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Proactive Marketing for the New and Experienced Library Director by Anthony J. Fonseca, Melissa U.D. Goldsmith

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46
Proactive Marketing for New and Experienced Library Directors
to libraries using social networking, “not because of the novelty or
popularity of the latest technology, but to better reach students with their
technologies of choice”.
The advantages
The numerous advantages to an academic library’s going virtual as a
method of promotion make it almost essential that directors give the
possibility serious attention. Collaboration with other campus entities,
engagement with students, and the possibilities of using the virtual
reality to draw stakeholders into the physical library are reason enough.
When we consider also the teaching moments that will occur when
student workers who invariably will know the technologies better than
personnel train library faculty and staff, or the constant professional
development opportunities for librarians as they become more virtually
adept, the possibilities look even more promising. Buckland and Godfrey
(2010: 18) add to the list of advantages, noting that students were able
to become more comfortable with librarians as they interacted more with
them virtually:
Avatars can increase the feeling of “presence” in a virtual
environment, which increases engagement and likeability of the
virtual actor. Avatars ultimately encourage behavior that is similar
to that which is witnessed in real life. By using avatars (both of the
librarian and the user) and shifting the chat reference interaction to
a multi-user virtual environment... where the participants and the
information are graphically represented, we may be able to address
some of the challenges of traditional reference services and increase
the feeling of being part of the library – albeit a virtual one.
Our avatars, ourselves
Although it may seem like an inconsequential detail, one of the more
important concerns that a library director should address is the use of
avatars for his/her librarians. At our current institution, Elms College,
we have a very active computer design program that typically offers to
work on projects during the summer for various departments. Recently,
it designed avatars for all the members of our reference team. We did

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