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What is Foursquare and How Could It Work in Your Library? – Routledge Library Newsletter September 2011
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What is Foursquare and How Could It Work in Your Library? – Routledge Library Newsletter September 2011

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Will Foursquare work in libraries? Will users be as inclined to check-in to their local library as they are at their favorite coffee shop or restaurant? ...

Will Foursquare work in libraries? Will users be as inclined to check-in to their local library as they are at their favorite coffee shop or restaurant?

Johannes Neuer, eCommunications Manager at The New York Public Library, gives a definitive answer. Yes! In this article he answers a few questions about Foursquare at NYPL.

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  • 1. Routledge Library Newsletter | September 2011 Issue 14What is Foursquare and how could it work in your Library?Johannes Neuer of The New York Public Library explainshow Foursquare has been a big hit in the Big AppleFacebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn … 2. Did you have any concerns aboutThese all sound familiar, right? Well, hopefully whether Foursquare would be aa couple of them should be. And has anyone suitable social media tool for a publicheard of Foursquare? I can see a few peopleraising their hands. library (as opposed to other more commercial enterprises)?Foursquare is a (relatively) new kid on the block in the world of social media, having been set Geo-location networks such as Foursquare areup in 2009. It is a location-based marketing perfect for organizations with many physicalapplication which allows people to ‘check-in’ at locations like The New York Public Library andvenues they visit using their mobile phone. This libraries in general. Coming up with ways toallows them to connect with their friends, use this social media tool without incurringshare tips about the venues they check-in at much costs, e.g. give-away items, whileand earn rewards for repeat check-ins. So you making interacting with NYPL on Foursquarecan visit a cinema, check-in (enabling your a rewarding experience for users was afriends to know you are there) and at the same challenge but one that we were able to solvetime learn about things going on at that creatively. For instance, we came up with acinema, including special deals and discounts. number of unique ‘specials’ that users could unlock when they became mayors of NYPLMany libraries in the UK are already using venues or checked in a certain number ofFacebook and Twitter to interact with their times. The rewards included a monthly drawingusers. For example, Leeds Libraries in the United for tickets to a LIVE from the NYPL event 4. How have you advertised FoursquareKingdom have a very active Facebook page, among mayors, a behind-the-scenes tour of in your library branches?telling people about additions to their collections, the magnificent Lionel Pincus and Princess We created door clings and flyers, which werespecial events, opening hours and more. Visit Firyal Map Division, and a photo op in front of installed at all locations to promote NYPL’swww.facebook.com/leedslibraries to take a the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees social networks, including Foursquare. Inlook for yourselves and see how effective social Room fireplace, immortalized in the movie The addition, we promote our Foursquare presencemedia can be. But will Foursquare work in Day After Tomorrow. on the wifi splash page, which Library patronslibraries? Will users be as inclined to check-in to see when they first log on to our free wirelesstheir local library as they are at their favourite 3. How did your users respond to Internet access, and on the location page ofcoffee shop or restaurant? Johannes Neuer, each neighborhood library and division on nypl.eCommunications Manager at The New York Foursquare when it was first launched org.Public Library, gave me a definitive answer. Yes! in the library and what did you do toHere he answers a few of my questions about generate initial interest?Foursquare at NYPL, candidly revealing the secrets 5. What are your future plans forto success. Following our small test with Foursquare? the Battery Park City Library, we created a brand page on This fall, we are planning to roll out Foursquare1. What initially inspired you and your Foursquare and then to individual NYPL branches so that libraryteam to ‘claim’ the New York Public launched a badge at the end managers can create their own rewards toLibrary as a venue on Foursquare? of March 2011 to celebrate engage with the local community. the Centennial of NYPL’sIn March 2010, NYPL’s first ‘green’ Library in landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building onManhattan was scheduled to open and this Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Each initiative If you are curious to find out more about howwas the prefect opportunity to test Foursquare, was promoted using all online marketing NYPL uses Foursquare, please visit their brandwhich was gaining a lot of momentum at the channels at our disposal, including email, page at www.foursquare.com/nypl andtime. We claimed the Battery Park City Library Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the nypl.org follow NYPL. And if you would like to find outvenue and set up a ‘special’ (= reward) that website, and progressively generated increasing how to set up Foursquare at your own library,awarded an NYPL messenger bag, courtesy of interest. In the end, 12,000 Foursquare users please contact us by email atour retail shop, to the first person who checked unlocked the badge during the Centennial reference@routledge.com or byin 25 times. A regular at the Battery Park City celebrations and more than 36,000 now follow phone on +44 (0) 20 701 76566.Library unlocked the ‘special’ and the Library NYPL on Foursquare.manager wrote a great blog post about it.Subsequently, we went ahead to claim all 90NYPL venues.www.routledge.com/reference 8