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Category Archives: BPL

Overview

Over the last few days I’ve posted about how social services and tools, like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have been used in the Seattle Public Library and the Bloomington Public Library. Each of these libraries had areas where they succeeded in using these tools, and they had areas where they could make small changes to better utilize the accounts they already have. In general, the SPL really stood out because there was a real sense of community and personality on their social media pages, and they seemed to really try and use these tools to enhance the library experience for their patrons, even though the icons for the tools were sometimes difficult to locate. The BPL’s social networking sites were more subdued in comparison, with their Facebook page and Twitter account acting more like a bulletin board for events and features, rather than a communal place for the exchange of thoughts and opinions.

While the SPL is currently doing a fantastic job of providing new and unique content on their social media accounts, there is always a need for content evaluation of these services in order to stay current and maintaining user interest. The Librarian in Black, run by Sarah Houghton, is an excellent resource for keeping up with current library and social tool trends. She also provides some interesting tips about how libraries can use social networking to become an essential part of a community, not just a distant abstract concept bound by bricks and mortar. This is essential because one of the goals of libraries using social tools is to make people see them as filled with caring real people who would be happy to provide information, not as the outdated stereotypical perception of librarians and libraries that still somehow linger even today.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in BPL, Facebook, SPL, Twitter

 

The BPL Twitter Feed

The Bloomington Public Libraries Twitter feed is similar in many ways to their Facebook page; they both are used in an almost perfunctory manner to convey information about library services. This is not to say that the services and programs offered at the BPL are not inspired, because the BPL sponsors many events that sound incredibly entertaining, but only using Twitter in this manner is rather limited. By just announcing events and new services, their twitter feed is almost unnecessary because most of the same information is available on their Facebook page, and their twitter feed often is just used to announce new posts on their Facebook page. It almost seems like they have a twitter feed because libraries are now expected to use social tools like Facebook and twitter, instead of having this tool because it can be a valuable way to get community feedback and connect with patrons. When looked at this way, the BPL’s twitter feed doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the libraries’ webpage, even though it’s easy to find; it’s just a feature that is tacked on there because it is expected. Although I might be a bit harsh in my assessment of the BPL twitter feed, because it does provide valuable information about the library and the services they offer, Twitter could be used in so many more ways. This is especially apparent after seeing how the Seattle Public Library has gone beyond the ordinary and used their account to create an interactive online community.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in BPL, Twitter

 

The BPL Facebook Page

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Facebook - by Marko Pakoeningrat

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.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in BPL, Facebook

 

The Bloomington Public Library

My first impression of the Bloomington Public Library website was of bright colors and a veritable sea of links. After taking a moment to orient myself, the organizing principal behind the color choices became clear, and it was actually a successful attention-grabbing way to color code categories of links. The four major divisions which were represented by different colors were Find, Use, See & Do, and Participate. An example of how this works is that subjects like the library catalog are grouped under the Find category, while volunteer opportunities are located under the Participate category. Right at the top of the page, there are icons which will take the user to the BPL’s Facebook page or their Twitter account, an excellent location because sometimes, like with the SPL, these icons can become lost or buried on the homepage. Soon after this, I found a link that stated the BLP had just created a new webpage, which turned out to be similar in some ways to the old one, but there were some definite improvements as well.

On the new site, instead of scattering the links for social services in different locations, there is a section of the site that is titled social media. This sector has links to the BPL Facebook page, their Twitter accounts, and their YouTube videos. Unfortunately, the site must still be under construction or is linked improperly, because all off the links to their social media pages are broken. When the site is finished, I think this additional feature for their social media accounts will be a great way to publicize their existence and how they can be used to supplement regular in-person library services.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in BPL