I was excited to read about QR codes this week – partially because we’ve just started using them at our library! I created reader’s advisory shelves on Goodreads, and then created QR codes leading to the shelves. I put the QR codes on 5×1 inch piece of paper, along with a saying like “Looking for a new mystery? Check here!”. These were then placed on the shelves near pertinent authors. (For example, a historical fiction QR code near Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell, romance near Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele, etc.) It seems to be working, as I’ve noticed the books on the lists being checked out more often. I’m pretty pleased with it.
I really like some of the other ways libraries have been using QR codes, particularly study room reservation and linking to ebook versions of books.
I worry about people without smartphones (like myself), which is why I include URLS on the posters. As more and more people start to use smartphones, I imagine that libraries will not need to worry about this as much.
One of the main reasons libraries use social media tools is to reach out to populations that may not be aware of library services. Using a variety of tools, rather than just one, can help the library reach out to a variety of potential users.
Tumblr is one such tool. Tumblr is a mircroblogging social media network. About half of all Tumblr users are under the age of 25 (according to comScore) – making Tumblr a great way to reach out to teens, tweens and young adults. Many libraries have great teen collections (new CDs, DVDs and reference books) programs (dance or knitting classes), and services (such as free tutoring, mediation or homework help) but not all have great teen circulation or attendance. Reaching out to teens in a space they use and accept is how the word gets heard.
Tumblr is easy to use, and more importantly, it’s free. The librarian posting chooses what kind of post (video, photo, quote, link, etc.) These choices offer lots of flexibility – post a trailer to an upcoming movie adaption, or a James Joyce quote, or a photo of a celebrity reading, or a text announcement about that night’s programs. And with 99 million unique tumblrs, there’ll always be something pertinent to reblog (or ‘heart’). There’s lots of attractive themes, or you can design your own. It’s also easy for people following the blog to reblog and spread the word the word to their followers.
Here are some library tumblrs I enjoyed:
Many public libraries are delving into the social media world. In an ideal world, public libraries would have as many social media accounts as they could possible manage. Obviously, this is a pipe dream for perennially understaffed public libraries. Therefore, public libraries must make some choices. Google+ and Facebook are both great options for library social media, but are both really necessary?
Running social media, particularly for smaller organizations like public libraries, is mostly an investment of time. For each social media account that the library has, the library must do a variety of things. The page, comments, shares, likes, etc. must be monitored. Content, postings, and photos must be created and posted. The page must be created, and it must be designed well. Friends must be made, and circles joined. All of this takes valuable staff hours, which is something many public libraries must cut back on.
It’s clear that it’s not practical, for small public libraries at least, to join as many social media websites as possible. Libraries must choose how to reach as many people as possible. After all, how many people do you know who use Google+ but NOT Facebook? If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, perhaps Facebook is the way to go.
I’ve been using Goodreads personally now, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s fairly easy to use, but I did encounter some bugs, particularly regarding to logging in with my Facebook information. It seems to have cleared up in the past weeks, however. It’s easy to find books and authors or browse genres. In case you’re curious or want to be my friend, here’s my account.
I love thinking of the possibilities Goodreads offers libraries. You could have online book clubs! A staff member could write a thoughtful review of a book in the discussion portion of the page, and patrons could respond. You could make great online reader’s advisory guides, in the shelf section! Conduct easy, quick surveys! Best of all, the library can link their account to their facebook page, hopefully ensuring that Facebook traffic would see the Goodreads updates. Here’s an example of one public library’s Goodreads page.
I use goodreads at work for other reasons too. Lots of users have great lists (Listopia). I like browsing though them to find new titles to purchase. Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly have great reviews and are wonderful publications but sometimes I like to hear from non-librarian people and see what people are actually reading. It’s good to be able to connect with actual readers.