the City of New York – a Public Service film about the housing problem in NYC.  A way for us to see everyday life – without being filtered through a scholar.  The Living Room Candidate – presidential commercials 1952-2008. 

The Future of History:There will be more of it. More complex written record – e-mail, blogging, wikis, social networking, etc…What happens when we die? Digital Dark Ages?

Geography is History: see the webpage for the Beebe Library in Wakefield, MA

People are interested in history, but not as passive consumers: Comments, conversation and stories. Contributions and crowdsourcing add to what we know.

The end of “look but don’t touch”: Make if easy for people to find and share;Tags, names, numbers, addresses, geocoding; Bookmarkable links; Code for embedding images; Badges and other tools; Multiple RSS feeds; Widgets, gadgets, plugins, apps

We want to encourage users to share their own photos, home movies, memories and mores, even though it means giving up control.

Encourage people to use your material and create new tools…even though it means giving up some control.

Paige Davis:Library 2.0 in you catalog (

Library 2.0 tools you can implement in your catalog or on your website to engage your patrons and make them want to come back.

Library 2.0 is making your library’s space more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs…to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives.

Today’s teens are looking for collaborative content.

80% of requests for materials are coming from people’s homes. In the beginning, libraries had the information and pushed it out. Now people are talking back.

Catalogs should be: Attractive – keep up with current web “fashion”; Fun – patrons should enjoy searching and finding; Friendly – easy to link into and out of your catalog; Engaging – make patrons want to fome back over and over again.

Let user’s participate: tagging, ratings, reviews – we still have the same content, but now users have some participation.

Tagging: Why do people tag? So they can find it later. For an example – see Ann Arbor District Library (  Tagging allows people to stay on your website longer.  Darien Library – has a tag cloud on the right – tags can be searched.  Also allows people to tag their books in their collections. Some libraries are embedding this into their catalog.  Makes it easier to find similar books.

Ratings: Allows people to rate the items in your catalog.  In some cases reviews are allowed.  This allows other patrons to see what other readers think about a book before deciding to read it. Some libraries call them comments.

Most comments and reviews are moderated.  Also, people need to log in in order to post comments.

Help users when and where they need it: Live chat enables librarians to help users.  Meebo widget allows IM chatting – put it on catalog page to give users the option of asking a live person for  assistance.  Some libraries put this on their main page.

Find it now, save it for later: Text call numbers to them (look into how to do this – Paige didn’t have specific information), download citations from the OPAC (OCLC has this on WorldCat), bookmarking – save URL as a bookmark on a socail bookmarking site. A way to gather wish lists and bibliographies. Allows people to organize the library collection the way they want.

 Brian Herzog

(Here’s where my limited technological knowhow falters.  I have a vague idea how this works, but am not sure how to explain it to you.)

How to make our websites better by focusing on our local patrons. 

embed photo from Once logged into flickr, click on size.  Flickr then has html code already prepared.  Copy, then paste into the source code for your website.  Flickr does not format the photo, so you would have to do that.

Photo Badge from – this is a tool on the bottom of each Flickr badge. Click on this – either html or flash (html works best for most users), then follow directions for this.  Choose what will be in your badge, then choose how to format the badge. Then copy html code, go to web editor and paste it in.

Bookmarks Feed from Must have account with these services. Click on settings. Go to Linkrolls to set up how you want it to look on your website. As you do this it automatically gives you the html code which you copy then paste into your website source code.

There was much more, but it’s difficult to write it in a coherent fashion – much of what was discussed was actually shown, not told.  Check the NELA website where the presenters will be posting much of their presentations.

Easy Web Fixes

Lichen RancourtMonday, 11:00 – 12:30

Does your web site need an extreme makeover? Would you like to add Web 2.0 functionality? Is your budget for web development somewhere between miniscule and negligible? Get practical advice from Lichen Rancourt, who was responsible for bringing the Manchester (NH) City Library web site to a whole new level. Her step-by-step review offers guidance that shows you how to make changes that will bring positive feedback from your community.
Presentation slides:

The original website used static html, and had grown organically (as of 7/07). It wasn’t dynamic, but does give a good introduction to the website.

