Library 2.0, Web 2.0

Library Staff Report Use of Online Tools (Again)

By SharonS | July 6th, 2011 | 3 Comments

Last summer we reported the results of our survey of WebJunction members about their use of 10 types of online tools and resources. This spring we surveyed our membership again with a similar question, but this time separating professional use from personal use. We also updated the tool list, adding mobile apps, chat and IM, video- and photo-sharing sites, online games, and discussion forums. This year, we had 1,039 responses, in contrast to the ~575 last year. But the makeup of the respondents are similar: 70% are from public libraries, and all have registered as WebJunction members.

For the tools we surveyed last year, we see little change. The most significant shift was in social networking: in 2010, 35% reported using Facebook, Twitter or similar on a daily basis, and 30% never used it–in either a professional or personal setting. This year, 46% use social networks daily in their personal life and only 19% report never using them. Professional use of social networks lags behind personal use, but the gains are still noteworthy, as only 28% of respondents report never using social networks for work. By the way, we are hosting presentations about use of social media in the library in two free webinars this month: get the details from the WebJunction webinar calendar.

Meanwhile, email discussion lists continue to be as popular as they have been for years, with 50% of respondents using them daily (and one-quarter report daily use even in their personal lives). These are long-established, tight-knit, semi-private communities that fill our in-boxes with tips and advice, success and horror stories, rants, jokes, and calls to action. Despite their definite 1.0 clunkiness, they are still useful and used . The discussion forum, however, which could be considered the Listserv’s web-dwelling cousin, seems to be fading fast, with only 6% of respondents reporting daily use in professional life (9% in personal life), and one-third stating they never use discussions (nearly one half never use them in their personal life).

The low level of use of RSS among library staff is (to me) surprising, with roughly half of respondents stating that they never use RSS. Because this tool seems like a practical and easy and efficient way to stay tapped into updated information and news on topics of interest published on the web, and because use of RSS among the general public is reportedly much higher, we are spotlighting a simple overview of this tool on WebJunction with the hopes that more library staff will give it a try.

Here are the full results from the 2011 survey question:

Library Staff Use of Online Tools in Professional Setting Library Staff Use of Online Tools in Personal Life