Thursday, 11 June 2009

More Sheffield Floods!

I was at the Library Show yesterday with a SINTO coachload of librarians. The LIS could be called the "Not as good as last year show" which is what people always seem to say but it does still perform a useful role. Perhaps the idea of running it every other year might work.

I attended Phil Bradley's presentation about twitter . Phil gave a basic introduction to using Twitter and then looked at how it could be used by librarians for professional development and as a source of information. As Phil said - the first reaction to Twitter is "What is the point?" but as you get into it you find it is a useful tool and should not be ignored.

I will post some more about the show later but at one point I was at the Harwell Support Services stand, who specialise in restoration of collections after fire and flood damage, suggesting that SINTO might run an event on disaster planning.

On the trip back we ran into very heavy rainfall but I don't think anyone realised how bad it was. I got off the coach at Meadowhead (and was then stranded there for a couple of hours) so I don't know how everyone else managed. There was severe local flooding causing traffic disruption and I imagine many people found it difficult to get home. Sheffield Central Library suffered flooding and is closed until further notice.

Although it was not of direct help to us at the time (no-one having mobile internet access), Twitter was to be a useful source of information on developments. As Phil had pointed out earlier, Twitter is good for breaking news. A local blogger @sheffieldblog provided regular tweets on developments and the Sheffield City Council's Press Office @SCCPressOffice also provided valuable information including first news of the Central Library closure. The University of Sheffield used Twitter for news of the closure of the Information Commons.

I have always thought that public libraries should have a more active role in such situations. They could act as a valuable source of information to their local communities by seeking out information from websites, blogs and Twitter and passing it on. They are the link between the information rich and the information poor.

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