Literacies for the 21st Century Academic Librarian
Presenting library services, instructional materials, information, data, or announcements in innovative formats catches the attention of users, improves information retention, and increases opportunities for libraries to engage their constituents.
I follow several academic libraries on Pinterest specifically as part of my research on information seeking processes and how Pinterest is used to extend the library beyond its physical walls presenting information in alternative formats in the context of Web 2.0 social media.
In this blog entry, I present examples of infographics on a variety of topics. My research on Pinterest and Academic Libraries is nearing completion with a blog entry expected in the next few months. But first . . .
WordPress created a virtual infographic at the end of 2012 providing its subscribers with data to review. Here is the one produced for this blog and in the style of that which academic libraries can produce to present data and other information to their audiences.
In my experience, few librarians have the skills or interest to create appropriate and well designed promotional materials. A sign produced on 8″ x 11″ paper, consisting of all-caps, bold text filling the entire page, is easily dismissed or overlooked, lacks professionalism, and is counter to any brand-recognition marketing program established by most libraries. Some well-financed universities and colleges provide in-house creative and marketing services where the library can coordinate production of infographics and other signage but for those without such services, fostering graphic design and transliteracy competencies among librarians can be challenging. I am fortunate to have a background in graphic arts, design, and marketing and a continued interest to present information creatively, appropriately, and aligned with established institutional policy, and I am happy to bring that expertise to my workplace.
Social media and Web 2.0 tools are converging and how academic librarians are responding is startlingly varied. That variance is largely due to resources available and existing levels of the necessary skills and competencies to produce good quality materials. Designing and creating infographics requires those librarians involved to develop transliteracy competencies. What is your library doing to present data, events, and materials as social media converges? Does your library have a team with a cross-section of capabilities and skills to create materials in innovative formats? Is promotion using Web 2.0 embedded in a strategic plan? If not, perhaps it is time to consider how to integrate infographics into current outreach, marketing, and promotion initiatives.
Take a look for yourself and simply search the Internet with your favourite browser for infograhics AND information literacy AND education . . . or a search string of your choice.