Being a Librarian

One of the hardest things with being a librarian is holding your tongue.

How often is it that we have a patron come talk to us. We ask how they are doing and show genuine interest in their day, as we often do with their questions. This often leads to the woes and life stories.

Many times it comes to stories that we may often disagree with, morally or politically or any other -ly.

What is our duty but to serve our patrons. We hope it is for research but sometimes the librarian becomes the therapist so to speak.

I do not complain about this because it means my patrons view me as a comfort and as someone they trust or a confidant. What do I do in return, I bite my tongue.

What do you do?

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If you build it, will they come?

If a library were only able to offer one mobile based service, what do you think it should be and why?

If I was the director and had the final say in a mobile based service for the library I was choose a mobile website or webpage in terms of an academic library.

Why? The key to the success of a library is the patrons. What comes to mind is “if you build it they will come”, the famous lines from Field of the Dreams Our patrons can only use our services if they know about it.

With the World Wide Web being the main median to finding information it is important for a library to have a website to advertise their services.

It is implied that when you create a website you create a print version and now even more so a mobile version. In a survey published by Nielsen, they found that over 50% of US consumers use smartphones.

Taiwan Today published that 62% of smartphone users in the US access the web on their phone. By not providing a mobile website for the library it will be failing to serve its users to the best of their ability

There are many mobile based services a library could and should offer by you need to start with the basics, mobile website. The website is where you post information about the library, where you will soon post links to mobile reference services, to the Library OPAC, any many other services.

UCSD

UCSD (University of California, San Diego) libraries have multiple collections on Flickr

Moments in time, Library exhibits and Library events. Along with organized and labeled collections they, UCSD, have a photo-stream that included over 1,400 images that have been taken and tagged and submitted about the UCSD library, great for browsing.

As I browsed through these collections I noticed each picture had at minimum the tag “UCSD libraries, brownie point of UCSD. Donna Ekart states as rule one in Tech Tips for Every Librarian, “First, tag, tag, and tag again” (2010, p46). By tagging photos with appropriate tags such as location, event, library name, popular acronyms, etc. the library’s photos will be discovered more easily and more often, bringing in a greater recognition to the library and hopefully more patrons to help.

 Fault: there is not enough tagging. Some photos only include the tags “UCSD libraries and UCSD”, they need more tags including: San Diego, California, library, education, architecture (when building pictures) and other descriptive tags about the photo, you can never have too many tags.

UCSD libraries do a great job and being consistent with adding to the Flickr, most recent photos are from Oct. 29, 2012.

I think UCSD is a great model for starting libraries who are looking into using Flickr. They show what a complete profile looks like, they have photo streaming, collections, sets and a gallery. However, I do not see them as a library that has itself mastered the use of Flickr.Still, they have a fun collections to browse through.

References:
Ekart, D. (2010). Tech tips for every librarian. Computers in libraries, 32(4).

Why Twitter works

Twitter, signified by a little blue bird in relation to the verb “tweeting”, has boomed over the past couple of years. You are limited to 140 characters to say what you want, how is that enough room to express your rant about something significant, but not really, that you dealt with.

Twitter succeeds in my personal opinion because its easy to read, easy to update and a sufficient time filler while you stand in line at Starbucks at 6am to order you steaming hot cup of wake me up, or some other event in which your attention is found in your palm and not elsewhere.

In the library world, Twitter is most effectively used as a megaphone for events, new displays, new books, etc.  UBC (University of British Columbia) libraries used twitter to share with followers the types of reference questions they answered throughout the day. (Fields, 2010) Using Twitter in this unique way encourage interaction with followers. The best application of Twitter in a library is a perfect combination of both. Too much personal can lead to an incorrect view of the library where as too much professional can lead to an incorrect view of the library. Do you see where I am going with this?

SJSU Library uses their twitter account in a such a way. I know by browsing through past tweets I will be abelt of ind just about every event, new exhibit, hour change and new resource that occurred since the birth of @SJSU_kinglib. However, I can also find some inner touches of personality, although I think they could do a better job in spreading that around.

What is your opinion? Let me know @NimbleLibrarian

PS: graphics? no graphics?

