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Social library success is more than social networking

Heading down the home stretch with our Social Libraries 101 series. Today I want to review the lessons we've covered so far, and extract what we've found to be the important components of a successful social library. When planning your social library initiative, it's crucial the initiative not be viewed just as a social networking project. It's not. It hinges on information management disciplines.

Social media is core to a social library. But it's not enough to ensure success. Although value is derived from connecting people, greater value is derived when social media tools are integrated with content. This makes communities, including corporate ones, more effective, agile, and cohesive.

That's where the social librarian becomes a key part of the social library's success. The role of the social librarian should include:

1. Feeding and weeding. Librarians source current, reliable, and relevant knowledge (both vetted and social), while weeding out outdated, irrelevant, and incomplete information.

2. Organizing. Librarians organize, categorize, and create environments to publish and provide more diverse and more social content to the community they serve.

3. Cultivating. Librarians cannot be solely responsible for ensuring the information published is the most useful and relevant. They must cultivate the social library by partnering with their organization’s experts.

In addition, there are actions organizations can take to create, implement, use and maintain a robust social library. In our experience working with organizations who've implemented Presto, we'd recommend:

1. Start with your end game in mind. Ask about problems to be addressed, desired results, and audiences to be served.

2. Have an information strategy. Identify the organization’s content, structure and strategy to collect, organize, and publish library content. Keep content as the priority.

3. Have a community strategy. Discuss and determine how social information can benefit and augment vetted information. Specify the content you will socialize and the content that is better left alone. Identify the formal and informal leaders and the roles they will play (blogging, etc.). Know the core benefit you deliver and what behavior you enable.

4. Play an active role. Actively manage information pathways by using social contributions to modify weeding and feeding strategies. Create global alerts and other time-savers to make the system most useful.

5. Monitor business impact and deliver value. Measure objectives before and after implementation of your social library. Monitor contributor’s adoption. Employ use reporting to understand who, what, and how often information is used. Focus on quality, and individual and organizational productivity.

If you want to learn more, drop us a line, or check out our archived educational webinars. We'll wrap up our series next time with concluding thoughts.

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