Every job has its requirements and instructions to keep the employee professional in his/ her job. Librarians, for example, must keep themselves updated all the time, because their job is basically to offer the information and knowledge for their users. It is impossible to do that if they do not update their knowledge and use the newest tools and sources. It is the librarian’s responsibility to update themselves by subscribing to some sources, reading the news or asking their mentors for advice. Providing information for the users today is totally a different process than it was in the past. Nowadays users would like to get information from the librarians without going to the library. Librarians today should be able to help and serve their users online. There are many tools librarians can use to do that, such as online chats, social media tools, creating websites and creating Youtube channels. Librarians should be able to deal with these technology tools and apply them to their services.
Why It Is Important For Librarians To Use Social Media Tools?
Social media tools and technologies are tools which allow people to interact and connect each other through a virtual community. People can create, share, discuss and evaluate ideas or information in that virtual world. Librarians can gain many benefits when they involve themselves in that virtual community. However, creating an account in that social media tool is not a goal by itself. Librarians should work hard to make their social media accounts so active and serve their users by doing some services via it. Youtube is one of the most popular social media tools nowadays and many users subscribe to many Youtube channels. Libraries can use their Youtube channel to enhance inclusion and outreach activities. However, there are many challenges and risks in using these social media tools which librarians must be aware of.
Social media tools and technologies have become the most effective way to contact and interact with people. I believe they are the most guaranteed way of making sure that a message is delivered to the users. Some users reply to that message and some ignore it all together. It basically depends on the creativity of your message. People in business are more clever in attracting the users and getting their attention. However, people do not trust most of the business social media tools for many reasons. And when people do not trust you in social media, they are going to ignore you, block or even report spam ! When it comes to trust, there is nothing that can be compared with how much people trust libraries and librarians. For example, users in the Law school library are asking the librarians for legal advice. That show who users are usually trust librarians and share with them even their personal things. This is the main benefit that libraries and librarians can use to their advantage in the social media world. The trust of users makes it very easy for libraries and librarians to reach people and interact with them. However the question is : are librarians and libraries aware of this strong feature ? Are they going to use it in their social media tools ? Also, organizations in general when they are using a social media tool they find it hard to choose between the quantity and the quality. Should they use numerous social media tools to reach more users ? Or should they use fewer social media tools, focusing on one tool in order to provide more professional contact in contacting, when serving and helping their users. In Kuwait, most of the organizations are focusing on only three social media tools, which are Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. My example in this assignment is using Youtube as a social media tool to provide library instructions to the library’s users.
What Is Youtube?
Youtube is an American video-sharing website that allows you to upload, rate, play, share and comment on videos. Youtube’s website was created by three former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005. The first YouTube video, titled Me at the zoo, shows co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo. The video was uploaded on April 23, 2005, and can still be viewed on the site. In 2006 Google bought the Youtube channel for $1.65 billion. Youtube now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. Youtube makes use of WebM, H. 264/MPEG-4 AVC and Adobe Flash Video technology to display the videos. There are many channels nowadays in Youtube and you can find many Video clips, TV clips, music videos, movie trailers and other contents such like video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. Also there are many libraries and universities that created a Youtube channel to communicate and provide their audiences with instruction about their services. However, most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, which mean librarians can create and upload their videos under their names and became very effective. Unregistered users can watch videos, and registered users can upload videos to their channels. Videos considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users, affirming themselves to be at least 18 years old. Nowadays there are some videos that reached 2 billion views and likes. That shows with your Youtube channel you can reach and connect with the whole world. In 2015 Youtube announced a premium YouTube service titled YouTube Red, which provides users with both ad-free content as well as the ability to download videos among other features. Nowadays, Youtube is a global website that is being used almost in every country, people visit it daily.
Advantages And Disadvantages
Youtube as a website and service contains many advantages that reflect positively on the users and the channel’s creators as well. Librarians will earn many benefits from using a Youtube channel as a tool to communicate and provide library instructions to their users.
First, as I mentioned previously, Youtube is a global website that allows you to reach users from different countries. Librarians can use their Youtube channel to provide library instruction such as how the users can browse the library databases or how the users can do a professional search process. These kinds of videos are needed and users are willing to learn and watch them from everywhere in the world. So librarians can become very popular on Youtube which will help them to attract more users to their library or their library’s website.
