Last week, the library where I work decided I needed a special staff account for our new online public access catalog. I was rather surprised because there will be a limited number of staff accounts and I am a very part-time employee. The reason given was that I have been creating a lot of content on my personal account that the “powers that be” believe is appropriate for the library itself to promote.
I admit that I have come to self-identify as a writer, in that I like to write and think that I’m reasonably good at it. But I hadn’t thought of myself in the broader role of Content Creator and what that means in terms of being a librarian. What does it mean to be a Content Creator? How is it different than being a writer? And what does any of that have to do with living in a Digital Age?
On reflection, while writing definitely is a major component in content creation, I think Content Creator is a broader and richer role that is inextricably tied to the Digital World. Librarians often talk about information overload and how the Internet has given us all access to so much data that we are overwhelmed. The flip side of that is that the Internet provides unprecedented opportunities for creating and sharing ideas. Some obvious results are the rise of self-publishing and the explosion in the number of blogs. But I think the role of being a Content Creator goes beyond the occasional blog entry. (And yes, I know I’ve been extremely occasional on this blog.) It involves seeing a bigger, more interactive picture.
What do I mean? Perhaps the best way to explain is to share what I’ve been doing that I think goes beyond writing to content creation. The obvious things, the writing, are the blog posts and book reviews. But I’ve also been interacting on social media, posting on Facebook for the Virginia Library Association’s Youth Services Forum. I rate and comment on books on Librarything. I’ve written for different purposes – reviews on my blog and on the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Shelf Life blog, a reflection for YALSA’s The Hub as a guest blogger, even a Tech Answers posting on the library website. But what makes these things content creation? I think it is that these endeavors all work together as part of a bigger picture. I am helping to build an online, digital community around books. Everything I contribute helps make that a richer environment.
So I will carry that bigger picture with me to my new staff role on Bibliocommons. I will rate books, comment on them, review them, add video content, and create lists of both books and websites. I will pull together resources, information and existing content in a way that combines with my writing to create a richer environment for library users. And those users will have the opportunity to send me messages and interact to build even more content in ways that are not possible on our current website with our old catalog. You know, I think I’m going to like this role. If you happen to be on a library catalog powered by Bibliocommons and see something from CRRL_AngelaCritics, that’s me, creating more content.