All Good Things…

This is a difficult task, wrapping up my internship. It does not seem like that long ago that I started. Perhaps the virtual aspect of it all takes away from the experience. I know I have spent many hours reading through posts from other libraries, librarians, publishers, etc. to find materials to share. However, it does not seem like work at all. Researching policies, diving into all the library online services to test them out & write blurbs for publication… that all seems like it was yesterday.

I recently stated, when wrapping up my ePortfolio, that the whole iSchool experience was the most challenging yet most rewarding experience I have been through in my life. This internship was part of all of that: offering challenges and rewards. I am happy in the choices I made that led me to this particular internship. While–after all the lessons and reflections on personality types, etc.–I feel I could have succeeded at other internships, this one just felt like a natural fit from the start. I hope I can bring everything I have learned from this into my career. I feel I am more prepared to take those scary next steps.

What’s in a Name?

As I am working on transitioning out of my internship, I have the opportunity to better define the internship role for my successor. One of the things I discussed was changing the title of the role from Social Media Intern to something that goes beyond social media and that really reflects the support role this intern will play for the OCLS librarians and staff.

While the majority of my work was focused on social media, we discovered that there were other responsibilities and needs for the position, and that the title was just too narrow to define these needs. One of the things I enjoyed was being able to teach a learning tutorial for distance learners. I would hope that future interns will be able to do this as well. Additionally, I can see the value in creating online tutorials for YouTube or perhaps adding LibGuides content.

So what will the name of this position be? I am still unsure of what I will suggest, but hopefully it will reflect well on the intern and the OCLS.

Mix-ups, Stalls, The Weather, and Other Hindrances

As can be expected in every work place (especially virtual ones), you’ll come across a stretch of time where things just do not line up. The past couple weeks have been like that. My duties at my internship have been at the minimum amount of effort due to this cold I have been fighting off for weeks, the sleepless nights working on my ePortfolio, my supervisor being out of the office attending to her job duties, and the workload of my job.

That being said, my supervisor has been very understanding and supportive, especially where it comes to the time commitment of the ePort. Now that I have finished, we are ready to get back on track for the final few weeks of the internship. We will be meeting this week to discuss our collaboration on a journal article and for succession planning. I am excited about both of these topics. I have not had the experience of writing for a scholarly journal, so I am a bit frightened. However, I think that comes from a desire to do a good job, so that I will take a positive. For succession planning, I am looking through my old class lists and seeing if there is anyone who has not yet graduated who may be interested in this position. Additionally, since I am the first intern, I wish to develop an outline of basic job duties for future interns, as well as create a quick start guide so they can hit the ground running.

Partnering for Success

One of the great things about social media is that it’s, well, social. When you have a chance to cross-promote with another partner, I am realizing the importance of taking advantage of those opportunities.

The OCLS is part of a much larger organization (The University of Maine System), and as such is linked through the parent organization and all of the brothers, sisters, cousins, or however you may look at them. This means of of the University’s campuses, all of the libraries from those campuses, and all of their departments, faculty, etc. For weeks I have been building up the following for OCLS on Facebook, helping re-post articles and photos from other pages. The great thing is that this is not without reciprocation. The Universities put out e-newsletters, and the OCLS (as well as other services, departments, etc.) is given a small amount of space to “advertise” our services. So for the past couple weeks I have been creating little blurbs about our services for these publications.

It seems like such a small task to write 4 or 5 lines about such things as how to reach us for questions, using RefWorks, or how to narrow down a search. However, as I’ve seen with our Facebook posts, so much has to be crammed into such a short space in order to grab and hold the attention of the viewers. I hope my efforts prove to be a benefit to the OCLS. I just wish there was a way to track how many people will be reached through these blurbs.

Notes from Internet Librarian

unifyingUXThis last week I had the opportunity to attend the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey. It was a great opportunity for networking and to absorb a lot of new ideas about the field I am studying. I also took this as an opportunity to gather information that could prove useful in my internship. While there were no sessions that seemed to specifically address my needs (there were sessions on using Twitter and for building better websites), I was able to find some interesting topics. Here is a list of sessions I attended:

  • Evolving Libraries Delivering New Experiences
  • Digitizing Local Content
  • Community Management, More than Libraries
  • Getting MOOC’ed: Free Online Training
  • Unifying UX: Consistency with Content
  • Gathering and Presenting User Input
  • Engaging Stories Info Blitz
  • Reaching Users with Mobile Technology
  • Building a 21st Century Library
  • Making Libraries, Making Makers
  • Academic Libraries: Totally Virtual & Hacked

commmgtI try to take in a variety of new experiences at conferences. I was somewhat disappointed at a couple of these sessions sounding less like case-studies and more like product placement. However, from these sessions, the keynote addresses, and networking with colleagues, I am still absorbing information. I think it can be safe to say that libraries that have a good vision of the future and a willingness to adopt technological advances are going to be the ones that see the most success.

The Library as an Instructional Institution

(or “How to Satisfy Comp K”)

This week I was able to conduct my instructional segment on peer-reviewed journals vs. magazines. The student workshop was conducted at one of the University College campuses, apparently in the far reaches of Maine. Only three students plus their instructor were able to show up; however, I think those that attended we able to learn a lot about some of the services offered by OCLS.

I have had little experience with instruction, so this was a great experience for me. [This week at Internet Librarian I will be attending one of the dine arounds where the subject matter is “Learning, Training & Instruction”]. Prior to my segment, the students participated in a bucket exercise in which three different buckets were used to represent a variety of search methods (Google, URSUS, and Academic Search Complete) and the typical results one might find from these searches. Because of the small group size, each of the students were given a bucket, and then asked to report on what they found.

It was helpful to be able to address each student and speak a little bit about why certain things are found via each of these searches. Finally, I was able to address how peer-reviewed journals differ from magazines. I chose this as the segment to do because during my undergrad work, no one had ever introduced this idea to me. I had no clue how helpful it would be to my research and towards building my researching skills, so I wanted to share. While I was a bit nervous going in, I am actually excited for the opportunity to be able to provide library instruction in the future.

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Finally… a following

Sometimes, in order to be successful, you have to fail. I think it’s been said many times before, and in probably more eloquent ways; however, that’s the gist of it.

The first half of this semester and this internship has been filled mostly with ups, with a few downs here and there. However, one thing has haunted me to this point: the inability to gain new followers for the OCLS social media pages. This, after all, is my job. The number 32 would taunt me every time I logged into our Facebook page. Every time since I liked the page and became number follower number 32. Through a variety of posts, promotions, etc. I was still unable to gain a following.

Then I had an idea. Early on, I had started following key players in the library field. I think I have mentioned this before. Librarians, publishers, scholars, etc. I have been able to use some of this material in reposts just to build meaningful content. However, it did not produce followers (just more likes from those already following us). Then, in our meeting a couple weeks ago, I confessed to Shiva, my site supervisor, that perhaps I was not so in touch with the OCLS audience because of the wide geographical distance. We decided it would be beneficial for her to select some more organizations and people that she was aware of operating in the vicinity. Once that happened, I began reading their posts, liking articles, showing the OCLS presence. Lo and behold, a few of these people started following us as well, then a few more, and a few more. We have now increased our following over 50%. Hopefully there are more to come.