Summing up Social Media Usage for Libraries:
This is a quick screencast about the Oakland Public Library and the way it is using Pinterest as a means to interact with patrons.
Library engagement through Pinterest is a popular activity. The following are a few active library Pinterest accounts spanning different kinds of institutions (public, school, digital, archives etc.).
Since joining in April 2009, University of Texas Libraries has published 5,658 tweets and garnered a following of 1,903 twitter users. Cal State Northridge Oviatt Library has earned 2,556 likes on Facebook and uploaded 39 YouTube videos. Eighteen hours ago The University of Kansas Libraries posted a link to a throwback Thursday blog post featuring the Easter Bunny from the 1953 relay parade.
In 2013, LibraryScienceList.com evaluated 422 college and university library social media accounts and published an article of the 100 Most Social Media Friendly College & University Libraries. UT, Cal State Northridge, and the University of Kansas ranked first, second, and third respectively. In the grand scheme of the twitter-verse where a Kardashian selfie is worth 651K+ likes these numbers are a microscopic blip amidst the 500 million tweets sent out daily.
Burclaff and Johnson (2014) suggest that in order for a library to gain success upon adopting social media the library must remain dedicated to representing both its culture and value under a unified voice.
“To personify your library’s brand, consider what your library, if it was a person, would look like, talk about, wear, etc. This exercise may help you articulate your library’s culture, values, and purpose in a way that can be translated on social media.” (p. 368)
Kardashian and her ilk (and their well-compensated publicists) are experts at crafting luxury one Mercedes G-class Instagram at a time (MSRP @ $115,000+ – or a two-year salary for a full time librarian). Although libraries are pushing paperbacks instead of Prada, what additional steps can libraries take to ensure social media success while simultaneously establishing brand identity?
According to Potter’s Ten Golden Rules it is important to tweet multimedia (pictures, videos, slideshows), use hashtags— but don’t go overboard, and broadcast your twitter handle everywhere. These are only three of the ten suggestions, the rest of which can be read here. Shulman (2015) notes that it is important to analyze followers in order to tailor tweets — “an analysis of an account’s followers can provide valuable insight into the accounts that receive library information.” (p.179)
Further, Gunton and Davis (2012) suggest using twitter beyond the usual marketing tactics. Considering librarianship is a service oriented profession they propose that the spirit of customer service should extend beyond the reference desk. Would you ever consider tweeting a reference question to your library’s twitter account?
At the present moment Wayne State Library (@waynestatelib) has 662 twitter followers and 688 total tweets — nearly one tweet per follower! Sadly they did not make the Top 100 list mentioned earlier but nevertheless WSU can tweak their twitter to make the 2015 cut. What have been your experiences with libraries on twitter and other social media? Are you following WSU or your local public library?
tumblr is a microblogging platform where bloggers post text, links, quotes, audio clips, videos, and images to a community of followers and outside readers. These posts can be commented on, “liked,” or “reblogged” by other tumblr users. In terms of blog size and scope, think of tumblr as falling somewhere between Twitter and traditional blogs like Blogspot or WordPress. tumblr users create their own blog in order to follow and be followed by other bloggers. Then, similar to Twitter, posts made by other users you follow will show up on a constantly updated “dashboard.”
Many businesses, organizations, and companies use tumblr to promote themselves. Included in those are publishers, libraries, authors, librarians, and readers in general. tumblr is a great platform to use to reach multiple audiences because of its simplicity. tumblr is not as formal as a traditional blog like WordPress or Blogspot, and many members of the younger generations tend to use tumblr as a place to like, reblog, and write their own personal thoughts and beliefs. It is easy for librarians to reach these users on tumblr, as it doesn’t take much effort from the follower to click “follow blog” — leading them to obtain the library’s posts right in their dashboard.
Libraries have begun utilizing tumblr in many different ways. tumblr posts and blogs are best discovered by tagged content. There is no search within tumblr for specific blogs or bloggers. Rather, users search by tagged topics of interest, just as users follow hashtags on Twitter. There is a tag on tumblr that many librarians have begun to use. The tag is “tumblarians” and it brings up all posts that have been posted by libraries using the “tumblarian” tag. You can also find library related posts by searching things such as “librarians” “public libraries” “libraries” and more.
One library that seems to have a good tumblr following and seems to be posting regularly is the Darien Public Library in Darien, Connecticut. The library posts funny quips such as a reblog of a Parks and Recreation gif with the caption ” ‘GPOY’ Me after every patron checks something out today“. Another post is their regular “You Are What You Read” post which features recommendations from Darien Library staff members. The library tumblr also features things that their patrons have done, funny things that happen in the library, and reblogs from other libraries. While this tumblr blog seems to be quite informal and focuses mainly on their Children’s library section, it seems to have a great following and posts frequently and regularly.
The following are a few libraries that utilize tumblr effectively:
This is a great informational video about social media and librarians. It covers many different questions on the topic of social media and libraries, answered by librarians who implement these features in their daily work lives.
Blogging is an incredibly effective tool for libraries to engage with their community. As more and more people have access to mobile internet connections, having a library blog is a way to put information out to your public. As Isaac Gilman writes “Blogs’ true utility to libraries and librarians is found in the union of current content and communication—in the dialogue generated between fellow professionals and staffers, and the interaction fostered between library staff and patrons” (Gilman, 14). Originally called weblogs, these versatile websites are a part of the Web 2.0 technology that many libraries and library professionals are utilizing to disseminate information. One can be updating a library’s own blog, passing on information about various programs and materials available, or be creating one as a personal guide to help navigate through the profession.
