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* Monday, June 19, 2006

Homer Library Gets Press for Blog, RSS, and Flickr!

A Personal Touch

"The Homer Township Public Library is now trying to show the personal side of what it does. Library Director Sheree Kozel-La Ha initiated a Flickr account in which the library posts pictures of its many programs, building, and staff.

'The Flickr account is a creative way to encourage the community to know what we are about,' Kozel-La Ha said. 'Pictures are placed into sets and show customers enjoying programs, collections, and more.'

The library was recently awared a Target Family Art grant and pictures on the Web site now show one of the programs, a family quilting class that it funded.

'We see more than 600 library visitors each day and have so much going on,' she said. The Flickr page is at http://flickr.com/photos/homerlibrary/.

The redesigned Web site is what is known as a blog, where pertinent information is constantly being added and patrons can choose to have this information sent directly to them via an RSS feed or email mailing list. New features also include a daily coming event area, the library photo area, and how to instant message to the library.

'We have savvy patrons,' said Adult Services Director Brian Smith, who manages the web page content. 'We are always trying to add convenient features that our community can use.' The library's general web page can be visited at www.homerlibrary.org." [The Homerian, May 17, 2006]

This is exactly what I mean when I talk about using Flickr to humanize the library and show online some of the vibrancy that goes on within the four walls. It's easier to cut our funding when we're just the nameless, faceless "library" than it is if they see happy, smiling taxpayers. Even the small, local paper realizes this. More screenshots for my presentations!

A special shout-out to the Prairie Area Library System for installing Feed2JS so that Homer could display local RSS headlines on their home page!

Check out the IM presence indicators on Homer's site, too, as well as all of the RSS goodness. As a patron, I love how I can use the advanced features while others can come to the website as they normally would.

I'm really proud of my home library and how far Sheree has brought it in the last six years. She's made it a great example of how a small library can use these new tools (like blogs, RSS, IM, etc.) to offer services on par with large libraries but at little or no cost. Way to go, Sheree! :-)

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