Effective Information Distribution to Selected Groups of Patrons
Štěpánka Tůmová, Silesian University in Opava - Faculty of Philosophy and Science - Department of Information Science - Institute of Computer Science, Czech Republic
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Can social networks ensure better awareness of library patrons? If so, then to what extent and in what way? It is vital to choose the right channel, the right social network. Can the awareness of patrons be increased? Can social networks contribute to that? What are the specifics of information distribution in social networks?
The way in which information is distributed has changed. From a letter, through telephone, email, sms, we've come to the era of social networks, while the former means of communication haven't vanished. The difference is that most of today’s society is online 24/7. It's a completely natural development of our society and it forces libraries to change their ways of providing services.
The process of information distribution has to be managed and guided to the appropriate groups of patrons. Without this, the result will be a dissatisfied library patron who has a profile on one of the social networks. An unmanaged flow of information influences patrons in negative ways and together with the usage of electronic communication (in this case social networks) can enhance its disadvantages – for example, by rumors.
Libraries often battle against the passivity of the younger generations towards books and the library itself. Young people are drawn to new things (for example smartphones) and a library can use this to its advantage. It is vital to find a way to our patrons through their interests, likes, programs and gadgets they often use and to know where they spend most of their free time.
The new era of Internet with social networks in the forefront is also drawing nearer to a book (for example social networks BookFan or Shelfari), so why doesn't it draw nearer to a library? Social networks and other new media or technologies are changing the way we percieve libraries and their services. Social networks are connecting various types of users, that's why a “modern library“ can't go without being involved with social networks. They are a new concept of information distribution, but they also require active participation from a patron.
Author's professional CV
Štěpánka Tůmová graduated from Silesian University in Opava in 2008, where she gained her Master’s degree in the field of Information Studies and Librarianship. After her graduation she joined the Central Library of the Faculty of Philosophy and Science at the same university where she worked as a professional librarian. While working there, she was able to gain a lot of practical experience. Since 2008 she has been working at Silesian University in Opava, the Faculty of Philosophy and Science as a teaching assistant in the Department of Information Science, Institute of Computer Science. She teaches a wide range of subjects with an emphasis on topics that are related to social media – for example patron-driven acquisition, social communication in an electronic environment, and social media as a source of information. Since 2010 she is also an external doctoral student at the Institute of Information Studies and Librarianship in the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. In her dissertation thesis she focuses on social networks. Her professional interests are related to social media, its use in public and special libraries, in order to create and broaden library services to satisfy needs of patrons. She is interested in libraries and everything that is related to them.