The School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University is a national leader in the design and delivery of a comprehensive suite of courses in library and information studies. We face many challenges, and amongst these the latest one has been to respond to new media environments by expanding the scope of our services to the vitally important information professionals we know as Teacher Librarians.
Time for social networking to hit the scene!
Teacher Librarians represent an important sector in library and information education. Alongside it’s degree program for Teacher Librarians, CSU has also been supporting the Australian Teacher Librarian Network (OZTL_NET) listserv as a professional service to the school library sector. Now we also recognize the growing importance of utilizing web-based and mobile-device-enabled tools for communication, interaction and information dissemination through text, images, or sound. So it really was time to re-work and expand the potential of OZTL_NET.
OZTL_NET was originally created as a discussion list for information professionals working in Australian schools by the teacher librarianship academic staff. Since then it has grown to a community of more than 3,000 teacher librarians and information professionals.
This email-based service, run as a listserv using Mailman, though quite old in the style of service it represents, is still very much a current tool and sometimes a lifesaver for many. This service needed to stay for now – albeit at a new URL, and with some improved functionality. My most favourite bit of improvement is the fact that I can now look at a digest (a way of receiving all the emails in one bundle) on my ipad or iphone! Another neat new feature is how it handles the inevitable images that automatic signature files insert in a message – they can now get through! This will save hours in bounced messages, and emails to remind people that a listerv is lean and mean in function
But the obvious thing to do was to evolve the potential of this very stable listserv in a number of social media ways. While I am not sure which of these will be the favourites, the idea looks something like this:
- share a link on the listserv and store it for easy retrieval any time in the Diigo group!
- share your library images in Flickr, because we need to collect the ideas from around Australia
- Like us on Facebook – and include us in your News Feed. Share things you find, and get into the conversation.
- Perhaps 140 characters on Twitter will be just the thing for you – just another way to stay in touch and build the teacher librarian community.
To make all this possible, and still provide access to the vital information for the OZTL_NET Listserv, we now have a fantastic new web portal at http://oztlnet.com/. The next step is for the many members of the listerv to jump on in and begin to realise the power of the social media tools at their disposal for increasing our information flow between us all at a national level. Don’t just share with people in your suburb, state, or sector. Share with us all!
It’s early days yet – as the new services were only launched recently. Do join one or other of the services, and connect, communicate and collaborate with each other across Australia. Social media can provide new avenues for thought leadership and innovation. providing a proactive and positive contribution to the strategic futures of school libraries.
Special thanks to Jo Kay, who always manages to work magic with web based products and services, and who managed to help so many people through the migration from the old to the new (oh yes, it does help to read instructions!). OZTL_NET was lucky to have you!