Are We Welcome At The Party
Kathryn Wymer’s Chronicle piece took me back to a recent discussion on COLLIB-L about online social communities such as MySpace.com and Facebook. Bill Drew announced that he was going to create a profile for his library in these spaces. That led to some discussion about the relative merits of placing a profile (tantamount to an ad?) of one’s academic library in virtual spaces that are clearly more about social interaction and connecting with friends than academic endeavors. I suggested that it could be viewed by students as an imposition by an unwelcome outsider on their social space. If you think positioning the library in MySpace or Facebook is a good way to connect with your student population, what’s stopping you from handing out your business card at the local pub on Friday nights when your students are partying. When you put it that way invading students’ social spaces, in physical or virtual ways, seems rather awkward if not downright creepy. As Wymer found, she was not readily accepted and it may be that students do want to separate the technology tools that serve as social spaces from those used for their studies. For those who do want to experiment with outreach to students in those social communities, I wish you luck – and look forward to your candid assessment of the experience.