-NimbleLibrarian

References:

Fields, E. (2010). A unique twitter use for reference services. Library Hi Tech News, 27(6), 14-15

Spartans Market Successfully

San Jose State University King Library

I selected the King Library as my marketing critique focus. The library has a well rounded presence on the web; outside of their website they market themselves through the following ways:
Twitter: @SJSU_kinglib
Facebook: SJSU King Library and
Google+: SJSU King Library
Bi-Annual Newsletter: SJSU King Library Newsletter

I will discuss how they engage themselves with these applications as well as address any improvements I see that might benefit the library. These points made are my observations only and do not included insight from the employees of the King Library.

I have a twitter feed, @nimblelibrarian, I started out following @SJSU_kinglib they have a small following of 240 twitters and within 30 minutes I was being followed back, this response time impressed me. Followed by this prompt new follower I browsed past tweets and gathered a feel of what exactly the King Library wanted its followers to know. They are supportive of other SJSU accounts, re-tweeting campus club announcements, local reference desk, local public libary, and the main SJSU feed. This past Friday I tweeted, “Its Friday, I want rain, soup and a good book”  @nimblelibrarian. I do not have a following, as I have just started developing my own brand, so you can imagine my excitement when I was re-tweeted by @SJSU_kinglib .

The impression made to me so far by the King Library was positive. Along with simple recognitions of their followers, they advertised upcoming events & exhibits taking place in the library.

The King Library also uses Facebook to expand their web presence. The Facebook page for the library was born, August 31, 2011. It is barely a year old, which surprised me as I thought they would have started using it earlier. The Facebook page did not impress me as much as the twitter feed did but it did not let me down either. The library uses images often with corresponding posts are which often about upcoming events or exhibits. Due to the nature of these posts it was difficult to see a “real” person behind them; they felt more like an automatic response you get when you apply to a job. That being said I came across one post that teased with personality, a post about the San Jose Falcons. (see post below)

 
This post encourages student to come to the library for non-library things instead of research, study, computers, etc. It is important to capture and include your target audience, in this case students, in your posts. This post had 3 likes and 3 comments, higher than most posts on the page.

Another concern was that the response time to student complaint posts was around a full day.   I saw to complaints, one directed at noisy patrons and the other directed at the Library Wi-Fi, response time for both around 24 hours. For the complaint directed towards noisy patrons the response was okay, because they requested information to report it. The complain directed to the library, “Please fix the Wifi connection. I really want to stay in the library to study. I can’t study at home!!!!!!!” needed to be addressed much earlier than 24 hours later because the student was studying and needed the Wi-Fi at that moment. I’d recommend tot he King Library to reduce the response time to posts like these, in order to be more helpful throughout their web presence. 

The Google+ account, created September 2011, is very much like the King Library Facebook page, posts are almost identical. On Nov. 4, 2011 one of the first posts to receive any follower response included the response from SJSU King Library thanking them for their support, +1 to their rapport. I critique this in their marketing because it is vital to acknowledge those who follow you, your “fans” as you will. However, this unfortunately fades in to the background after a couple more posts and the acknowledgment is no longer made.  It is important to keep it up, even if you only have a handful of fans, appreciate them. 

As I made my way through the main applications SJSU King Library uses to expand their online presence there are few things that I want need to address.  First, bravo to their consistent posting even with a mediocre following. Second, thank you for re-tweeting, just a small gesture that shows their acknowledgment of their followers.

They have a strong grasp of how to use these services to spread the word about what is happening in the library however they need to focus on expanding their following. SJSU has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students, their followings hit around 300, that is 1% of the school.  I suggest they do this in multiple ways including:

1. Engage your followers – encourage comments in your posts and tweets. The more engaging you are the more interaction you will receive. Use posts for an opportunity to get survey responses from students, “Did you attend the Day of the Dead exhibit?”
2. Express personality beyond events and exhibit posting. Add to your newspaper a comic strip, for example talk about the employees and what they enjoy, make the library more personal.
3. Quicken your response time to posts. 24 hours for a response to  a wi-fi complaint is useless to the patron.  
4. Create a blog. Blogs are a great way to move above and beyond hours and event posts, of course I do not think I need to tell you that.

