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About Five Weeks to a Social Library

Five Weeks to a Social Library is the first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries. It was developed to provide a free, comprehensive, and social online learning opportunity for librarians who do not otherwise have access to conferences or continuing education and who would benefit greatly from learning about social software. The course will be taught using a variety of social software tools so that the participants acquire experience using the tools while they are taking part in the class. It will make use of synchronous online communication, with one or two weekly Webcasts and many small group IM chat sessions made available to participants each week. By the end of the course, each student will develop a proposal for implementing a specific social software tool in their library. Five Weeks to a Social Library will take place between February 12 and March 17, 2007 and is limited to 40 participants (these participants have already been chosen). However, course content will be freely viewable by interested parties and all live Webcasts will be archived for later viewing. The course will cover the following topics:

  • Blogs
  • RSS
  • Wikis
  • Social Networking Software and SecondLife
  • Flickr
  • Social Bookmarking Software
  • Selling Social Software @ Your Library

The content of this course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike license.

For a listing of the social software experts who will be presenting during the course, please visit the Program. You can also access content for each week of the course from the menu on the left side of the page. For more about the organizers of the course, please visit the About Us page. The list of individuals participating in the course is available on the Participant Blogs page. To receive all blog content coming from the course, you can subscribe to the following RSS feed To receive only blog posts from the organizers of the course, you can subscribe to this RSS feed We hope you all will take something useful from this course!


Sorry, this is rather a content-free heading, but I wanted to say that this sounds a really interesting initiative. Is it something that you would see growing e.g. if, once the course in March was over, I, my colleagues or students created a podcast, presentation or whatever that was relevant to one of the themes, would you consider adding them?

Sheila Webber, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, UK.

re: Awesome

Perhaps... I think we're just seeing where things go with all this... Our hope is that other people will replicate this program in the future since we will be creating an easy-to-follow online roadmap.

replicate, yes...

I'm helping to develop a resource toolkit for librarians in developing countries learning to work with computers and the Internet. I will certainly follow your course as it develops and look for ways to help replication in this context.

Who are We?

Five weeks for social libary is great hot topic. Could you describe your qualifications and institution? Seeking to apply continuing professional education credits with this course.

About Us page

You can read about us here on the About Us page. Let me know if you have any other specific questions. We are not associated with any CE credit-giving organization, so whether you get credit or not is dependent on your institution.

CE Credits

I have a question about the course that will help me determine how many CE Credit I could grant to librarians who work for my institution. Is there anywhere on the site that describes the length of the podcasts, webcasts, or other actual "contact time"?

Thanks. It looks like a great opportunity.

CE Credits

There are certain components that are required and others that are optional, so how many hours the librarian devotes to the course depends on their own initiative. Each week, we will be offering two 1-hour Webcasts (though only one is technically required each week -- we'd recommend that most participants attend both) except for the fifth week where there will not be any webcasts and the third week where there will only be one. And each week students will take part in a one-hour small group chat with a facilitator, which will also be required. We will also have time each week when presenters of our asynchronous components (podcasts and screencasts) will make themselves available via AOL Instant Messenger (for 30 minutes to an hour) to discuss their presentations. You can see the list of Webcasts (synchronous), screencasts and podcasts (asynchronous) here I can’t say how long each podcast and screencast will be because our presenters have not yet turned them in (they’re due to us on January 12th), but they will probably range widely in length.  So if participants attended every Webcast and went to their group chat each week, they would have 12 hours of synchronous class time right there. But they will likely spend a great deal more time on readings, watching/listening to screencasts and podcasts, playing with the social software tools, chatting with presenters throughout the week, blogging and commenting on other participants’ blogs, etc. They won’t get a lot out of the class if they did the minimum. But like I said, the rest of it really depends on the initiative of the individual. At the very minimum, they will be doing 9 hours of synchronous participation + at least one blog post a week + a final project where they will create a proposal for implementing a social tool at their library. If one gets really into the tools, they could conceivably spend five to ten hours each week exploring these tools and how they could be used in their library.  I hope that helps. It’s hard to come up with a number when so much of it depends on the individual. I’d bet we’ll have some enthusiastic people who spend more than 10 hours per week on this.