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Special Features

Regular features and commentaries on topical issues in LIS

What's new in information management? Read on for the latest event and book reviews, conference information and more!

Special Features are available to "Emerald for Librarians" members and subscribers.

David Lee King: Introduction to social listening tools

Have you ever listened in on someone else's conversation, and learned something that was useful to you? Today's social web provides those types of opportunities. Social listening can help improve your library's services to your customers.

David Lee King: Social Media time-savers for the small library

In a smaller library, there's not always a lot of library staff to go around. You end up wearing lots of hats, and sometimes you do "all the things." In that type of setting, how do you adequately post updates to a website or to social media channels? Here are some tips to get you started.

David Lee King: What has your Smartphone Replaced?

If you're like me, you use your smartphone and your tablet a lot. A LOT. In thinking about my smartphone and tablet use, those two devices have replaced (or could replace) a lot of what I used to do on other devices.

David Lee King: Thinking about privacy

We've been thinking about privacy at my library. One of my projects for 2017 is to do a privacy review. What's that, you ask? A privacy review is just what it sounds like. My technology team will examine all the library's products that potentially gather information about customers. We will find out what data and information is collected, and if it gets deleted (and when).

David Lee King:The complete library lives online

Your library's website is probably one of the most important parts of today's library. I might be a bit biased - I have worked with library websites for over 20 years. But still - today's library website, if done well, tells the "whole story" of your library. What do I mean by that? If you think about it, your library's website is the only place where your customers can access the "complete library." Here are some examples of the complete library being online.

David Lee King: Digital inclusion at the library

Digital inclusion was a hot topic in the library world in 2016. Are you familiar with the phrase? Digital Inclusion is simply helping people of all walks of life access the internet and use technology. For starters, anyway.

David Lee King: Work/Life balance, finding time, and priorities

I hate to break it to you - having a work/life balance is a bit of a myth. It might have worked 80 years ago when the only real connection you had to work after the work day was done was through your home telephone. But no more. In today's world, you have easy access to smartphones, tablets, laptops, emails, text messages, and social media accounts that pretty much assure you are always connected.

David Lee King: Active and passive technology

Next time you do some planning for your next big library building project, or when it's time to update your strategic plan, here's a different way to think about technology needs for customers who visit the library. Think in terms of providing both active and passive technology for your customers. Active and passive technology? What's the difference?

David Lee King: Explainer Videos

I recently read 5 Most Important Trends in Online Video for 2016 over at In the article, their fifth trend for online video is 'Explainers.' First, they talk about the limited lifespan of an entertainment-based marketing video. Then, they say this: 'An explainer video, on the other hand, is designed around being useful for the audience....'

David Lee King: Keep Your Inbox Empty

So how's your email inbox looking lately? Is it tidy and small? Have you achieved Inbox Zero? Or are you like most of us - your email inbox is overflowing with lots of emails that you probably don't really need, and you can't find that one email that you really do need to do your job right now?

David Lee King: Four steps to a better meeting

Meetings - I've heard more than one person say meetings are a huge waste of time. They hate them. They aren't productive. A meeting gets in the way of their "real work." If that's the case you're doing meetings wrong. And that's sad, because a productive meeting is pretty easy to do, and it can help move your organization forward.

David Lee King: Pick a conference and learn something new

As librarians, we are information professionals and need to keep learning. Where are some great places to learn and network? Library-related conferences. If large conferences aren't your thing, there are smaller, more focused library-related conferences to choose from, like Computers in Libraries in the United States or Internet Librarian International in the UK.

David Lee King: Five Tips for Better Smartphone Photos

Picture this - you're at the reference desk, helping a customer, and something unusual happens. You want to take a photo of it and share that moment with your library's Facebook or Instagram friends.

David Lee King: Mobile ready websites

I'd guess that you have quite a few library patrons using your library's website through their favorite mobile device - either a smartphone or a tablet. I know my library's website does.

David Lee King: Social media checkup

It's Spring, and - as such - time for some much-needed social media Spring cleaning. Set aside some time this Spring to do a quick check-up on your social media channels, and see if anything needs tweaking!

David Lee King: App advisory at the library

I'd guess that a large percentage of your library patrons own and use smartphones. I'll also guess that your library probably has a handful of smartphone apps for different library services and databases.

David Lee King: Six Slick Improvements for 2016

Whew - you made it through the holidays and vacations, and now it's a new year. Time to look at your technology plans, and see what needs to be improved. Here are six improvements you can make, or at least start, in 2016.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead with Jaeger, Bertot and Hines

As we approach the end of 2015, we asked our Library book series editors Paul T. Jaeger, John Carlo Bertot and Samantha Hines to summarise the biggest changes in Librarianship this year and what they predict to be the main changes during 2016.

