Networks – running
ONCE THE NETWORK is set up, the operational aspects need to be considered. A structure should be established and adhered to from the outset and roles may need to be allocated to the network leads. It is important to ensure that ongoing tasks are shared and monitored to ensure that they are completed. Individuals also have a responsibility to be realistic about what they can and cannot do, which will ensure that relationships between team members are maintained. Communication is also integral to an effective network, both internally with the network leads and externally with the network members. There are many communication channels which can be used to promote the network, such as e-mail lists, existing contacts, library schools, special-interest groups, social media and face-to-face meetings.
Tools and platforms
There are many free tools available to facilitate the running of a network, including social media, self-service ticketing platforms, e-mail and wikis. Social media is a good way to promote networks and to keep participants/members aware of any developments. Many networks within the library sector use social media to provide a current awareness service, alerting their members to useful resources, training events and developments in the profession. However, there are positives and negatives to all platforms, so encourage experimentation to decide what works best for those involved.
There are many different platforms for different purposes, such as Vine, which is a creative way of sharing videos, Twitter for providing useful information and updates and LinkedIn to formally promote events. Any tool should be fit for the intended purpose and be evaluated to ensure it continues to be valid. A social media page or profile with no content gives the impression that the network is no longer running and will therefore lose out on potential members.
A self-service ticket platform is a really useful tool for managing sales for events where there are costs to the individual. For free events Eventbrite provides a free service which enables personalization of event pages to include pictures, maps and a structure for the day. It has a facility to manage bookings, create waiting lists or cancel tickets if necessary. Eventbrite also provides a service to send reminders to attendees and create a list of attendees, which can be used as the registration form on the day.