St Stephen's House Library

The St Stephen's House library doesn't have a 'traditional' website of its own, though it does get a mention on the main college site. My original intention (inspired as I was at the time by the web design module of my library school course) was to develop such a site; but, attracted by the flexibility offered by Web 2.0 technologies and the ease with which they can be updated, I decided to follow the example of my colleagues and try out some of these new tools instead.

The library blog was launched a few weeks ago, to a gratifyingly positive initial response. I'm aiming to post once a week or so, whether that be to provide an update on what's new in the library, or to draw attention to a particular resource or training course. What I'm most keen to do now is to maintain readers' interest and encourage them to keep coming back, and/ or subscribe to the feed.

Embedded in the blog are widgets from the library's page and LibraryThing account. I've been using myself for a while and now wonder what I ever did without it; for library purposes, I've found that it's a good way of providing easy access to feeds of journal contents updates, and it's helpful to be able to annotate resources to explain how users can access them, or to summarise their contents. Like Jane at VHL, I've set up a LibraryThing account to list and promote our new acquisitions. (In theory, having access to social data, such as reviews and recommendations, should be an additional advantage of this service, but at the moment we seem to be acquiring quite a lot of things that no other LibraryThing users own...)

Blogger, and LibraryThing are all quite easy to work with, and with Blogger in particular there's plenty of leeway to play around and get the look and layout you want. The hard work (as with any other medium) comes with producing useful and effective content, and engaging and retaining readers' attention; it's early days yet, but this is the challenge to which I'm hoping to rise!

Gillian Beattie
March 2008