I’m asking this while sitting in the OCLC Social Networking: Best Practices for Libraries session at the ALA Midwinter conference. (Notice how I linked to the wiki and not the offical site; how very social of me).
So, GrinnellPlans is kind of a unique social networking tool. It was created by students for students (basically), but some faculty members have a presence. Student groups are on there. Your account never expires, so I as an alumna can read the plans of students graduating in ’10 (being 24 feels so old). Say the library has a plan. It’s even easier than blogging, it would be a great place to announce events (there is an “autoread” list; if a student puts the library on his or her list, the library will appear any time anything is updated), and put basic library information. The way I see it, is that the library would not actively read other people’s (students, faculty, etc.), but would only check “planlove” (when someone links to your plan from his/her plan). This could be a great feedback mechanism.
So, should the library go where the students are? Would this be an invasion of some sort? There would need to be a policy. But the fact that faculty are now allowed to have a plan has opened the door already, in my opinion. Some of the key principles mentioned by one of the OCLC panelists would be fairly easy to meet:
1) Have a plan (for the plan! see above about announcements, feedback channel, etc.)
2) Train (the GrinnellPlans interface is ridiculously easy to use; Burling would just need to chose the position within the library that would be in charge; the webmaster might be an option)
3) Invite participants (it wouldn’t be hard to announce a library Plans presence to the library; signs, an announcement in the student newspaper, word of mouth using student library employees)
4) Top-down and bottom-up (both front-line staff and administration need to buy in and participate)
Okay, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for any more ideas that come up during the next couple of days as the result of ALA. And please comment!