Librarian 2.0 Gets Out Into the Community

SA – HRP floor hockey, May 27, 2008 082

Originally uploaded by maritimes online.

Every tuesday for the past two winters (and the fall too), I’ve volunteered with the Salvation Army, organizing floor hockey with some teenagers.

Saying “volunteering” is kind of a joke, because mostly I’m having a lot of fun getting my pants deked off me by a bunch of highly skilled floor hockey players half (and sometimes as little as a quarter) my age.

Does the occasional mention of the library happen? You bet it does. Does it need to be the focus of our conversations? Nope. The only mandatory thing is that I have to wear my Toronto Maple Leafs jersey — even when they fail to make the play-offs.

On the day this picture was taken, the young hockey players got ever-so-close to beating a team of Halifax’s finest police officers, but lost 10-9. Believe me, the police officers did not pull any stops getting that win — I had to dodge a few laser beam wrist shots just to protect myself! The kids blocked some serious shots, played solid defence and dazzled those grown men with some keen passes, sharp shooting and a whole lot of team work.

I looked forward to these games every week, and even lost about an inch and a half off my girth. It was the easiest community work I ever did. I recommend that every librarian try and take the opportunity to do something similar in their communities.

Every librarian that gets out into the community will spread the positive learning message. In the long-haul, a simple act of volunteering will out-do any Web 2.0 activity you could do. Go out there and make a difference!

CHLA Presentation ReCAP

Yesterday, Kelli Wooshue (our Reference Department Manager) and I did a 3 1/2 hour CE accredited tutorial on Current Awareness tools for Web 2.0 for the Canadian Health Libraries Association Conference.   The whole whack of materials is available on the course wiki including a, erm, “colourful” Meebome widget for my IM account (i did a demonstration of MeeboMe, and chose tacky colors to show how easy it is to do).

I always like to say that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.  I am happy to say that I’ve learned some new things during this session:

  • When it comes to Web 2.0, Medical, Law, Public, Academic whatever librarianship is all the same.   If you show someone something like RSS, they will find ways to apply it themselves — it doesn’t matter the context.
  • I’m considering offering an executive summary of all my presentations, instead of a group of slides (which could just be put on to slideshare anyway).     The main reason for this is that it is an easy way to cover theoretical/contextual information that would be less interesting in a workshop setting.    For example, I cover Metcalfe’s law in the executive summary, but I did not touch it during the presentation.
  • If your website includes a lot of links and people at your presentation have access to a computer, having a wiki is a great idea.    I learned this from the way Greg Schwartz does Uncontrolled Vocabulary.
  • It’s good to break from the structured powerpoint and just show how the service works.
  • People are not going to be as resistant to your ideas as you think.    It was great to see a good combo of healthy skepticism and open-mindedness.    I wasn’t sure how people were going to respond to Twitter, but the response was fabulous.

All in all, I feel that the presentation went very well and much fun was had by all.    I look forward to hearing about CHLA experiences here in Halifax over the next week or so.

For Local Readers: Halifax Social Media Group Meet-Up

Last month, we had some great fun attending the Halifax, Nova Scotia Social Media Group Meet-up.    We’re doing it a second time, and I hope anyone in town will consider joining on in for some beverage and chat.

In case you do not want to hit that link, it’s going on May 22 at the Argyle Pub (on Argyle, down from the Pizza corner) from 6 to 8 pm.   We’ll be around the bar.

It’s pretty informal, and we usually have one or two people get up and say 2-5 minutes worth of “what are you doing around social media these days?”   Bring some business cards with you, as there are people from all walks of life there.