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Category Archives: Facebook

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is to make people see them as filled with caring real people who would be happy to provide information, not as the outdated stereotypical perception of librarians and libraries that still somehow linger even today.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

In my last entry, I talked about how simple it was to find the Seattle Public Library blog, and how it had two easy to spot links right on the homepage. Because of this, I thought that all of the SPL’s social networking tools would be just as easy to locate. Well, I was a bit hasty with my assumption. Earlier in the day I had searched through my own Facebook account to find the Seattle Public Library’s page, and to my delight it not only existed, it was also quite popular and regularly updated. Yet, when I tried to find a link to their account through their homepage, it was rather difficult to spot. During my first attempt, I gave the homepage a quick skim, but then decided to just use the link to Facebook that they post on their blog. However, when I decided to go back and look over the entire front page again, I was able to locate a Facebook icon in the very bottom corner of the site. I can understand why they don’t want to put their Facebook icon right in the middle of the page, where it could detract from other possibly more useful features like the catalog and the ask a librarian feature, but it definitely could be put in a more prominent place if most patrons are even going to realize the SPL has a Facebook page.

Besides the difficulty in locating their Facebook account, their actual page is quite popular, with over 14,000 likes and 8,000 visitors. The SPL also does a great job of interacting with their followers instead of just stating opinions or re-posting stories. They will often pose questions to the public, like asking them what their favorite young adult books are, and then reply to the extensive conversations that ensue. While looking through all the posts on their page, there was an outpouring of affection for the SPL, and there was even another library science student from SJSU who said they were studying this page for her class because it was such a success. After such a glowing recommendation, it’s hard to find fault with the SPL’s Facebook page, especially when a host of other users keep posting their appreciation of the SPL’s services. Because of the overwhelming positive vibe and the variety of information they post, I would certainly friend them if I ever move to the Seattle area. The only slight issue I have with the site is one of personal preference; this is due to their decision to switch to Facebook timeline, which might be a little more difficult to use for those who are new or reluctant Facebook users.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Facebook, SPL