This week I will have to write a little less the work I am doing for my internship, and a bit about some of the skills I have learned during my time in the MLIS program, and in this short while as an intern.
Sometimes life throws you these weird little hints that someone is looking out for you. I returned from a stressful trip to Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, just in time to catch a presentation by my friend and SJSU alumna Elizabeth Borghi at the Library 2.014 online conference. Her presentation was titled LIS Skills Outside the Library which focused on how to market library skills in other career paths. I found her presentation touched on some things that I have experienced in my internship, mainly that as a library professional, we can expect to have to wear many different hats. Because our skill set translates well to other fields (“everyone needs a librarian”) we should remain open to all the opportunities that present themselves.
The following afternoon I had a job interview. This job I had originally applied for about six months ago; however the company was in such a need to hire extra help that they did not even have time or manpower to sit down and interview me at the time. Now a wholesale flower nursery does not seem like a place where library skills can be honed. Nor does the idea of being a salesman seem to be my dream job. Thinking about what I’ve learned, I decided to approach this with an open mind. What did I discover? This is a family owned nursery, doing things in a very old-fashioned way for decades. However, technology has finally forced their hand to upgrade their systems for ordering, billing, inventory, and customer interaction. I pitched myself as Social Media Intern. I focused my interview on the skills I could provide this company: the knowledge of how to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to provide customers with up-to-date images of items in the inventory. The ability to connect with users via Skype so that the cross-country communication could seem more personal. Also the ability to use these skills to follow trends in the marketplace so that key decisions could be made at a faster pace to keep up with the industry.
I guess all of that worked. The company is currently taking advantage of down time to upgrade their computers and office space. In a couple weeks I will begin this new job, and hopefully be able to show the flower industry just what a librarian can do.
This week my internship supervisor and I had a brief, but productive meeting. After taking a week off from checking in due to my supervisor’s schedule, it was nice to check back in. I have been exploring ways to improve our Facebook posts, however, this week I have been given access to our Twitter analytics, so I am looking into how to improve that. My supervisor and I have decided to look into various key players (publishers, authors, other libraries, innovators, etc) in our field and make sure we are following them on these social networks so that we can repost their information.
Also ahead, I have the opportunity to make up for a presentation that did not happen due to a Skype technical issue. I am looking forward to being able to complete this task. We are also coming up on faculty training at the end of the month. The University College requires faculty who are teaching online to go through this fast track program. In it, faculty will learn a lot about how to use the technology, as well as learn what the OCLS has to offer them. In the past there have been many questions regarding copyright laws in regards to online lessons. I am researching this some more (beyond what has already been provided) to hopefully create a more engaging learning program on the subject matter.
Also looking forward to Library 2.014 this week. I will hopefully be able to attend some of these presentations live; however there are a few relevant ones that I may have to listen to recordings of after the fact. I plan on reporting back to my supervisor regarding any information that may benefit our OCLS services (I believe the presentation about bridging library services between high school and college students will be worth while).
So we got through our Banned Books Week promotion. Social Media is an interesting little creature. If you’re not using it correctly, it can either be a huge waste of time, or it can come back and bite you. However, through my virtual internship, I am learning the little parts about how to use it in a professional manner.
Now most of my personal posts, tweets, etc. usually do not cross the line into the controversial or offensive. I may have had a few transgressions back in the day, but as I am reinventing myself into a professional, I give a great deal of thought to my social media dealings. Posting for an organization that I work for is not entirely new (I’ve done a few posts for previous restaurant jobs); however, I am seeing some new ways to go about what I do. I have started off a bit slowly, perhaps a bit boring and safe at first. Gradually, I have been reading up on techniques to build post reach. Leading off posts with “Check out…” (which is also a nice play on words for us library folk), or “Tell us what you think of…” really help to build engagement. Also, I am learning that hashtags are not as frivolous as I once believed, as I found out this weekend:
So this week is/was Banned Books Week. As Social Media Intern I wanted to promote this in an interesting way on our Facebook page. We asked various staff to select their favorite banned books, and then posted photos of them with the book and a brief quote about what it means to them. Wow, I could not be more pleased with the results. The staff profile pictures increase our reach 5,475% from the prior week. And while we did not get any new followers, we increase People Reached, post likes, comments, shares, and post clicks. Hopefully this trend continues.
After planning projects to cover the next few weeks, the nervousness sets in.
After another delay in launching our social media giveaway promotion, we are finally set to start. Understandable changes in wording had to be made to make everything clear, and to be able to include as many people as possible (or rather, to exclude as few people as possible) from the potential prize-winner pool.
As I mentioned in last post, also launching in coordination with Banned Books Week will be our staff, faculty, and student profiles. The first of these profiles will be the OCLS Social Media Intern. That’s right, yours truly will be featured on our Facebook page giving a brief review of what the frequently banned Of Mice and Men means to me.
I just finished a Sunday Skype session with the site supervisor to touch base on my live (eep!) presentation I will be giving tomorrow. I will be discussing peer-reviewed articles versus regular magazine articles, how to find these articles, and why they are important. I am also looking forward to inserting the term “research ninja” into this presentation.
Once I get past Monday, I will be focusing on more Facebook and Twitter content, mostly posting profiles and Banned Books Week articles. The site supervisor is attending meetings this week, so there will be no check in, so this should give me time to hone my posting skills in anticipation of my next project.
I had another amazing meeting with my site supervisor on Thursday. As is becoming standard practice for us, we discuss where I am with current projects and then plan ahead for future projects. Currently, the Facebook Promotion scheduled to launch on Monday (having to get some clarifications before we publish our Official Rules). And there are exciting things on the horizon:
- Student/Staff/Faculty profiles. Working on a set of questions to give a face to the people who work at/use the library.
- Banned Books Week promo. Tying in with the profiles, we are planning to feature faculty and staff briefly sharing their favorite banned books on our social media sites.
- Student Orientation. The site supervisor does several outreach orientation sessions to introduce students to the OCLS services. I will (hopefully) be presenting a brief tutorial on peer-reviewed journals to a group of students from an English class.
- Strategic Planning. Following a staff meeting, my site supervisor asked for some insight on the department’s Strategic Planning. Most of this is in regard to the wording and definition of terms, but it is nice to feel included in the process. Potential to present findings during a faculty workshop late in the semester.
A lot of different things on my plate, yet I am very excited to take part in all of this. Hopefully I can maintain this level of enthusiasm throughout the internship.
This week I had spent a bit of time researching how to properly run a social media promotional giveaway. As it relates to time management, I discovered it is always good to give yourself a cushion of time between projects. My goal for the week was to launch the promotion; however, quickly discovered some time needed to be devoted to research in order to do things properly. As such, I conducted some research and drafted a brief report on the topic, which I am sharing here should anyone else be interested in running any sort of promotion for the organizations they work for.
Note: This work was completed and submitted as part of my duties as intern with University College OCLS. I have permission from the site supervisor to share it here, and the information can be used freely.