Flowcharts! They’re all the rage…..

I have written about the library staff’s first survey of first year medical students and students in the school of biomedical sciences.  I think it’s 210-220 max.  We have 62 responses so far.  I’m pleased with that number.

But the survey doesn’t close until the 31th.  We are trying to come up with new ideas to get more involvement.  So far we have emailed them, put the survey link in their Blackboard classes with a Blackboard note and got the academic deans to send an email.

This week we are posting to Facebook, our website AND I made a poster with help from media.

Flowchart poster for survey


We put the poster in front of the library door on Friday afternoon.  I got 2 compliments (Yay!) but as of this morning no more survey responses (Sigh.)  Both of the compliments came from students who had already filled the survey out.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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Another idea for Facebook engagement…

And hopefully a laugh for everyone.

As part of our upcoming Facebook engagement campaign we will be posting scan of old ads from Medical Journals.

Here’s the first.Ambar scrapbook(you may have to zoom in for the full effect)

As one of my co-workers said,”Speed. It’s what for dinner.  And breakfast.  And lunch.”

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Wow! I was surprised.

On Sunday I posted my plan to incorporate emerging technology into a library service.

The service is study room scheduling.  The technology was supposed to be Twitter.  It ended up being Facebook.  That’s what surprised me.

And here’s why….

First some background, we are in the process of surveying our first year medical students. This survey is part of a multi-school project organized out of the Norris Medical Library at USC. Questions cover the devices students have, the social media they  use and what, if anything, they would like from the library around technology.  I know Aaron (@aaronschmidt) made it clear that surveys are the bottom rung of discovery but we’re just starting.

I was all set to write about Twitter but then this table floored me.  Out of the 60 who have replied so far more that 75% use Facebook some or all of the time and less the 20% use Twitter.  More students use Instagram than Twitter!

Until this survey I didn’t know where our students were online.  I was guessing.  I can’t say that anymore. The plan I wrote is designed to encourage more participation in our Facebook page and engage our students were they are right now. 

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Emerging Technology Planning-Helping Students Study

The library has 4 study rooms which can be reserved by students. Starting with this school year those rooms have been booked most of the time. However students don’t always show up and sometimes leave early. If we could find a way to let students know that rooms are available or become unexpectedly available we would help them find reserved study space. The question becomes how to let the students know. Announcements made in the library only reach those students physically in the library. Email is intrusive and students don’t always check their school email. Using social media to let the students know could be a possible solution but would take some groundwork

To increase student knowledge about availability of study rooms.

Action Brief
Convince 1st and 2nd year medical students that by checking the library’s Facebook page they will find out when study rooms are available which will save them time because they will know where they can study.

A frequently quoted 2010 study by MacDonald, Sohn and Ellis states that 65% of recent medical school graduates in New Zealand have Facebook accounts.

We are currently surveying our 1st year students. 57% of those responding so far use Facebook “all the time” with another 18.6 percent saying they “use it sometimes.” 83% said they use it for instant messaging.  Very few students responded that they use Twitter.  Facebook is the best social media for our users at this time.

MacDonald, J., Sohn, S. and Ellis, P. (2010), Privacy, professionalism and Facebook: a dilemma for young doctors. Medical Education, 44: 805–813. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03720.x

The library already has a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rowan-SOM-Health-Sciences-Library/309502532466110  One staff person is responsible for it and no published goals exist.

The page and all other social media usage is guided by the Social Media policy of our institution, https://www.rowan.edu/copyright/2011_socialmediapolicy.pdf

Currently there is no Facebook use guideline at the library level. To create guidelines both for staff and students who post would require the input of all staff.  This would include librarians and library support staff.  All staff works the circulation desk for some portion of the day. Guidelines for others who post would also need to be created. Student workers would be asked for input on posting guidelines.

Funding considerations

Facebook is free to use at this time.  Funding is not a consideration.  Staffing is already required for the circulation desk.

Action Steps

The Facebook page already exists.  Project planning would be in two parts.

