Last week, I paid a visit to the Natural Resources Canada library at the Booth Street office in Ottawa. Librarian Emily Gusba gave me a quick tour and then sat down to tell me how the library is using Web 2.0. NRCan has a departmental wiki, which allows employees to share their work and see what their colleagues at other NRCan offices are doing. The library has its own wiki as well, which includes the reference desk schedule and a form for people to sign up for workshops at the library. The librarians at NRCan are hoping to post contact information for other government libraries to the wiki in the near future. This is very handy since sometimes librarians must contact colleagues at other libraries for help answering a reference quesiton, or they may want to refer a patron to another library. Having this contact information in one place makes it easy to locate, which is especially important for patrons in a rush. Committees can post minutes of their meetings to the wiki, and it is also a good way for librarians at the differenct NRCan locations to keep in touch, since they may not see each other often.
In addition to the wiki, the library also has a Twitter feed. There is one feed for news about the department and one for the library. The librarians offer workshops for employees who want to learn how to use Twitter. This is a great way of promoting the library’s Twitter feed and is useful for people who want to start using Web 2.0 but need a bit of guidance.
The department also has several blogs. The library has one internal blog to keep everyone up to date, and there is also a blog for the emloyees that features new books. Employees can subscribe to this blog through RSS feeds. This is a good way to promote the library’s collection and get the word out about upcoming training workshops.
NRCan also has an “NRTube” video channel, as well as editing software. This allows people to shoot their own videos and edit them at the library. Finally, the library is working to make its catalogue mobile-friendly and is looking into using QR codes in the future.
Overall, I was impressed with what NRCan is doing. They are fortunate to have a workplace culture that encourages innovation and experimentation. I spend a lot of time reading about how public libraries can use Web 2.0, but it’s nice to see that government libraries are beginning to experiment with it as well.