Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Best of Both Worlds: Chat Reference and MySpace

Ask a Librarian targets teens with MySpace page

Students have information access at their fingertips

TAMPA, Fla. (March 14, 2007) — The Ask a Librarian program is embracing a growing trend by creating its own MySpace page. The program has been successful since its inception in 2002, and now program administrators hope to take it to the next level by offering MySpace users easy access to information.

Ask a Librarian is a free online service that allows users to chat live with a librarian for immediate assistance with research projects, homework, reports, or just general questions. The service is available to anybody, but it tends to be most valuable to high school and college students, which make up the largest group of users. Because Ask a Librarian is so beneficial to students, program administrators decided to make it even more accessible to them by creating a MySpace page.

“Ask a Librarian is such a valuable resource, but not enough students are aware of it,” said Diana Sachs-Silveira, virtual reference manager for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, one of the founding organizations of Ask a Librarian. “Since we’re trying to target our services to students, and millions of students already have their own MySpace pages, it just makes sense to try to reach them in a format they’re comfortable and familiar with.”

Ask a Librarian administrators post weekly bulletins on MySpace highlighting that week’s most interesting or challenging questions. The MySpace forum will give students quick access to research and information, which will enhance their learning process.

Ask a Librarian is available 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/askalibrarianfl or www.askalibrarian.org.

Ask a Librarian is a joint project of the College Center for Library Automation (CCLA) and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC). Ask a Librarian is funded as part of the Florida Electronic Library (www.flelibrary.org) by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant.

The Tampa Bay Library Consortium, Inc. (TBLC) is a nonprofit multi-type library cooperative that assists and empowers libraries. Since 1979, TBLC has worked with member libraries to provide better, faster service and resource sharing to the residents of Florida. For more information, call (813) 622-8252 or visit www.tblc.org.

The College Center for Library Automation (CCLA) operates the statewide Library Information Network for Community Colleges (LINCC) and associated Web-based information portal, LINCCWeb, from its headquarters in Tallahassee, Fla. As an administered program of the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Community Colleges, CCLA serves 70 community college libraries in 57 cities throughout Florida. For more information, visit www.cclaflorida.org.

[http://www.askalibrarian.org/info/AskaLibrarianMySpaceNR.html ]

Thanks to Pamala J. Doffek, Librarian | Goldstein Library | College of Information | Florida State University | for The HeadsUp!