This being said, SJSU King Library markets their library services well, events, exhibits, hours, changes, etc. If their brand is “A library that keeps their students informed of events happening on campus” then they nailed it, no matter how boring that sounds. I recommend really exploiting the personality of the library, there are a great deal of employees their and I am sure they are not all boring. 

Library Social Media…what are your tactics?

Top 5 Social Media Tools for Promoting Library Services


What? Facebook
Why? Reach patrons of multiple ages, mobile accessibility, “Its massive reach provides compelling opportunities to connect with customers, both current and future, through fan pages, news feeds, groups, and throughout the site.” (SEOmoz)
How? Sign up for a group page (not a profile), designate the information that will be posted for your users and others to see and start posting. Posts about common topics, new ideas you want to implement. Using Facebook in this manner allows Libraries to get feedback in the easier way possible and directly from their users.

What? Twitter
Why? Networking in real time. A new tool to become personal with your users. Tweets are limited to 160 characters, requires tweets of significance and informational. IE “SJSU library closed Oct. 8 Columbus day!” (39 characters)
How? Sign up for a twitter account begin adding followers and following others. Read Musings about librarianship on how Twitter can help your library.

What? YouTube
Why? Video promotion
How? Video Blogs – have staff record book reviews of latest books, add a library tour and introduce your staff, invite participation from patrons “What is your favorite book?” and compile them into a video. Video Tours are very effective and allow users to get a feel for your library before they go, you can also put up tutorials on how to use your system. You can also use YouTube as a form of education videos, how many tutorials can you find on YouTube? Millions! I’m sure you can even find one on using YouTube in your Library.

What? Wikipedia
Why? Wikipedia offers a place to build guides for users. Wikis are a great way to keep on top of all the new services or updates happening in the library 

How? Create a Wiki (make sure to have an easy access link to the page) where Library staff can update changes to the library. You can also create a Wiki that patrons can access and add recommendations or even services that maybe a staff member did not think of.


What? Good-reads
Why? What better way to promote an RA (Readers Advisory) with Good-reads.
How? Visit the link and start adding books and reviews. Good-reads provides a way for patrons to see what the staff is reading and get recommendations and reviews. This tool in itself is a RA service, not just one to help promote your own library services.

-NimbleLibrarian

Recommended Reads:

Breeding, M. (2009). Social networking strategies for professionals. Computers in Libraries, 29(9), 29-31
Fichter, D. , & Avery, C. (2012). Tools of influence: Strategic use of social media. Online, 36(4), 58-60.


Step-by-Step Guide to Your Social Media Success
Avoid These 4 Common Social Media Mistakes – Joseph Ruiz

To blog or not to blog……is it a question?

What makes a blog effective? 

If a blog has a mission statement, meaning there is an agreed upon and laid out plan for the blog it can been very effective. Often blogs are created just to be created sometimes for a course that is being taken here, Libr203 for example. Many of us have created a blog for a class assignment in Libr203 and it sits there stagnant or as Crawford says, “rots in peace” (2009, p2). I laugh at this because some have posted that their current blogs they are using for this course (Libr246) are blogs they created in Libr203 and never used or deleted. When we created the blog it was simply to be created and fulfill the assignment, it did not have a true mission and thus it died, figuratively, and Libr246 resurrected it, most likely for it to die again. (This is sounding like a video game.)

Using a blog in a library can become a way to communicate library information. I know of some academic libraries that use their blog to announce new displays, to answer FAQs or to provide updated hours due to holidays, breaks, etc. Blogs are available through a simple RSS feed, meaning it can be easily accessed by the patrons without having to navigate the website. This is very helpful and time saving.

I feel strongly, just as Crawford does, to be successful you need to have a plan and you need to stick with it. You can adapt it over time, just as a mission statement may change, as your focus evolves but it is a necessity to have effective use for Blogs.

You want to be successful in your blogging? Follow these tips (found at Top Ten Tips for Successful Blogs):
-Have a plan (it can be flexible.)
-Be consistent
-Be diverse in your publications
-Be courteous (link to your references, cite other blogs, follow & comment on other blogs, comment on readers comments)
-Be you.

References:

Crawford, W. (2009). Shiny toys or useful tools. Cites & Insights, 9(3), 1-9. Retrieved from: citesandinsights.info/v9i3a.pdf