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is to make people see them as filled with caring real people who would be happy to provide information, not as the outdated stereotypical perception of librarians and libraries that still somehow linger even today.