OLJ Task- RSS Feeds for school libraries

As school libraries are all about sharing and delivering information, RSS feeds are a wonderful way for school libraries to connect with their clients and remain vibrant in their communities.

Examples of RSS feeds

Baker Middle School: http://classrooms.tacoma.k12.wa.us/baker/iberg/index.php#1355946957

The Unquiet Library: http://theunquietlibrary.wordpress.com/

The above links present 2 examples of school libraries using RSS feeds. Both are used in the simplest way. Users can be kept up to date with the latest announcements or comments.

How RSS fees can enhance information services in libraries

While they are good examples, this use of RSS feeds is rather limited. Both these sites use the RSS feeds to alert clients or users to new updates. As both schools have effective and vibrant blogs, this is an important part of keeping the information out there for all to see. But, there are so many other ways school libraries could use RSS feeds.

The first place to start to enhance any library service is to identify what the users or clients really need. What do they need up to date access to? What is important to share regularly? What sort of information would make students subscribe? The information gathered to answer these questions will be different for each school library, depending on age of students, size of school and the culture of the library community itself.

Some ways RSS feeds could be useful beyond the announcements and comments on the library blog include:

  • Library opening hours; or changes to opening hours
  • New additions to the online catalogue
  • Professional development for staff about libraries and advocacy for TL’s
  • Library account notifications- overdues, hold notifications
  • Catalogue of games available for gaming centres
  • List of guest speakers or special events

Whatever the content, RSS feeds give up to date and immediate contact between the library and its users. If users are alerted to library information in this way, how much more are they going to use the library facilities? With so much going on in schools, this is a great way to promote the library continuously. Rather than the users coming to the library to find out information, the library is reaching out to the users!

References:

Wolfe, C. (2008). 10 ways libraries can use rss. In The Moxie Librarian. Retrieved from http://moxielibrarian.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/10-ways-libraries-can-use-rss/

For those wanting to know more, here is a simple explanation of RSS feeds.

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