David Lee King: Six tips for better videos

Online video is huge, and it's not slowing down. Currently, adults spend an average of five hours a day watching video. Over an hour of that time is spent watching video on digital devices. In fact, current trends show that online video watching is steadily growing, while more traditional TV video viewing is slowly shrinking. What does this mean for libraries?

David Lee King: Easy as a light switch

Online work can be difficult. Writing code, editing images, and creating text that works well for your library and makes sense to your customers is no easy task! Functionality needs to make sense from an organizational perspective as well as to your library's customers. At the same time, the content needs to be clear and focused on the customer. David Lee King gives advice on improving your library's website.

David Lee King: Eight easy ways to humanize your digital branch

At my library, we like to say "It's not about the stuff, it's about the people." Sure, we have a lot of cool books, videos and services, but our staff are awesome and they help make the library what it is. They help give the library a human face. How do you present that "human face" of the library online? David Lee King presents eight ways to humanize your digital branch.

David Lee King: Be visual online

The first Web browser I used was Lynx, which was a text-only browser. And that was ok, because way back then, the Web was pretty much text-based, too. My, how the times have changed. Today's Web is full of colours, movement, images, and videos. Today's Web is visual. Social media has helped make the visual Web what it is today, and visual is definitely here to stay. How can you make your website more visual than it is now? Here are some tips on adding visual elements to your website.

David Lee King: Three simple steps to make your ebooks rock

At the recent American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco, ebooks were everywhere. They were talked about in sessions, they were well-represented in the exhibit hall. And most likely, they were also well-represented on a bunch of mobile devices owned by the attendees. I'll bet that, at this point, your library has ebooks and your customers are reading them. I'll also bet that you have many customers who don't know you have ebooks, or don't immediately think about your ebook collection when they're ready to read.

David Lee King: Your digital branch has unique content

Most of us know our library websites are important. But did you know that your library's website is also unique? In fact, it's the only place to access some of your library's most important content. David Lee King is the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, where he plans, implements, and experiments with emerging technology trends. Here, he tells us what you can find on your library's website, or digital branch.

For Librarians, by Librarians - Emerald shares Award Winning Advice

For over ten years Emerald has supported professionals and researchers in librarianship through the American Library Association (ALA) awards, as part of the company's long-standing commitment to the library community. Read our interviews with the 2015 winners here, including their top tips for Librarians.

Five tips for better faculty-librarian communication and collaboration

According to Bruce Rosenstein, effective communication and collaboration between librarians and faculty sounds great in theory, but in practice it's not always so easy. Fortunately, some recent articles give great guidance on how to get the most out of this relationship, and boost student success in the bargain.

Academic libraries in the age of the consumer

STUDENT expectations of libraries have changed dramatically during the last two decades. It is perhaps the most significant issue that the modern academic librarian has to bear in mind. On the 21st century campus, students learn in different ways and use the library differently. What might once have been a solitary activity involving pen, paper, and book and periodical is now altogether more collaborative as students work in groups both formally and informally and embrace the technology.

Emerging roles and possible futures for librarians and information professionals

What professional roles do you play as a librarian/information professional? How have they changed during your career? And perhaps most important, how do you see them changing and evolving in the future? You can put this article into action by comparing your current role with the six outlined here. If any look promising, commit to learning more and reaching out to your professional networks.

Book review: Supporting Research Students

This book aims to give professionals involved in supporting and teaching PhD students an insight into the problems they face, so that they can better serve their information needs. Niels Ole Pors, Professor, Royal School of Library and Information Science, gives us his review.

The Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative: education, advocacy and inspiration for libraries

Enormous technological advances are pushing the boundaries of the information landscape and providing information seekers with new ways to find and access information. This paper explains how the activities of the Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative contribute to improving the delivery of library information services. Examples of innovative strategies, programmes and activities designed to advocate for, inspire, and enable successful resource sharing are provided.

Dealing with difficult colleagues when you're the

This paper discusses strategies for a new library employee seeking to deal with difficult people at work, when the difficult people are his/her own colleagues. It provides a description of several types of situations that may arise, and general strategies for dealing with them.

Book Review: University Libraries and Digital Learning Environments

At a time when both university libraries and digital learning environments are fast evolving, this book offers an expert overview of the various factors, components, and processes involved within these technology-assisted learning and teaching environments.

An introduction to Google Plus

Google+ is a new service that is already being looked at and used by librarians. This paper provides brief descriptions of the elements of Google+, as well as helpful tips on how to find other librarians, to gain the most potential out of this service.

Student attitudes towards mobile library services for smartphones

This paper aims to provide quantitative and qualitative data on students' use of mobile devices and to consider the benefit of academic mobile library services to students