Sunday, March 17, 2013

The social media job of a Virtual Public Services Librarian (VPSL)

I attended a session with the presenter Virtual Public Services Librarian (VPSL) for Essex County Libraries, Adam Craig. Adam presented on his position as a VPSL, and what his work involves. Essentially his work boils down to 5 major activities:
  • database selection
  • print reference
  • troubleshooting
  • programs
  • and social media
The above five activities are what Adam stated took up most of his time and are done either daily, weekly or monthly. For me, the aspects of his social media job that was the most fascinating involved:
  • tweeting (or writing tweets)
  • Facebook status updates
  • writing blog posts
  • checking statistics and social media accounts for interaction
  • managing the library's social media accounts
Adam also outlined some of the non-traditional skills that one could apply or use for the job, which involved making use of one's hobbies such as:
  • playing around social media
  • working with graphics software like PhotoShop
  • creating online videos
Adam also advises that one informs their use of social media with research, which includes
  • finding out what is going on and new developments
  • reading terms of service agreements
  • checking Tech blogs like Wired
Adam also uses or leverages his social media skills into actual programs such as running training programs for seniors in Facebook use as well as for small businesses (Facebook page management; Blogging and microblogging etc.).

By and large, the presentation validated my own experience as a Departmental Librarian,  in which I did similar things except for blogging and tweeting (Please note: I do not blog or tweet for any institution. My blogs are all hobbies and personal/professional interests that I pursue in my own time, with my own resources). While he was doing his presentation, I could relate to it. I was also impressed that he did do training programs for small businesses. I however also noted, that far from being a job that he could do at home, he spent much of time travelling and interacting face to face with customers/library users and others. Hence he is a virtual public services librarian that does most of his work in physical locations and with face to face interaction.

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