Recently the Washington State Library (WSL), the Regional Depository Library for the State of Alaska established a blog.
While it is only partly related to government information, I think this blog is worthy of study by every federal depository with any kind of Internet access and any possible Internet readership.
Why? Because the Library is making some cheap and easy use of social software.
If you look at the right hand side of the Washington State Library blog, you’ll notice two things – “State library photos” and “New Books at the Washington State Library.”
The photos come from Flickr, which a number of libraries are using these days.
The new books listing right on the web page comes not from their catalog, but from a free Library Thing account. I think this is clever. If your ILS won’t accomodate RSS feeds, throw a subset of your collection into something that will!
If you go to WSL’s Library Thing catalog and profile, you’ll see this statement showing how they’re leveraging the exposure their subset is gaining through being on their blog and Library Thing:
Welcome to the Washington State Library’s LibraryThing space! Our account displays new books at the Washington State Library, as well as books selected for bibliographies and our Washington Reads program. This is not a complete or comprehensive list of our entire collection. To search our complete online catalog, to find out about our collections specializing in Washington State history, genealogy, government, and culture, or to contact a reference librarian, please visit our website.
Another nice thing about the WSL blog is how publications can feature cover art while being highlighted. It seems pretty inviting to me.
And how much did this cost besides staff time? Pretty close to zero I expect. The LibraryThing and Flickr acounts were free. WordPress has tiered service, so I don’t know whether WSL is paying for that, but they don’t have to and neither do you.
What about you? Does this give you ideas? Does your institution have the flexibility to carry it out? Want to customize your existing govdocs blog with these kinds of features?
If you’ve already got a setup like this, let us know!