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Hello World! Welcome to Social Media

Hello World! Welcome to Social Media

For many years, there were limited ways in which librarians could reach out to the community. Posting flyers on community boards, taking out an advertisement in the newspaper, or sending out the occasional newsletter was about as social as most libraries could get. My, how times have changed. With the invention of social networking software it’s possible to connect with people 24 hours a day anywhere that has an internet connection. There are so many ways to interact online with the community it can seem almost overwhelming to find a place to start. It also raises the question of why libraries would even want to use social media to connect with patrons.

That’s where this blog comes in. The reason I created this blog is to help library staff members learn the different ways social media can help them reach out to their communities. When I say social media, basically I mean software that allows people to interact with one another instantly over the internet, whether through blogs, video, or social networking sites. It’s important that libraries utilize the many options that are available to them to inform, educate, and, most importantly, engage their viewers.

Social media “can foster deeper conversations with users…, enriching the library’s value in their lives, generating lively book talk, and connecting users to one another”, according to an article on the website LibraryJournal.com. Librarians have the ability to reach their community online in many ways and show them all of the resources that are available, both inside the library and online. They can also show the world that they have a silly, fun side. As the LibraryJournal.com article states, “connecting is about being real.”

Through social media, we have the power to create a brand and reach out to a vast population; it’s time we take advantage of that power and create something that can be used to build a relationship between library staff and its users, which will allow libraries to bring in new patrons and renew interest from established customers.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Introduction to the World of Blogging

An Introduction to the World of Blogging

One way to interact with your audience is through the use of blogs. A blog is like an online journal; it’s usually run by one person and is frequently updated. They’re extremely easy to use and don’t require any type of installation. I created this blog for free using a site called WordPress.com. It comes with an online tutorial, as well as online forums where you can discuss any issues you may have with other bloggers. There are many other types of blog publishing software available, both that have a cost as well as that are free; you just have to find the one that works for you. Here’s a list of a few popular blogs to help get you started:

What Can You Do With a Blog?

There are many different ways blogs can be used by a library. Blogs can cater to a specific audience or to a wide variety of people. You should evaluate what is of interest in your community and think about who you’re trying to cater to, then go from there. Here’s a list of different library blogs from the website Accelerated Degree that include a variety of ways to use one. A few ideas I found include:

  • vampire news (books, movies, etc.)
  • sharing library stories/experiences
  • current events
  • favorite films

One way that I enjoy using a blog is for online book clubs. They’re simple to do: pick the book you’d like to discuss, write a short summary on it and include a picture of the cover (along with a link to your online card catalog so people know where to find it in your library), then open up the floor for discussion! Try to pick books that are relevant to current events or pop culture to keep readers interested. Also, don’t forget to participate in the conversation yourself.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Twitter, Facebook, and Beyond!

Twitter, Facebook, and Beyond!

Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular social networking sites out there; they can be used separately or together to reach out to a vast population. Many businesses use both sites to connect with their customers; the same can be done by libraries to connect with patrons.

Tweet Your Heart Out

Twitter posts can only be 140 characters long; once you get the hang of it, though, a lot can be said in 140 characters. Following other Twitter users, whether patrons, other libraries, local businesses or news stations, keeps you informed of what’s going on around you so you can retweet to the community.

Here is a list of some of the most popular library Twitter pages, according to the website techsoupforlibraries.org. I also posted a widget on the side of this blog to one of my favorite Twitter feeds, Nat History Whale, the whale that’s hanging inside the Natural History Museum in New York City. I really love this page because it’s written from the perspective of the whale and is funny and creative.

The Power of Facebook

Most people know about Facebook; it currently has more than 845 million users, at least according to Wikipedia. It’s used by businesses, charities, non-profit organizations, for social interaction, networking purposes…Facebook does it all, and it’s time your library got in on the action!

You can post contests, videos, book readings, current events, favorite quotes and more on Facebook. You can ask a question of the day, or ask what people are dying to read or are currently reading; broadcast a live event or show footage of a past event that’s coming up again soon. You can link to your Twitter account, your online card catalog, your YouTube account, and your website from Facebook. It really does do it all and can be a great tool for promoting your library and engaging your users if done correctly. The widget I posted features the Kansas City Public Library, which does a great job of getting involvement from its users.

Again, you must remember to stay active and keep posting and responding to other people’s comments. Be witty and real, because that’s what going to get your users to stay interested in your page.

The Hidden Powers of Goodreads and Pinterest

Goodreads and Pinterest are two websites that aren’t as well known as those mentioned above, but they definitely deserve a spot on this blog because of the ways they can help spark interest from patrons and draw new members in.

Goodreads is, honestly, a book lover’s dream. This website was made for sharing, comparing, and reviewing books, whether from friends or strangers. You can create a page for your library and provide different bookshelves for people to browse through. The bookshelf possibilities are endless; you can have shelves for new books available in the library, genres such as mysteries, shelves created by different staff members, popular children’s books, graphic novels…the list is endless! You can write reviews on the books on your shelf and patrons can share books of their own once they become your friend on the site. I’ve included a widget of my personal Goodreads page as an example of how it can look on your site, whether a Facebook page or any other website you may have.

Pinterest is basically an online bulletin board that can be used to share various interests with people all over the world, from home decorating ideas to weddings to favorite dessert recipes. Libraries can use Pinterest to share their interests with patrons, as well as other libraries. Once a board is created people can comment on different pictures that are posted and can even edit your board if you choose to allow it. This site can be linked to both a Facebook and Twitter account, or can be used on its own. The blog youngupstarts.com posted a list of 20 ways libraries can use Pinterest, both for promotion and to encourage interaction from users. Check out the post, available here, for great ideas on how to connect with your users.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized