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Libraries Don't Always Equal Books

October 10, 2008

A report from OCLC called Sharing, Privacy, and Trust in Our Networked World, covers topics like digital lives, social spaces, and libraries and social networking. The report gives usage statistics on social networking sites, and social media sites. It also discusses important issues like privacy and security in the online world.

There was one section that was very interesting. The report discusses library branding. To patrons, the library equals books. Books are the library brand, and patrons have expectations of this brand. They don’t often expect libraries to provide other resources like social netowrking or social media and definitely don’t expect libraries to provide outreach in those areas. The report also points out that this brand has put boundaries on libraries in the social web, and “offline, libraries are vibrant social spaces.” I agree that libraries are vibrant social spaces. Then it only makes sense that libraries should share the online world of social networking space with their patrons. Since many patrons are users of social networking and social media sites, why not reach out to people where they are, whether it’s online or offline? I think libraries should take advantage of these sites and become a part of them.

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