Part 1(staff)

  • Staff would have to be educated on the Facebook page and around using Facebook to communicate with students
    • Meetings would be held to see if staff thinks this is a good idea and to get buy in. Scheduling rooms is a pain.  As part of that it would be explained that we are trying this for a short time to see if it will help.
  • If staff agrees then standards for room announcements would be created.  A schedule for posting would be created.
  • Posting would start and would go for a predetermined amount of time to get everyone into the flow


Part 2(students)

  • Facebook page link would be posted onto library home page
  • A poster would be created at the circulation desk to let students know about the new service
  • Staff would remind everyone reserving a room about the new service
  • See below for more promotion ideas


Staffing consideration and staff training

The librarian who is currently running the page would train staff on using Facebook

All staff would be involved in the project.  The best model would be if staff on the circulation desk posts the updates.  If staff feels that is a burden the second model would be circulation desk staff let one person know the update with a phone call and that person posts it to Facebook


Facebook page link would be posted onto library home page (currently it isn’t there)

A poster would be created at the circulation desk to let students know about the new service

We would ask the Education Technology staff to place an announcement in all Blackboard classes

The school has a Facebook page; we would ask them to link to our page and to post regarding the new services

An article would be written for the library homepage and posted.

We would also ask when someone calls in to reserve a room, “Did you see it on Facebook?”  We would ask when someone comes in person to reserve a room, “Did you see it on Facebook?”


Today we have 99 likes on Facebook.  Our school has about 200 per class so that isn’t awful but it isn’t great.  We would start our marketing campaign and start counting to see if that number goes up.

Hopefully we will get stories about how knowing what rooms were available helped them plan their day better.

Possible future

If this works I would hope that we can expand our Facebook page to create an online calendar so students can see what is available.  Also eventually enable them to message the library to reserve a room so they don’t have to call.  The stories they tell may be able to help the library make an argument for money to reconfigure the library space to provide more rooms. I would like to add posting about library resources and services and staff skills. Facebook could become an additional outlet for information about the library.

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Are you a Social Librarian?

Thanks to The Search Principle blog by Dean Giustini for guiding me to this

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Sally Gore is a medical librarian who works as an embedded informationist for a NIH grant. She has a blog and I follow it.

Today she is talking about altmetrics and it resonates so strongly with what I am learning from this course that I need to highlight her words..

One thing that I often find myself saying to colleagues, particularly newer grads from library schools, is that when you successfully embed yourself in the work of your patrons, your own value – and your job security – rises much more than if you were only trying to prove your value to your library directors and managers. This is because, if you want to talk numbers, there are more of them than there are library directors and managers. The word gets out that you’re worth having around – that you can do this and that and the other thing that they never knew before..

To me this is what being hyperlinked is about, embedding yourself. The lectures talk about being where your users/patrons are, what is that if not being embedded?

I know I should let you go read it for yourself but her last paragraph is equally important.

Perhaps for a long time, librarians depended upon their libraries for their value. We counted on the intrinsic value of the institution to give us worth. Perhaps today, however, it’s the institution that is dependent upon those of us who work in it to bring that value back. And this is why, I believe, we need to shift the discussion from measuring the value of libraries to measuring the value of librarians. Those are the altmetrics that I’m still waiting to see emerge.

I would argue that a hyperlinked library depends on librarians more so than the traditional model. Only humans can create/curate the stories, the interactions, the user experiences that make up the hyperlinked library.

Check out Sally and let me know if you agree with my reading of her post.  (Does anyone have all of those profiles that she mentions?  I only have a Linkdin account.I need to check them out.)

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I don’t own a computer.

I don’t have the internet in my house.

I work on a computer all day.  A while back I made the conscious decision not to buy a computer.  If I don’t have a computer I don’t need the internet.

What I have is a smartphone with a large data plan and 32 gigs of memory.  More memory than the desktop at work.

I always joke that I am not very American in my approach to the internet.  I once read an article that said in Asia and other parts of the world smart phones were much more common because desktop computers were not used at home.  Check out this graphic for a comparison on mobile access to the web.

As I read about the hyperlinked user/community for this class and watch videos of the lectures on my phone while commuting home I realized I am more like them than not.  I never thought of myself as hyperlinked.  I just didn’t have a computer.

Without a computer I treat information differently.  I hardly ever store anything, I know I can find it on the web.  I don’t remember things, I remember how to find them.  I Google, a lot.  And I search my gmail to try and remember where I heard about that show or movie or concert.  I don’t store information on my phone.  I store music and apps.  I have a firm belief that the internet and all it’s free storage will be there.  ( I might need to rethink that one.)

This week I learning I’m part of the community I’m studying.  Now I need to figure out why I’m surprised by that.  And how I can take that knowledge and apply it to my library’s community.

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