2013 Predictions

I was intrigued by AnnaLaura Brown’s (ALB) blog post, 2013 Social Networking in Libraries Trends. I found myself disagreeing with her more than agreeing. Here are a few thoughts about her predictions:

1. ALB predicts that libraries will increase their usage of Pinterest, especially public libraries. I think that possibly large urban uber-hip on-the-ball libraries will make good use of Pinterest but whether the vast majority of smaller, suburban or semi-rural and just-catching-up-to-Twitter libraries will make the discovery is doubtful. Don’t get me wrong, I think Pinterest is cool and has great application for readers’ advisory, highlighting parts of the collection and showing off events, but I just don’t see libraries embracing it big time mainly due to lack of staff, time and let’s face it, lack of interest. I think what would be helpful in this instance are solid stats that make connections between Pinterest and patron usage.

2. ALB predicts that more libraries will join Google+. I’d be curious to know how many people in the class use Google+ or even understand how to use it (it’s not just a replica of Facebook). Again, I think possibly only the savviest of libraries will be joining. I’ve been reading about Google+ and its apparent lack of popularity over here at Forbes. I must admit, I never really “got” it even before I read those articles.

3. ALB writes that Google places will become “more relevant and useful for libraries just like it is for other local businesses.” This was my “huh?” moment. I completely understand why a business would sign up for this but since libraries are easily findable on Google maps I don’t get the point of it or the benefit. And, it’s just plain confusing. There’s Google Local, Google+ and Google Business all merging together (or maybe they did this already). As one commenter points out in the following article, some places end up with multiple “place” pages but with the wrong info that’s difficult to fix. I don’t envision libraries racing to sign up. An example of the confusion is explained here.

4. I did agree with a few points. I do think that public libraries are “becoming more of an education resource for patrons” about how to use social media. I see classes offered on everything from creating a Facebook profile to using Pinterest. I’m not sure that this is particularly significant, however. I think it is just part of good programming practice.

5. I also agree that more libraries will use Twitter to keep in contact with patrons since it’s simple to use and requires little time investment (compared to something like Pinterest).

Overall, I think that while it is easy for us to find great examples of libraries that have fully embraced social media and are using it successfully, there are still many, many more that are only just waking up to the possibilities that social media offers. I am sure that some of these libraries are dealing with the conundrum of having fewer staff and resources due to budget cuts yet facing higher expectations for their social media presence.

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2 thoughts on “2013 Predictions

  1. Lori

    As you concluded, dealing with “fewer and resources” added to continuous “budget cuts” is an ongoing hardship for many small, rural libraries. There are 237 public libraries in the state of Maine. Only Maine’s two largest cities [that I know of] have branch locations….many, many, many are located in a single structure supported by volunteers, a librarian or two (can’t always afford one with an MLS), part-time staff and an overload of duties. Every one probably believes that he or she is doing the best they can for their community; how much more can be squeezed into an already overloaded work day (or half-day)?

    This type of class is critical to see the big picture, and like your predictions – and with my logical/statistical loving brain, I’d love to see or hear which will work best for each unique type of library. Where’s the data? For all of us…not just large, urban or suburban libraries with thousands of patron visits and departments delineating duties of staff. We still have libraries open four hours one day a week, and closed for vacation weeks each year. (We still have post offices that close for an hour for lunch each day!).

    In some ways, social media could help fill the gap left when the library itself is closed. Making the time, learning about all of the social media opportunities, seeing the stats that justify each strategy, and educating a community is a big step. More of these types of classes, and having the support of like-situation librarians also facing the same struggles could be enough of an impetus to make an impact — and improve the predictions for 2013. I hope so!

    Reply
    1. Christy Confetti Higgins

      Hi Deborah – Thank you for your evaluation of those 2013 predictions. As always, things are different for each type of library and community but it’s important to explore new ways to reach your audience and patrons to make the library a living resource for everyone to engage with.

      With things changing so quickly, there will be some social tools that will be obvious to leverage and others that you’ll need to just jump in and try if it seems to make sense for your community. If it’s not working, then you can stop. My advice is to explore and start somewhere and switch gears as needed.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Christy

      Reply

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