February 17, 2018

Blogs and RSS Feeds: All You Need to Know

By LJ Staff

There were about five people blogging the Public Library Association session last Saturday featuring Michael (Tame the Web) Stephens and Jenny (Shifted Librarian) Levine, which was appropriate, given the topic: how libraries can better use blogs and RSS feeds. Stephens offered screenshots of several library blogs, from the slick to the homemade. Blogs, he observed, can be a basic communications tool: ‘If you get three questions [about the same thing] at your library reference desk, it’s probably bloggable.’ Libraries that want to post multiple pictures of an event – like a teen music night – need not take up bandwith on the library web site. For $25, they can get a year of access to Flickr, which Stephens hailed as ‘the best thing to do for enhancing your web presence.’

Levine touted the immediacy of blogs. ‘A contact form where you’ll respond in 24 to 48 hours is not going to cut it,’ she said, pointing out how patrons commenting on the Ann Arbor PL, MI, web site were ‘actually helping debug the catalog.’ RSS feeds, she said, can bring library content to ‘where the people are,’ and inform people of events and even new books. Libraries, Stephens affirmed, ‘can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.’