When Richard Liddicoat had signed up for a presentation at the South Island Children’s and Young Adult’s Librarians’ Conference at the beginning of March, he didn’t think he would be shaken up by a second earthquake in his hometown Christchurch that surpassed the September 4, 2010, one. February 22, 2011, will be in every New Zealander’s memory as the biggest catastrophe in a very long time.

Though Richard, his family and colleagues experienced a huge tragedy, their lives go on and thus, he had decided to give his presentation about how a library can use the internet to bring in library users just over a week later in Blenheim. But before he launched into his presentation, he also mentioned how the earthquake has changed the City Council’s and the library’s web presence. As they host their web sites in Christchurch, they were disconnected and needed to get information to their citizens through other channels. Twitter and Facebook accounts were quickly established to keep the flow of vital information going. Furthermore, they used their blog Christchurch City Libraries Bibliofile that is hosted on wordpress.com to convey where people can find information.

The rest of Richard’s presentation was also very interesting because he made a point in case of using the internet to attract patrons and non-patrons to their library and to engage them, especially kids, so that they become interested in reading and actually stepping a foot into the library. He demonstrated how important a web presence is but also at the same time how much effort goes into the well-run and up-to-date internet site of the ChCh City Libraries of which he is the head of the editing team. For example, they plan their content three months in advance, have writing style guidelines and training available.

As not every public library can afford a team just for their internet site, he also gave tips of what every library could do with little money.

You can view Richard’s presentation on the Bibliofile web site.

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