bookshelves akimbo

This is too cool to pass up. Sister schools in Minnesota, St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, have a huge collection of web-powered utilities as part of their services and I got all excited paging through all the multiple different types of Web 2.0 tools they tap into.

They blog. They podcast. They IM. They have a Flickr photostream which they actually advertise. I’m not saying that all of these things are perfectly implemented, and it looks like their online books and slideshows are somewhat of a work in progress, but so far what I’ve seen here is definitely heartening.

From their homepage, you can find links to all these resources by scrolling down on the right to find a link to “More from the multimedia library.” Notice that this link is just above their Flickr badge(!).  I read something about these badges and their potential to slow down the page.  This may indeed be true as this page for me was scrolling a little slow, and the status bar indicates that it is reading data from Flickr almost constantly while you browse the page.  Hm.  That doesn’t stop it from looking cool, though!

As far as that Flickr account goes, well, they don’t just stop at a virtual tour.  No, they have implemented READ posters, “This day in history” sets (from which the CHE image comes), as well as, the coolest feature I have seen in Flickr so far.  Get ready for the ultimate in 2.0.

They have uploaded pictures of their book displays to Flickr, and then using the “notes” feature in which you can highlight a section of the picture to annotate, they have included links to their library OPAC so you can check to see if that book is available!  What fun.

Being cool 101
Being cool 101

Given the multitude of technologically-inclined services that this library offers, it comes as no surprise that they are using Flickr as part of their suite, and they are using it well.  For the effort that is put into crafting the notes on those displays, as well as creating the rest of their Library 2.0 paraphernalia, it seems as though this “multimedia library” is a little hidden there on the sidebar.  I know the purpose of a university library is not to tinker around on the web all day and then force patrons to look at what they’ve done, but i don’t know, maybe it could get an upgrade to being part of “Library Services” or something.

I hope I wasn’t gushing too much there.  Services like these are indeed secondary to collection development, quality reference service and student and faculty member awareness of the library in general.  Time and money must be spent to establish and promote these core services. However, I truly feel that incorporating fun and interactive things that help to supplement and enhance that core can really be a boon to the function of any library.  It is obvious to me that St. Johns and St. Benedict Libraries have prioritized their Web 2.0 functionality and I think that the effort they have put in has been paid in full with the ability they now have to showcase and advertise their existing collections and services using these tools.

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