Updating was difficult, because everything had to be coded by hand. The overall desires of website improvements were to:

  • bring the website more inline with the vibrant and robustness of the actual library and services
  • make it easier to update (focus more on content, and not coding).
  • make it useful and interesting on a daily basis, like the actual library
  • provide a sense of community, like the actual library
  • make the website’s content portable, so it works on mobile devices as well as computers

Easy to maintain

Need to focus on content, so the staff can show patrons, through the website, how active and vital the library is.

  • Created a account for the library, and uploaded photos they already had (and joined flickr groups for Manchester and New Hampshire
  • Use flickr badge to automatically display photos on the website
  • By using flickr, all the content is managed through their interface, which is much easier to handle than coding
  • Flickr generates the code for you, and you paste it into your website where ever you want it
  • Having patrons sign release forms is a good courtesy, but only legally required for kids

Expose library resources

  • Our collection is our heart and soul, so we need to et it out there
  • Let patrons search catalog, determine availability, view accounts, and renew materials
  • All ILSs should allow for this, so talk to vendors or other libraries using that same ILS to find out how
  • Once you get the code, just paste it into your website where you want it

Interact with patrons

  • Promote your librarians – this is what amazon and google do not have
  • Started a blog with wordpress to give librarians a voice, and personalize the website – like the library is personal
  • Make sure whatever blog you use provides rss feeds and allows comments
  • How to get the blog info into the website? Used feedburner to generate code to paste into the website where they wanted it to display. Doing this keeps the blog information within the context of the website, instead of making patrons go somewhere else, and you also get lots of options and stats


  • Since wordpress allows patrons to comment on posts, using feedburner to import post to website also allows patrons comment to display on website. If your posts are interesting and useful, people will participate
  • Flickr also supports comments
  • Once you start doing this, make sure you keep it new and updated, because if a photo sits too long, people get tired of it – always think sustainability
  • Using Google Calendars to display library events – this provides a feed to embed in the website, and also lets patrons to sign up for feeds to be delivered as rss or have it sent right to their own Outlook calendar using the iCal format

Life Integration

  • Letting patrons use this information the way they want to use it
  • This is important because even if you don’t know what rss is or use it at all, chances are you have patrons that do
  • Feedburner lets patrons subscribe to the various feeds, and they can check them in an rss reader or have updates emailed right to them

So what’s next?

  • Everything shown here can be done in a day
  • More complex additions could be migrating to a new platform (which is easier to do once the content is separated from the code), YouTube, Twitter, etc.
  • But no matter what you consider, the website will only be as good and the content that YOU generate


What software do you use to maintain your website?
It is Novus, and is mandated by the City of New Hampshire

Do you moderate comments?
Yes, on the blog, but we’ve never gotten an inappropriate comment. WordPress also notifies us when comments are held for moderation, so there is very little delay between patron submission and librarian approval. Can also use filters to approve automatically based on language or users

Do you get a lot of spam comments?
Yes. WordPress has a spam filter which works well, but is not 100% flawless

How much time do you spend on a daily basis doing this?
Most of my time is spent cajoling the staff to write for the blog. But when I do it, I try to think of it as if I am speaking to someone a cross the desk – make it short (two paragraphs) and useful. For flickr pictures, it’s maybe 5-10 minutes a day.

Is google calendar your only calendar?
No, google calendar is just for promoting events on the website. We also use Library Insight for meeting room management and reservations

Does wordpress do calendars?
It is possible, but that is a bit beyond an “easy web fix”

Are these feeds all or nothing feeds?
No, most let you filter based on tags, dates, or other criteria, so you can have a flickr badge just for childrens events, or just for a particular branch

How do you know how many people use this?
Feedburner gives us stats, but we also use Google Analytics for website stats