Libraries & Social Media

Nancy Dowd’s article published in the Library Journal in 2013, brought to light some highly relevant and relatable questions surrounding libraries and their use of social media for outreach purposes.  I am currently on the Social Media Team, here at Grand Rapids Community College, although this role has evolved during my 5 years here.  As Dowd outlines in the article, too frequently libraries put effort into posting on a variety of platforms but do not have a procedure of tracking whether or not the posts are actually reaching their target audience, or even if they are, are they fostering any sort of response.

In the last few years, our library has gone through a variety of staff changes due to people leaving, new hires coming and the structure of our department seeing updates, as well.  With these changes came new members of the Social Media Team, which has ultimately benefited our efforts in this area.  As new members come on board, we have frequently assessed our social media presence, reviewing whether or not the platforms our posts were going out through, remain relevant and/or heard by our students, faculty or staff.  Largely, the answer for the numerous accounts was “no”, so we have narrowed our outreach efforts down to Facebook, our WordPress blog, and Twitter – eliminating a Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and other accounts along the way.

A couple tips I am taking away from Dowd’s article, which I think our library could benefit from utilizing more frequently, are the suggestion to put out posts that are humorous and those that include “fast facts” – or limited information, just giving the basics on events or important things happening at the library.  I also, really liked the quote in the article from Susan Brown, and how she tells her staff to use their own voice when posting for the library, follow their passions and engage the community – but “don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable saying at a service desk.”



Dowd, N. (2013). Social Media: Libraries Are Posting, but Is Anyone Listening? Library Journal (online). Retrieved from


National Network of Libraries of Medicine

On the U.S. National Library of Medicine‘s website, they provide information related to the various programs and efforts led by the NLM, one of these is the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  The network consists of a 6,000 member organizations – including a variety of medical libraries, hospital libraries, pharmaceutical libraries, and others.  This network allows for a flow of information amongst all of those involved, resources are requested and received in a timely fashion, in order to ensure medical professionals and patients have access to crucial information about treatments and healthcare.  An addition piece of work that this network aids in, is emergency preparedness, providing pertinent information to staff working on developing disaster plans during urgent situations.


Click here to learn more about this network, and the NLM as a whole, at their website.

MLA & International Strategy

In my dream world, my ideal career in librarianship will provide me opportunities to fulfill my desire to travel the world.  After reading a blog post from the Medical Library Association’s website, I am excited to see that their mission includes international outreach and education.  The further I get into the MLIS program, the more insight I gain on what opportunities actually exist out in the field, the more excited I become for my future – while also kicking myself for not starting this program sooner! As an example, one instance of international field work being completed, is through the organization Librarians Without Borders.  This organization has held 57 workshops, in 33 different countries around the world, for professionals in the library field.

Click here to be directed to MLA’s page full of information their International Programs, and here to read the blog post I just read, related to their international aspirations and involvement.

Overconfidence & Emails

Article Summary #1 – LS 534

AKA Article Summary #1

In 2005 Justin Kruger, Nicholas Epley, Jason Parker & Zhi-Wen Ng published an article which studied the idea that egocentrism impacts the way that people communicate via email.  To demonstrate the relationship between human nature to be overconfident in our abilities to portray the tone we are aiming to, even with the lack of visual cues for the recipient, the researchers completed 5 different studies.  Each study added unique variables, comparing voice communication to email communication, as well as requesting participants to guess how accurate those receiving their messages would interpret them.  The team found, as they had hypothesized, that those speaking or writing the messages were overconfident in their ability to express tone & emotion, regardless or the mode of communication.  However, they were more accurate in their assumption in the voice messages.  Participants listening to voice recording were able to interpret meaning of statements at a much greater rate, than when simply reading sentences from a typed message.  Obviously, the team concluded this was due to the inflection present in the participants voice, a piece of evidence lacking in emails or other written platforms for communication.

The concept being analyzed in the studies, are relevant for anyone who uses an email account.  The stakes being higher among professionals who use this as a primary way to conduct & complete business, misinterpretations at work can be sources of conflict or misunderstanding of what work needs to be completed.  Often in higher education, students attend sessions on best practices in the work place to prepare them for their future careers.  In these classes or seminars, often the topic of email etiquette is discussed.  Students learn the do’s and don’ts of professional emails, often including recommendations from the instructor, that they should not place “emoticons” or similar forms of expression within the message of the email.  These items are often considered to exude a message in themselves that might be interpreted as the sender being less than professional, which is less than ideal when it comes to work communication.

In my personal experience, my initial communication with vendors, colleagues or publishers, I am sure to remain concise & as clear as possible in my explanations, requests or responses.  Although, once I have communicated several times with a person, I begin to be less rigid & often include “smiley faces” or more expressive greetings.  In my opinion, these items may be interpreted by some as unprofessional, but to me they show a sign of personality & add a “human factor”.  I have also had experience with misinterpretation of my messages, or myself needing further clarification, in these situations I have found it most helpful to speak on the phone or in person to clear up any potential misunderstandings.  I think it is beneficial for the workplace & professional relationships, to never jump to conclusions – especially when it comes to email communication.



Kruger, J., Epley, N., Parker, J., & Ng, Z. (2005). Egocentrism over e-mail: Can we communicate as well as we think?. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 89(6), 925-936. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.89.6.925

MLA Career Center Tips

LS 534 – Brief resource post.

Listed as a helpful tool, within my LS 534 course schedule, was the link to the Medical Library Association’s Career Center page.  I recently became a student member of the association and have found their website, in it’s entirety to be a great resource for those of us MLIS students interested in the medical librarianship realm!

Shortly after I decided medical librarianship was the direction I would like my career to move, I started reaching out to my current colleagues and found that many of them had contacts whom I could learn from.  On MLA’s Career Center page, an important tip for those interested in the field is to network.  You never know in whom or where you will find a mentor, they could even be within your current professional circle – put the word out about your interest and desire to learn more, doing just that will often provide you more information and connections than you thought!

I have copied the link below to the Career Center, for those interested in checking it out 🙂

(featured photo courtesy of