|Center for the Education of Women's blog|
Jeanne's been an SLA member for 30 years, and has great perspective on how the special library industry has changed throughout the years -- in particular, how the Internet and social media tools have impacted how special librarians do their jobs.
Our blogging crew talked to Jeanne about how important blogging, Facebook, and Twitter have become in her career, and how she's these tools to provide information to her users. Read on to see why Jeanne says social media is giving her a "new lease on life" in her career.
Janelle: Hi, everyone. I'm Janelle Kozyra, blogger for Inmagic. We're at the SLA 2011 conference, and I'm with Jeanne Miller.
Janelle: So, Jeanne, tell us what organization you're with and your role.
Jeanne: Okay. I'm at the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan, which means I'm in an independent that is not part of our big library system. My title is Director of Information Services and Publications, but I'm kind of one of those jack of all trades, solo librarians.
Janelle: So what brings you to the show this year?
Jeanne: Well, the conference is always a place where I learn new stuff. And at the show, I get to see some of the new products coming out and kind of check in on what's new. Because I'm at a university but not part of the university system, that puts me in kind of a funny position. Sometimes, I find out about products that the system owns that I can tap into.
Janelle: So are you an SLA member or --
Jeanne: I am.
Janelle: So how long have you been a member for?
Jeanne: I've been a member for, hmm, probably 30 years.
Janelle: Great. So the theme of this year's show is Future Ready. So what sorts of trends are you seeing impacting your organization in the coming year?
Jeanne: Well, I'm in Michigan so, of course, tight budget is like the hugest trend in Michigan. And what we've been doing is using social media more. So I'm buying fewer books. I'm spending less time with books. I'm spending a lot more time online delivering information to a pretty diverse set of clients, including my colleagues.
Janelle: So can you tell us a little bit more about your approach, then, with using online mediums more so than print?
Jeanne: Sure. We have now a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and a blog. And I'm the primary blog writer. Occasionally we have somebody do a guest blog. But we kind of try to switch it out between some of the marketing pieces of programs that we're going to do, that kind of thing. And then some of the pieces that would be more commentary on relevant issues that have to do with women, particularly in career, employment, educational access, that kind of thing.
Janelle: So how long have you been using Twitter, Facebook, and blogging? Because I find that a lot of professionals in the industry haven't caught on to those technologies yet. And it sounds like you're kind of ahead of the curve a little bit when it comes to that.
Jeanne: I'd like to think so. I've only been blogging for about six months. We re-did our entire website, and I demanded a blog on it. I've been using Twitter for probably about two years, I think I started using it at an SLA conference two years ago. And we've been using Facebook about the same amount of time.
Janelle: And how are you finding it working as you're putting out information there? You're serving your users, so how is it going?
Jeanne: It's a little bit hard to tell with the Twitter feed. It's a little bit harder to tell where -- typically, we're being followed by other organizations that have the same kinds of issues we have. So organizations dealing with women, with low-income workers, with employment, that kind of thing.
With Facebook it's a little easier to tell because we get a little more interactivity with people who are on Facebook, and sometimes comment on the links that we put on, or comment on a program that we've offered, that kind of thing.
Janelle: So then with your role specifically, what do you think about -- how important, then, is the social technology phenomenon to you? I mean, is this very important to your role now, or what's your thoughts on it? You're glad that this technology is out there now, and how has it affected you?
Jeanne: Well, it reminds me of a point in my career when I used to come to SLA and go to these sessions about this thing called the Internet, and I had no clue what it was or what I was going to do with it, but I knew it was going to be important. And so for me, the social media is kind of another wave like that, and it's given me kind of a new lease on life for my career.
I've been in my career for a long time. Some new ways to think about things, and for me it takes what I learned in library school in the 70s, just on a different platform. So it's fun for me to think about how providing information is the key no matter what I'm using to do it.
Jeanne: So it's been very energizing for me.
Janelle: Great. Well, thank you. Nice to meet you and good luck at the rest of the show.
Jeanne: Thank you.