Sunday, January 31, 2021

online reading groups and neighbours - combining a few ideas for #GlamBlogClub

 It was only recently that I realised it was ten years since #ReadIt2011 and it was because I was wearing a t-shirt with this hashtag on it.  #ReadIt2011 was the start of of a collaborative twitter reading group which lasted until the end of 2018.

#ReadIt2011 was a theme based reading group so you read around a theme and not just one title (this was to help libraries be able to participate with the collections they had rather than purchasing lots of one title). You can see the (dated) blog here.  It even had a couple of t-shirts (thanks to @CatyJ).  This twitter reading group was about public libraries in NSW working together (hence the neighbour aspect). The themes were decided on by a group (including me).  What this meant was that it could be collectively promoted, and each library did not have to do a lot.  Some libraries tweeted the themes and the times of the online discussions, other libraries participated in these discussions - this continued through the various versions of the group.  It was my year of making tea cosies to tie with the themes (as I was trying to make the point that the themes can be used in a variety of ways.

whodoneit tea cosy
The #CrimeRead tea cosy for #ReadIt2011 (it has been given away)

2012 was the national year of reading, and the team which had done #ReadIt2011 offered to run a twitter reading group for this nationally (so there was yet another hashtag change). There were some active participants from other states as well.  #Love2Read twitter discussion used the themes suggested in the logo.  After 2012 people were still keen, but had learned more about hashtags (although not about #NotAllLowerCase) so that read became part of each hashtag, and the reading group was called Read Watch Play, using #RWPChat so that a wider group of library activities were included. It meant that people could read different themes each month or work out how to bring their favourite reading, watching or playing to every theme (and ambiguity was encouraged so that #ReelRead included film, sewing and fishing).  The planning included suggestions on a wiki so that many people could contribute ideas, with the themes decided at a meeting (based on who was there).

There is a lot I could say about this, but to tie it to neighbours I will focus on one aspect. At this time it became an international twitter reading group. There were some fairly quiet partners, but Nelson Public Libraries in New Zealand, Public Libraries Singapore and Surrey Libraries in England were all active partners, suggesting themes, writing blog posts and participating in the twitter discussions.  This highlights that neighbours can be a bit further away, through the use of online connections, and you can see a bit more about it here and here. There is a data-visualisation of the tweets (it takes a while to load).The international partners also highlight that neighbours can be anywhere. On the neighbours aspect it can matter who is digitally near us but online connections internationally are valuable.  

It also matters who is geographically near us as Yarra Libraries shows, and as can be seen here in research from my work place.


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