Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Women, social media and librarians

I don't know about other people's library school experiences, but I know that I heard throughout my time at Tennessee that librarianship is a pink-collar profession (usually in Dr. Bill's classes, in fact). I'm fine with that. Even though we have a lot of women in the profession, it doesn't keep us from doing wonderful things with social media.

Then, I see a post on a non-library blog like this one over at Web Strategy by Jeremiah, which also pointed me to a post on a new-to-me non library bl0g, Lip-Sticking and a post about X Chromosome Web 2.0 Rock Stars.

I'm reading these about there not being a lot of women speakers about Web 2.0 tools, and I immediately thought of us. Where are we? Are we willing to take what we know - and we do know this stuff, folks. I look at the list of 100+ speakers for Computers in Libraries, and I know that there are some kick-ass speakers in there who know their Web 2.0 shit. Not all of the people on that list are women and not all them are looking at Web 2.0 as a whole. Does that mean that what we know isn't applicable beyond librarianship?

No, it doesn't. Actually, I think that what we know is applicable beyond librarianship in ways we haven't even begun to imagine. What do we do well at? We know about reaching out to our users (if your library is like mine, you may even call them customers). We use these skills for training and showing customers what we have and what we can do for them.

We're on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Slideshare and so many others. We blog, we podcast, we tag. We do this in academic libraries and in public libraries.

Should we be reaching out beyond libraries and looking to teach those in other fields what we're doing? Why not? If someone walked up to our reference desk and asked us about these tools we'd help them find information about it. If our coworkers ask for help learning how to use them, we teach them. A lot of us are good at teaching and presenting. So let's go beyond libraries - not only will we learn more about what tools are being used by people in other fields, it helps us show that yeah, libraries are still here and librarians aren't these little old ladies with sensible shoes. In fact, we have a lot of younger women and men who are or can be Web 2.0 rock stars beyond librarianship. We have a lot of knowledge and skill. Let's brag about it.

5 comments:

Karin Dalziel said...

I love the idea of breaking out of the library world to speak. One of the problems I see is that work likely won't pay for many of these other opportunities. (I don't get paid to go anywhere, library related or otherwise, but oh well.) But it'd be great for PR- if we want people to think outside the stereotype about librarians we have to show them something outside the stereotype!

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly Karin, even the point about monetary compensation for sharing our knowledge.

Connie said...

Hi Laura:

I think you make an excellent point. As a law librarian I have spoken in front of lawyers and others in the legal industry. I am now breaking out in a consultancy that I do not want to limit to librarie and legal organizations. I want to help anyone who needs help with social networking and social media, and maybe with related information issues. It makes it difficult to narrow things down, but I can see so many possibilities. And I hope that includes some expanded speaking opportunities as well.

Cheers,
Connie

Karin Dalziel said...

here is a beta website now that serves as a directory for women technology speakers:

http://speak.net.nz/

Looks like it might be useful. It'll be interesting to watch.

Muhammad Amir said...

I look at the list of 100+ speakers for Computers in Libraries, and I know that there get more instagram followers are some kick-ass speakers in there who know their Web 2.0 shit. Not all of the people on that list are women and not all them are looking at Web 2.0 as a whole.