Using Web 2.0 Tools to Market Your Library


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Slides from a workshop given at the NAHSL conference in Newport, RI.

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  • As Librarians we love to collaborate and share with each other and with our users
    Librarians seem to have natural affinity for the latest generation of web tools and have really embraced them

    Although some critics have suggested that librarians hop on the bandwagon for every new technology that comes along, what these tools allow librarians to do really reflects so many of our core values of openness, access, and fostering conversations, so are a natural fit
  • Talk given a few times over the last couple of years. Devoted at least a couple of slides comparing 1st gen web technology to 2nd gen or 2.0 technologies. Don’t think I need to do that anymore. 2.0 technologies are the web as we know it today.

    Major characteristic is tools taken power away from the traditional gatekeepers, newspapers, governments, corporations, libraries and put very sophisticated communication tools in the hand of average web user. There’s a downside to this of course (decline of civility, fragmentation), but a net gain for society as a whole.
  • But there’s also a clash or conflict between traditional curatorial values and this new openness. Opening up and letting go has been a challenge for some.

    OPACs – some concern that user-contributed content, ratings, reviews, etc. might undermine the integrity of the OPAC

    Librarians zealously guard their patron’s privacy. Since so many of these tools require users to reveal a little something about themselves, and considering that people do this willingly, and in many cases unwittingly, where does this leave us?

    Digital have-nots. Entrance to just about all the tools we’ll talk about today require at a minimum of a high-speed internet connection. Access to the internet is essential to an informed citizenry. Who’s being left out of the conversation? According to the Pew Internet in American Life Survey, broadband access has increased substantially- but only 63% of adult Americans have broadband access as of April 2009.

    Fear that tools may become obsolete or irrelevant (Second Life?). Understandable fear of jumping in too soon or betting on the wrong horse.

    Firewall issues – some IT depts. block Facebook and YouTube.

  • Social Media Marketing Talk:
  • “Amateur's Digest” (a cactus magazine)
    Search on “library ccsu” revealed Twitter complaint about library hours
  • You can also search, aggregate and disseminate RSS news using a tool like Yahoo pipes, which let you create to pretty sophisticated mashups w/out programming skill. Uses: reputation monitoring, gathering and disseminating topical information.

    So, it’s back to school for CCSU so I thought I would create this feed with news items about CCSU
  • You can see that I can do a whole lot of sharing of this pipe… via Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking tools like delicious. I can add to my RSS reader or embed in my blog or webpage.

    If you have RSS feeds from your library catalog, you can create pipe to search for certain keywords.
  • Beware of inaccuracies that are beyond your control in aggregated content: note misspelling of Burritt and the we’re hosting a storytelling competition (we’re not, it’s an award for best paper or creative work).
  • To increase awareness of collections, services, promote events
  • Venue claims can be dicey! My library’s main number is an answering machine with options.
  • Find a way to let your patrons know what’s going on in the library and give them convenient ways to interact with you.
  • Use consistent branding!
  • Last summer, if you googled BP and facebook you were more likely to find “Boycott BP” page than the official BP Facebook page!
  • Problems: Lack of urgency, control of the message (all postings from BP). One-way communication.

    Consequence of keep too tight a hold of the message.
  • Meebo – web-based IM client – consolidate your IM accounts and access anywhere. Chat widget embed in web pages and blogs

    Texting services – 1) buy and phone and plan or 2) go with web-based service like Mosio’s TAL. Since most people (rich and poor alike) have cell phones and pervasiveness of texting, this would appear to be a logical medium for developing library services.
  • Wikipedia examples:
    Lemon Law entry
    Elihu Burritt entry
  • The Free Account includes 20 MB monthly upload limit, three photosets, photo stream views limited to the 200 most recent images and storage of smaller (resized) images.
    The Pro Account includes two GB monthly upload limit, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited photosets, permanent archiving of high–resolution original images, the ability to replace a photo and ad–free browsing and sharing.
  • Ratings, tag cloud, embed
  • Leveraged the success of the Boston Med Reality Show on ABC to market the hospital via the social networks. The hospital has over 400,000K Facebook fans.
  • OCLC app uses geolocation to map you to the nearest library. Both apps are a free download.
  • Using Web 2.0 Tools to Market Your Library