Secondly, Youtube’s website shows some ads before the videos start. These ads are from companies that would like to do some marketing for their products by publishing them on Youtube channels. The fees for these ads are separated between the Youtube company and the channel owner. For example, if I have a Youtube channel and my users watched the ads before my video started, I would earn some money from that, because I helped in marketing that product or service. Ads will show in your channel according to how many views your videos got and how many users subscribed to your channel. So librarians can earn some money for them or for the library by posting these videos on their channel and interacting with their users in order to get more views and subscribes.
Third, librarians will be able to interact and earn social feedback from their users in their Youtube channel. Users can comment, rate, like, dislike and favorite videos on Youtube. This feedback will demonstrate how the users feel and reflect on your videos. With these advantages, librarians will have a great body of knowledge to develop and improve their attitude as librarians.
On the other hand, using social media tools have some disadvantages as well. Librarians need to spend a lot of time on this social media tool. Because users will comment in different time zones, especially when they are from other countries. This might keep the librarians busy and distracted from doing their job in the library. I suggest to locate a specific librarian to just handle the library’s Youtube channel. Also the library can locate a specific team to operate their Youtube channel. Otherwise it is going to be hard to be active and successful in that channel.
Also on the internet in general, people might get bad comments or negative words. This might have a bad effect on the librarians and they might get disappointed. However the smart librarians should not be affected by these comments and should have the ability to use these bad comments as power that could push them to do better.
Additionally, not every librarian might be able to use this social media tool in a professional way. Librarians would need to have a high level of technology skills. Librarians with an IT background would be the best choice to handle the library’s Youtube channel.
How The Youtube Channel Can Be Useful For Library Instruction?
As I mentioned previously, librarians can upload many videos to their channels whenever they want. These videos could be five hours long which is an enough time for workshops. Librarians can upload workshops on their Youtube channel, such as searching strategies, databases types, citation instructions, using references, understanding the classification systems and many other instructions. The comments will be a very helpful way of seeing what the users think about your videos and knowing if they understand them or not. Also librarians can provide a whole program of instructional lectures in their Youtube channel, such as steps to create a personal LibGuide. That topic, for example, needs more than one video, so librarians can create a playlist in their channel about it and upload many videos in that playlist. All these ideas and options prove that using Youtube channel to provide library instructions is a perfect idea, because it is better for librarians to record these instructions and upload them than do it again every month for new users. Also librarians will reach more users with these instructions and many people will learn from it.
Examples of Libraries Using Youtube Channels
Nowadays almost every library has a Youtube channel. However most of them do not use it professionally or have stopped using it for some reason. I believe to manage your Youtube channel and be active with it, you have to be interested in this experience and do it with love. That what I saw in the next three examples.
First Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Library Services channel which is one of the best channels in my point of view. In this channel users can learn more information about information skills and watch very useful workshops. In this channel the librarians uploaded many instructional lectures in many playlists. First playlist called Find Help In 15 Seconds which contains short videos that present the information such like taking book out in 15 seconds, swiping into the library and finding books in 15 seconds. Also this channel has another playlist where they uploaded longer instructional videos such like searching in the library catalogue, renewing a library loan, returning items to the library, finding electronic journals and accessing ebooks. The users like their videos and they usually leave positive comments on their videos. It is really an interesting channel that provides a helpful information to the users in a smart and quick way.
The second example is The British Library channel which is also one of the best libraries channel in Youtube. The British Library has mostly uploaded videos about their collection and events. However they have a playlist called How to use the library where they have uploaded many useful instructional videos to their users in order to teach them how to use the library in a professional and effective way. I found most of these videos so helpful for me as a user such as document supply service videos, using the DataCite Metadata Store, exploring the collections and registering with the library. All these videos are very helpful for the users because they demonstrate all the steps that you have to follow in order to do it.
The last example I want to point out is The Library of Congress channel which contains a huge collection of videos. The Library of Congress channel has more than 30 interesting playlists. One of these playlists is called Teacher Resources from The Library of Congress. In this playlist they uploaded many instructional videos such as working with maps, working with photos, planning a search, copyright quick check, teaching with primary sources and many other useful videos. I believe The Library of Congress channel is very important and useful for users and librarians as well. Librarians or teachers can learn many helpful things from these videos because it is done by experts in the fields.
