Today, Facebook is practically everywhere. It is a social tool that both individuals and organizations use to connect with the world around them. Libraries can tap into this social networking tool to provide an enhanced experience for their patrons as well as fellow librarians. However, there are some concerns that libraries on Facebook will make students uncomfortable because their personal space is being intruded upon, and it would be a bit creepy if an institution followed their Facebook friends a little too closely. This point is mentioned in The Other Librarian, a wonderful blog by Ryan Deschamps. In his post about Facebook in Libraries, he also argues that if Libraries actually want to improve the popularity of their Facebook pages, they need to create innovative apps that their patrons will actually want to use. Unfortunately for the libraries, he also mentions how he doesn’t see this happening anytime soon. But if the Facebook pages of libraries are still not on the cutting edge of innovation, at least they can endeavor to provide a wide variety of services through their accounts, services much like the ones I mention in my previous post about the SPL Twitter feed. Looking back at the SPL, they did a fantastic job of not only promoting library resources, they managed to build a sense of community on their page without seeming overly personal or creepy, which is a hard line to balance on. The Bloomington Public Library does not manage this balance act nearly as well.
While the link to navigate to their Facebook account is quite easy to locate, the posts on their wall are limited in nature. As I scrolled through the last few weeks of posts, almost all of them were focused on reporting library features or services. There is nothing particularly wrong with this, but it lacks the personal touch that the SPL was able to create with their account, and it also makes it seem a bit bland. If I was a patron of this library I wouldn’t feel a need to subscribe to their posts because although the information is sometimes interesting, it is never essential. Thought it does provide useful information, like the impending arrival of the new website that is scheduled to go up in the middle of April, the posts seem to be mostly one directional, without the back and forth comments that the SPL Facebook page created. If the Bloomington Library would like to change their tactics for their Facebook account, I would recommend they take a look at the SPL and how they ask questions of their followers and then respond to their comments to show their interest. Because of this back and forth commentary, the SPL has built a rapport with the members of the surrounding community, which will serve them during the following years. This is a lesson that the BPL could certainly take notice of if they want to create an interactive online community, not just a static bulletin board where they post information about upcoming events.