Both Anne Weaver and Greg Schwartz, in their respective articles, give some great reasons for why you should blog.
- Blogs allow you to publish information quickly and efficiently.
- They allow for some more in-depth discussion of topics with your audience.
- By allowing quick updating abilities, blogs help you stay current
- Having a professional blog is a way to help set up a portfolio.
- Will help develop tech and communication skills.
- By using RSS feeds, one can follow many blogs at a time.
- Unlike LISTSERVs, blogs are open to the public, allowing you to connect to a wider audience.
With a blog, one can build a deeper connection with your community and audience by posting about current events, programming, materials in your collection, updates about your library. As a marketing tool, a blog can allow for links to existing social media such as a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and the library website. By using the blog format, you can offer your audience the chance to engage in discussion about topics, book reviews, staff recommendations, and whatever else may be posted. Gilman also states that “by utilizing a platform that is only increasing in popularity and visibility, library staff can share ideas with each other, collaborate on innovative new services, and further convince patrons of what we already know—libraries (and librarians) are relevant, current, accurate and authoritative” (Gilman, 27).
Here are some of a few blog examples from libraries to show you the range of possibilities that a blog can offer.
- The New York Public Library: Includes 41 different blogs. These are highlighting various collections that they offer. In their words “Our aim is to develop the blog into the latest in a long tradition of librarian-generated genres designed to publish staff expertise and help users navigate the library’s breathtaking array of collections and services” (nypl.org).
- The Chicago Public Library: Offering one blog, many of the posts relate to their collection. Whether it’s about a current event (like the upcoming airing of Game of Thrones), or various months, such as Autism Awareness or Women’s History, the Chicago Library includes materials they offer.
- The Boston Public Library: Their blog is about building renovations. This gives them a change to discuss their rationale behind the changes and show updates.
- The Detroit Public Library: They run two blogs on their website. One is about the programming that the teen H.Y.P.E Centre offers. This ranges from crafting to maker-faire to anime viewings. The other blog is a collection of papers from Coleman Young’s time in office and Mayor of Detroit.
- The Cork City Library: for some international flavour, the Cork Library runs a blog off the Tumblr platform. Many of their posts are about the music programs they run, reflecting the strong music interest the city in general has. Most posts are in English, but there are a few written in Gaelic.
As you can see a blog is not just a stand-in for a personal journal. It is a tool that can be used for many purposes as ways to build a relationship with your community. “Part of the magic of weblogs is the way they can be used to accomplish so many different things and cover so many diverse areas of life” (Schwartz, 2010). In this age where we are questioning the purpose of libraries, a blog is a great tool to help bring collections to people and bring people into our libraries.
The Library of Congress is known to be the second most popular library on social media with over 711k followers on it’s Twitter page since June 2007. Based out of Washington DC, they use the title of being the largest library in the world with a grand collection of over 16 million books in 400 different languages. Since The Library of Congress is known for their archival work, they have decided to adopt a new form of archival, social media. According to Business Insider, The Library of Congress will be gathering over 130,000 gigabytes worth of tweets off of Twitter as a way to “Collect the story of America, and to acquire collections that will have research value,” as told by Gayle Osterberg, who is the communications director at The Library of Congress.
It is estimated that over 400,000,000 tweets are composed by Americans alone every day. Though they are only minimal notes, the library believes that piece by piece, this digital archive will one day paint a bigger and grander picture. The catch is that there will be no Tweets gathered from ones that have been deleted, but still over 150 billion tweets altogether is a mighty large number to work with.
Besides trying to archive the entire universe of Twitter, the Library of Congress uses the website as a way to connect the users to their physical collection and rotating exhibits. Their Twitter page produces around one up to ten postings a day, many also discussing important historical dates and acquisitions to the library. This creates an impact to the average Twitter user because as most people on Twitter follows sports and celebrities, The Library of Congress are the ones who collect, catalog, and display these popular trends and people throughout American history.
In comparison to the New York Public Library, they use social media as a digital exhibit, and not so big on constantly promoting their events. The Library of Congress surprisingly, the Library of Congress does not use the social media outlet Instagram, which is odd that they are the second most popular library on Twitter, but has no presence to display their collection visually. Though NYPL is the king library at social media, Boston Public Library and San Francisco Public Library have adapted to Instagram as a way to share their collection of historical artifacts and photography. Both Boston and San Francisco have well over 3,000 followers and customize their own hashtags like #SFpublicLibrary.
The adaptation of Instagram for many popular libraries tells a story through what is going on today, and what to look forward tomorrow. Social media within libraries does serve as an outstanding way to give free publicity and how a library works. Though one library, such as the Library of Congress chooses Twitter over Instagram, and San Francisco is vice-versa, this brings the uniqueness of how each library reaches out to it’s patrons digitally as a welcome to join the festivities.
Five ways libraries are using Instagram to share collections and draw public interest. (Impact of Social Sciences) http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/04/16/five-ways-libraries-are-using-instagram/
Library of Congress Is Archiving All Of America’s Tweets (Business Insider)