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"We are the fun, friendly librarians of the Tutt Library at Colorado College, Colorado Springs. Our icon is a picture of a statue of Charles L. Tutt, the library's namesake."
--Colorado College Tutt Library's Flickr Profile
What a trip this has been! I've gone through just five social tools that can improve a library's online presence. After reading this issue, you've seen virtually free software and systems that can add value to what we do best: organizing information and affording access wherever our users may be.
The authors of the The Cluetrain Manifesto say that markets are conversations. They also say, "De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you."
If our users are experiencing a new, living Web, shouldn't they find us waiting for them? Shouldn't we be ready to assist or point the way? Or be ready to collaborate on some cool new thing? Are we ready to put ourselves out there through blogs, IM, and Flickr?
The best advice I can offer to you and your colleagues at your library: Do not be afraid of this! As we shift to a landscape of continuous computing, there will be unique opportunities to build resources and connections online--to put our data out there so it can be shared and mashed up. So don't be shy. I would never advocate for an individual to go beyond his or her comfort level, so maybe try a group activity first! You may also find a community just for you, beyond the library field's professional one, that is a perfect fit. Try it out! Share some photos. Contribute to a library wiki.
No matter how you get started, keep in the mind the mantra: Let us, as librarians, the navigators of the Information Age, help grow communities, all kinds of communities, professional and personal--from librarians who create trading cards, to folks who like Macs, to people who love their dogs--and let's meet up and swap stories, both online and in person! Come in, the water is fine.