Friday, March 28, 2008

#15 Reflections on Web2.0 and its impact on education and libraries

One thing I would love to offer my patrons is IM reference service. I'm frequently on my laptop at home in the evenings. I'm willing to do what I can to help students. I would love to be helping them in this manner. The biggest drawback is that I'm not willing to make my children suffer for the sake of serving students. Therefore, anything I did would need to be after bedtime--that's not horrible, my kids go to bed early and most teenagers don't. I also don't want to feel like a slave to my lappy: I want to enjoy what I'm doing.

Our state currently participates in the (international) web-chat-reference service and our public library provides services too (AskHerePA). I wonder if it's worth my time to consider offering IM reference or if it would be too much duplication of service. I guess I can check with the public library and find out what their experience has been with use. I'll add that to my to do list for the coming weeks!

My district has been slow to adopt many things: our state started AccessPennsylvania in 1985, providing access to the collections of member libraries for everyone whose library was also a member. When I was in college, I borrowed books from my local public library over spring break and returned them 2 hours away in Lancaster where they were returned to my local library without me having to travel home or pay for postage to renew the items. This district did not join initially: the then-technology coordinator felt that as a large district we would loan more than we would borrow and it wouldn't be worth it to us. Sometime in the last 10 years, they did finally join in the project. For my school, this membership has been invaluable. Our small collection was outdated and in need of serious help. We are most definitely a net borrower, but I've been surprised by the number of books we do get asked to loan too.

With our current filtering system, it's highly unlikely I'd be able to offer services during the school day, but I would not mind offering something in the evening. I'll think on how this could be best implemented. I do know I'd want to have a way to log all chat so there is no question of impropriety. There's too many situations where teacher-student communication has resulted in legal issues for the teacher for me not to protect myself.

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