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Friday, October 20, 2006

Post #2-Libraries and MySpace

Yesterday, I was reading an article titled “Your Space or MySpace?” in Library Journal’s’ Fall 2006 supplementary issue, Netconnect. The article outlines the many possibilities that libraries have by using this powerful social networking site. MySpace allows libraries to connect to students, patrons, and other libraries on a social level through blogs, email lists and post bulletins. Beth Evans of the Brooklyn College Library writes that libraries have been stalled by indecision to enter the world of MySpace mainly because of the negative media portrayal it has received. It is looked upon by many as a tool for online sexual predators rather that one for socialization and community networking.

Another librarian, Joanne Cameron of the Palm Beach Community College of Florida writes that librarians are suffering from “paralysis by analysis” because they are overthinking. Beth Evans suggests that libraries take the initiative to interact with students and young people via MySpace because it is one of the biggest advantages to contacting them in the masses or in specific groups. Evans also says that by interacting with the users in their environment of choice, you learn more about their needs there than you would in, say, online chat sessions with a reference person.

I feel that libraries becoming involved in popular social networking sites such as MySpace are a great idea and are important because it will make the library more up-to-date and in tuned with what the population and/or demographic they are serving wants and needs the most from its library. Those libraries that choose not to conform are simply not evolving according to the changes that their community needs. Although some libraries are choosing to use MySpace as its forum for outreach to young populations, I think that it’s important too to think about the possible affects it may have on its users. For instance, possible copyright issues if the host library wants to promote a campaign, or derogatory language or suggestions made by or to bloggers of their site.

Some libraries MySpace links that were featured in the article are:

Albany County Public Library

Brooklyn College Library

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Goshen Public Library

Hennepin County Library

Lansing Public Library


  • At 10:05 AM, Blogger Kim said…

    There is such a contrast between the libraries that are embracing MySpace to the extent you wrote about and others that are blocking it entirely on computers used by youth. In an era when libraries seem to be continually needing to defend their relevancy, I think it's important to be in touch with what the users find relevant.

  • At 5:31 AM, Blogger Michael Stephens said…

    I agree as well. I'm also glad you pointed out the pitfalls or unintended consequences of library presence in social sites. What might we do to prevent the things you mention?

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Library Lady said…

    You will LOVE this!

    I went to a workshop on setting up wireless networks in Mississippi libraries, and the speakers were community college librarians...who shall remain nameless.

    When asked, "How do you handle all the myspace, youtube traffic slowing down the internet, you know bandwidth problems?"

    Without batting an eye they proudly stated, "We block those sites."

    You block college kids? Adults?

    I left and went to another workshop. :-D

    Sorry, to lurk, Maggie

  • At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your blog ! This is my first time reading it.So i had to comment. Keep up the good work.Oh and as a fellow myspacer, check out


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