CILIP in London talk – Social Libraries

Social Libraries: Collaborating worldwide from the comfort of home by Anne Welsh.

This talk was about ‘Five weeks to a social library’, an innovative and free US-based online course for teaching librarians about social software (such as blogs, RSS, social bookmarking and wikis) and its use in libraries that ran earlier in 2007. Anne was one of the presenters who, drawing on her experience of setting up a blog for DrugScope, created a screencast presentation to demonstrate how common library activities such as acquisitions, cataloguing and enquiry work can be transformed quickly and easily into blog entries.

Anne spoke about the origins of the course and the value of international collaboration, as well as discussing the role of social software in libraries. She discussed how the 5 week programme did not simply guide participants on how to, for example, set a blog up, but discussed content that could be included and other practical applications as well as suggesting ways of convincing colleagues and management that introducing this software is useful. When organising the course preference had been given to ‘nuts and bolts’ style presentations that had an obvious practical application.

Near the end of her talk Anne spoke of some of the successes to come out of the course; participents already beginning to implement the projects they had been asked to devise. 

The text of the talk is posted on Anne’s blog at
The handout for the talk is at Lots of useful links!
Five weeks to a Social Library website This contains all of the presentations, blogs, wikis and associated media that made up the course – a very useful resource.


4 Responses to “CILIP in London talk – Social Libraries”

  1. Katharine Says:

    This sounds really useful. There are a few applications of blogs that really surprised me. At Warwick some staff add blog boxes to the bottoms of online tutorials so that students can use them to add comments to their own blogs about the tutorial they have taken without leaving the page.

    The comments are tagged to match the tutorial they relate to and that means that the person who created the tutorial can search the blogs for the tag and easily pull up all the feedback for that tutorial at once from the blog entries that students have made.

    I might check back soon and have a look at the links you left here.

  2. assistantlibrarian Says:

    Hi Katharine,

    I think the potential of all of this type of software is only just beginning to be realised – the example you give is a really interesting use of blogs and tagging. I’d love to be able to explore all that WordPress can do if you download the full (free) blog software – seems to have extra functionality that I’d be be very interested in trying, but it’s not possible at the moment.

    The 5 weeks course presentations are all still up on the site and will remain there for quite a while by the sounds of it – I’ve listened to/watched a few and they have sparked off a few ideas already!


  3. annewelsh Says:

    Hi there

    It was great to see you last Tuesday, and I’m really glad that you’re finding the Social Libraries presentations useful.

    Maybe, now that Cilip is offering blogging for groups and branches, the London Branch might think about starting one up …



  4. Mark Ludlam Says:

    I have been following the 5 weeks to a social library course now for…er…5 weeks. So far, I have just finished week 1! Like you say, it quickly sparks off ideas as to how blogs can improve library services. I download many of the presentations (such as Anne’s) and listen to them on my mp3 player. Anne’s use of blogs to advertise collections and new items is an excellent idea.

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