These were some examples for libraries which started working on their Youtube channels and provide their users with helpful instructional videos. Youtube channels is a huge advantage that will benefit the librarians and the users if they used it in a professional way like these examples.
How To Create A Youtube Channel For Your Library ?
The first step in my opinion in creating your Youtube channel is planning. Librarians should know why they need to create this channel and have some goals and objectives before they create it. Because in order to manage your Youtube channel in a professional way, you have to know why you created it and how you can achieve your goals. After creating your plan, you can start creating your Youtube channel.
Creating a Youtube channel is an easy thing and free. First you have to go to youtube.com and you will see in the top of the page a sign up option. When you select sign up you it will take you to a page where you have to write your account name, email and your password. After that you will get an email to confirm your account and activate it. You can subscribe for any channel that you are interested in and find it useful for you as a librarian. After that you can create your channel easily.
To create your channel first you have to login in your account. When you login you will see My channel option in the left side of the page click on it. Now you can see your channel page and manage it. There are many things you can do in this page such like editing your channel’s picture, add channel ART, control your channel access, editing your channel’s description and creating a playlist.
The home page of Youtube website is very friendly and easy to use. Also you can download Youtube Apps in the smarts phones and manage your account and channel from there. These apps can alerts you when anythings were posted in your channel form your users such like comments, rates, likes or dislikes. This will help you to be updated with your channel and your users all the time.
How To Upload A Video?
Youtube worked so much to make the uploading videos process very easy and it does not take a lot of time. There are two ways to upload videos to your Youtube channel. First, if you are trying to upload a video by using the Youtube app it is super easy and fast. First you have to open the app and click on the person icon. You will have a list in this page, choose My videos from that list. You will see a blank page with a small red upload icon, click on it and the app will ask you to allow it to access your video library in your phone. If you agree about that you just have to choose which video you want to upload and it will be there in your channel.
Uploading videos by using the website is mostly the same process with a little different steps. First you have to open youtube.com page and login in your account. You will see in the top of the page an upload option click on it. If you did not found it, go to My channel page and you will find it there. After clicking on it you will see the option of select files to upload. Click on it and choose your videos. After that you will have the option to choose who can see this video, whether the public or specific users.
Feedback In Youtube
Feedback in Youtube is very important because it is the only signal for you to know if you are in the right way or not. There are many ways that you can know what the users think about your videos and your channel. First, comments are very clear feedback you can see it from your users. The users can write in the video comments their opinions and questions. Second, rates are another great way to tell how much the users find your video helpful. Also likes and dislikes options will show you how many of your users liked and agreed with your video and how many didn’t like it. Additionally, the subscriptions for your channel is the main signal that shows you how many users find your channel important and they want to be informed in every video you will post in the future. According to the subscriptions number, Youtube website will decide how many ads they will post in your videos and how much you will earn from it.
These feedback can be positive or negative. Librarians should have the knowledge of how to keep and increase the positive feedback with their users and how to fix and improve their channel to avoid the negative feedback.
In conclusion, social media tools should not be a goal by itself, it is always a way that helps libraries and librarians to reach and provide their users with better services. It is so wrong if librarians consider using the social media as their goal. The way librarians are using that social media tool and what benefits they will earns from it is the most important part in using the social media tools.
Youtube channel as a tool will helps the librarians to do what they actually do in the library but in a more advanced way. In a Youtube channel there is no limit of how many users can see and learn from the librarian’s instruction. Also there is no time limit for the users’ questions. Which means librarians may post a video in their channels and they will reserve questions about it after 6 years or more. Librarians nowadays have no excuse to not reach unlimited users and provide them the instruction they want. They should trust and involve themselves in the social media to achieve their goals.
Jarboe, G. (2009). YouTube and video marketing: An hour a day. Indianapolis, Ind: Wiley Pub.
Krachten, C., & Hengholt, C. (2013). YouTube: Spass und erfolg mit online-videos (2. Auflage. ed.). Heidelberg, Germany: dpunkt.verlag.
Library Of Congress. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/user/LibraryOfCongress
MMU Library Services. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/ user/MMULibraryServices
The British Library. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/user/britishlibrary