Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Not drinking the Kool-Aid

Posted by lpearle on 25 October 2007

Twice now, in my short time at AASL/Reno, I’ve been told to Get With A New Product (even if the product is old, like MySpace). The first, the MySpace promoter, said (rightly) that we have to be where our students are – we need to make sure that they know they can come to us for great reads, for advice, etc. and MySpace is a great way to provide that sort of information.

WRONG said many in the audience. Students may friend you as a person, but they won’t friend The [School] Library. There are so many ways to promote your library to them, to get them in the door, but this ain’t one of them.

This same person promoted putting podcasts on the library website. Interesting idea, right? Get the kids to do a booktalk of their favorite book. Post it. Watch the book fly off the shelf. Here’s my question: do these people (the promoters) have statistics to prove that these podcasts are being listened to? Do they do surveys to see how many books “fly off the shelves” because of them?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: prove to me that it’s worked in your place, that this really does draw the students in and increases reading and research and all that. I’ll buy it then. But too often we go charging off after the Next Great Thing and fail to notice that no one’s running along with us.

Conferences are great echo chambers, aren’t they?

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2 Responses to “Not drinking the Kool-Aid”

  1. Tracey said

    I’ve thought this often about Second Life recently. I know no one outside the library world who is excited about it. Our patrons aren’t demanding that we load it onto our computers so the can access it, and while, yes, I get the “this could be a cool way to reach new users”, I also think that in this time of diminishing resources, we should be focusing them on something else.

  2. Lazygal said

    I know some people that are into Second Life, but no one’s going to the library to get there. I’ve also read a lot about companies that have invested in pavilions, but the attendance and usage are slim and the ROI abysmal. What bugs me is that you’re supposed to “get” Second Life, and if you don’t get it you’re not drinking enough Kool-Aid.

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