    1. 1. Debbie Herman (debaherman on Twitter) Central CT State University NAHSL 2010
    2. 2.  Part One:  Class introductions and overview  Choosing the right social media tools for your clientele and library staff  Developing your social media presence – examples and best practices  Class discussion of experiences with and present uses of social media  Comparison of social media sites  BREAK (15 min.)  Part Two:  Overview and discussion of tools and techniques for engaging your users  Participants will develop a marketing plan for a new library service, event, etc. that includes use of social media.  Presentations and conclusion.
    3. 3. Questions: What would you like to get out of this workshop? How will you use social media in your library? What’s your biggest challenge or obstacle?
    4. 4.  Facebook – 500 million users  Twitter – 75 million users
    5. 5. Eva Simon (Commissaresse), Flickr
    6. 6.  Staying connected with Patrons  Delivering quality information  Building community  Marketing library services  Professional development
    7. 7.  OPACs – To Nextgen or not?  Privacy concerns  Digital divide  Permanence?  Personal nature of the medium  Firewall issues
    8. 8.  Why do it?  Choosing your social media niche  Assess usage: Is it being used and by whom?  Barriers, physical and otherwise!  How do we get support/buy-in from colleagues/administration?
    9. 9.  New way to reach out to our community (especially online users)  Services delivered faster and more conveniently  Improve responsiveness to patron needs
    10. 10.  Read/Subscribe to Blogs & Websites: Mashable (iPhone app), LifeHacker, ProfHacker, Librarian bloggers: Sarah Houghton Jan, David Lee King, Meredith Farkas, etc.  Twitter You don’t have to tweet that much, just “follow” a few social media savvy people. Search Hashtags (#) for topics (#followalibrarian).  Bubbleroom blog at (Library Marketing)  Create a custom newsfeed to find information on a social media trend or application
    11. 11. Take advantage of free services to provide excellent, proactive customer service!   Tweetscan  Yahoo pipes mashups  Google alerts
    12. 12.  Don’t do it just because everyone else is! “Jump on the social media bandwagon” by Matt Hamm, Flickr
    13. 13.  Advice: You can’t be everywhere. Find out where your patrons hang out online (Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and their level of participation.  Short surveys – use LibGuides,  Demographics – Forrester Social Technographics Ladder
    14. 14. Source:
    15. 15.  Be in sync with events that are going on in your hospital, community, college, etc.  Get to know the culture of your community! (good Mashable article)  Don’t forget about “traditional media” and physical gathering places.
    16. 16.  Provide an easy way for patrons to communicate with you and be part of the community  Bask in the compliments, but be prepared to handle the criticism
    17. 17.  Search Your Library in Google Maps/Places. Caveat: You can edit, but so can everyone else, so make a claim!  Foursquare for Business: Create Mayor or Check-in specials  Yelp – Create an owner account and unlock the business page. No entry? That’s ok– Create one!
    18. 18. Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call. Tools:  (Create an online community to generate ideas)  Twitter hashtags
    19. 19. Tip: Brand consistently!
    20. 20.  Meebo (  Text-A-Librarian (  Google Voice
    21. 21. Using Google Voice as a Free Texting Service
    22. 22.  Social bookmarking: Create custom reading lists or pathfinders with Delicious  Add a sharing widget to blog posts, etc. Add a Facebook “Like” button ShareThis  Promote your collections by adding links in Wikipedia
    23. 23.  Web analytics (Google analytics)  Number of followers/fans  Level of participation (comments/ “likes”)  Number of views
    24. 24. Source: ( 10150445-2.html)
    25. 25.  Have a newsletter? Make it social with ISSUU
    26. 26.  Eventful  Facebook invitations  Socializr
    27. 27.  Community Outreach = Good Will  Creators had a defined purpose and audience  Use of Twitterfeed to promote new posts Purpose “to foster the exchange of community health information in South Texas and U.S.-Mexico Border Communities.” Audience “postings … are targeted to public health and social services personnel.”
    28. 28. A More Effective Use of Facebook
    29. 29.  Text-A-Librarian service  iPhone apps (Worldcat& DCPL)  Mobile-optimized websites (EBSCO, LibGuides)
    30. 30.  iWebkit  JQtouch  On the horizon… (jQuery mobile)
    31. 31.  A social media presence is merely an extension of the relationships already built!  Don’t be afraid to experiment with new tools.  Start with a marketing/outreach goal and then choose the right tool(s) to support it.  Use RSS and microblogging to keep current and save your sanity!
    32. 32. RESOURCES: Slides: