Thursday, August 09, 2007

Slam the Boards!
Librarians invade the "Answer" sites

Monday, 9/10/07--All Day
Supporting Wiki:
I'd like to invite any and all interested librarians to be a little bold and have a little fun by going to online "Answer" sites, such as:

Yahoo Answers
Amazon's Askville
The WikiPedia Reference Desk
(see a list of others at link )

Once there, let's answer!

I envision a day-long answer fest. Answer as many questions as you feel you can. decide. Just try to do what we do well--provide answers from authoritative resources.

...and then MARKET!

This means making it clear that this question was answered by a librarian/library professional/etc. End each answer with the mention your own library, your VR service, etc. Add the link. Mention that readers should consider their own libraries, too. Promote it to local media. Keep in mind how many people don't even realize that libraries offer reference services. Let's surprise and delight them with our quality.

I'd like hundreds of librarians to do this. Thousands? Why not?

Be'll almost certainly be helping patrons who aren't yours, but I see this as an opportunity to make the reference librarian community more visible. I'd like to see a number of us remain engaged in the answer services, on the chance that the users will have us in the backs of their minds when they have questions they don't want everyone to see. As such, I'm not expecting to see a huge "blip" in our reference/VR stats because of this. But who knows?

The point is to meet some folks where they otherwise wouldn't expect us.

What to do next?

First of all, pass this message along to anyone who might remotely be interested.

Second, this is a very informal "action," so you can just mark the date and start answering, but you may also want to visit the Wiki and put your name up as a participant: link. I'm very lonely there right now!

While you're on the wiki, share. Think of good marketing "tags," signatures, etc. that we can use.

Most of all, visit the various answer sites, see if you need to set up an account. Try answering a few questions. A couple of us have already done this and we've already got a few "Best Answers" under our belts. See the "Exemplary Answers" section of the Wiki. Post one if you've got one!

Then, on September 10, get ready to "Slam the Boards!"

--Bill Pardue

Bill Pardue, MSLIS
Virtual Services Librarian
Arlington Heights Memorial Library;
847-506-2667 /

(Tip of the hat to Tracy Thompson of NELLCO, for passing Bill Pardue's terrific idea along to OOTJ)

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