How to get students to bring their library books back

This week I’m distributing flyers to all our students to remind them to renew their loans before they leave for the Christmas holidays, and also as a promo for our social media sites.

As an incentive for ensuring their accounts are up-to-date, I’m offering a “little seasonal thank you” (chocolate Santas from M&S or similar).

I hope this publicity will encourage students to update their accounts, call in at the library office to claim their treats and increase the numbers of Likes/followers on our social media sites.

If you’d like to join in, please Like us or follow us!

Highlights from Oxford Social Media Day 2011

Oxford Social Media Day 2011 took place on 8th September.  I live-tweeted the event and you can search for #osm11 on Twitter for all related tweets.

Now that many libraries are using social media, this aim of the day was to be inspired to take it further.  Our  five speakers did an excellent job and here are my top take-home tips.

  • Jo talked about how librarians interact with many different groups of users and stakeholders in our work, and asked us each to prepare a 30-second elevator pitch to market our skills to one of those groups.
  • This was great for practising my skills in “selling” the library and its services to senior management, students or academics.
  • People will infer things from your brand even if you don’t actively manage it.  For the next exercise, we had to think of 3 words or phrases to describe the brand we would like to convey.
  • Use namecheckr  to see if your username is available on a range of social sites
  • It’s important to keep your brand consistent across different social media sites
  • In social media, commitment to community not the tool is important – go to the sites where your users are.

Public library social media policy #osm11

  • Public libraries & museums act 1964 – key legislation relating to how public libraries operate today
  • Some things you don’t know in advance, and can’t predict if a venture will work – you just have to try it out
  • Need qualitative data to assess effectiveness of service delivery
  • Risk aversion makes things difficult (same problem in universities)
  • Use social media for service delivery – go beyond using it simply as an announcement service
  • The worst possible social media strategy: “we want a Facebook/Twitter/whatever page”
  • Libraries can get involved in online forums as well as the main social media sites
  • What would you expect from a public library’s social media presence?

Ideas from the audience: Mumsnet, catch kids young, involve community groups, book clubs, humour

Ideas from people on Twitter: Direct contact with someone who can answer queries, not just referral to an FAQ page (via @stormfilled); Up-to-date info & speedy, personal, informal response to enquiries (via @archelina)

Marketing academic libraries in a web 2 world

View more presentations from Ned Potter
  • Social media gives great opportunity to listen as well as post
  • No one cares about the “how” – focus on benefits not features, outcomes not process (in the words of @radfemburlesque: Don’t say “hey, we have books” – say “hey, we can get you a first / make your 2.1 less work”)
  • Recommended sites for Twitter analysis: Twocation, Tweetstats, Klout. Focus on improving engagement stats rather than how many followers you have
  • Use Facebook to rescue buried treasure – highlight features of the library
  • “One minute on… “ technique for making short and snappy videos. e.g. One minute on e-journals
  • Use focus groups to get useful and honest feedback about your service

Andrew Hood from Lynchpin Analytics on Measuring social media success (presentation available to download)

  • Monitoring vs measurement – translating what we’ve measured into “has it worked?”
  • The monitoring challenge: capture, collate, filter, category, sentiment, classify, trend, risk analysis, respond
  • Risk analysis – or opportunity analysis (turn problem into opportunity?)
  • Don’t report on something if you can’t do anything about it – use metrics for factors you can influence
  • Monitoring tips: set up RSS searches and collate
  • Measuring tips: document KPIs, use Google Analytics, benchmark by traffic source & engagement

Duncan Smith of iCompli on Social network sites: managing risks (presentation available to download)

  • Something defamatory + published = libel. Things previously said in private now published publicly
  • Not allowed to run competitions on Facebook
  • Contempt of court: do not publish anything to do with a court case (esp. imp. for local authorities)
  • Employee use of social networks – employees with access should have ‘basic’ legal training
  • BBC’s guidance/policy docs on social media – managers “should not adopt an overly restrictive approach”
  • You are responsible for moderated comments on your blog because you authorised/published them
  • Good idea to have a “notice and take down” procedure – could be just an email address to contact
  • Data Guidance – good for legal info (subscription resource)

A very thought-provoking day… I find myself dwelling on issues of the last presentation in particular.

I would love to think that most employees are intelligent enough to know what is appropriate use of social media (or ask if they’re not sure) and I worry that too much bureaucracy will extinguish the sparks of imagination and creativity that make social media such a dynamic and fun way to reach out to our users.

I’m pondering how to write a titanium* social media policy that would still have enough oomph to be meaningful and act as a useful tool for staff; while avoiding being just another work-related document that you have to sign to say you have read but then forget about**.

*Low density, lightweight but strong.  See what I did there?
**Examples: equal opportunities policy, smokefree policy, use of IT policy, health and safety policy, fire safety policy (I could go on)… all worthy aims but bogged down by documents that can feel more like a noose than an airbag.

Online networks

This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.

I’m involved in most of the online networks mentioned in the instructions for cpd23 Thing 6, with the exception of CILIP Communities.

My involvement with the main social networks looks like this:

Venn diagram of my social media interactions

I’m quite tempted to extract a list of everyone I interact with on these sites and see which sets they fit into, but that might be a bit too geeky, even for me.

I liked @SimonXIX‘s comment on his blog:

Intimacy is also implied by language. In descending order of implied intimacy: Facebook ‘friends’, Twitter ‘followers’, LinkedIn ‘connections’.

I update and/or check  Facebook and Twitter daily, but LinkedIn maybe only once a week.  My LinkedIn profile is there as a placeholder, rather than as a hotspot for interacting with other people, but I’ve connected Twitter and LinkedIn so that I can automatically push tweets with the hashtag ‘#in’ to my LinkedIn profile in order to update it every so often.  I include slightly different information in my bios on each site, reflecting the parts of my life which are relevant to the people I’m connecting with in each.

There is some social mobility in these worlds – you can follow someone on Twitter, at some point meet them in the real life and maybe one day promote them to being your friend on Facebook.

The separation of these spheres allows me to update groups of people differently – I rarely use the same status update on Facebook and Twitter, for example.

I’m on Google Plus but it hasn’t inspired me so far – I quite like the separate social networks that I already have, and I can’t yet see what G+ can do better.  Still, it’s early days.

I’m not involved in LISPN – I’m on the edge of the definition of ‘new’ professional (I graduated from library school in 2006)

Unfortunately CILIP Communities doesn’t work for me – I’ve grown so accustomed to RSS and social networking sites that any site which requires me to (a) go and visit it and then (b) doesn’t show me what’s new since I last logged in is not going to win me over.

I’m comforted by @Jaffne‘s observation on her blog:

There’s a big difference between me being a member, and me actually participating in all of these.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to be part of all of these online networks, and perhaps it’s best to stick with the ones that work for you and concentrate your efforts into those.

Library “Day in the Life” round 6 starts on Monday…

Round 6 of the Library Day in the Life project will begin on Monday 24th January and runs for one week.

This project encourages people working in libraries to blog about their work in order to educate and inform other people about what it is like be a librarian.

Here is how you can participate:

  1. Go to the Library Day in the Life wiki, create a free account and add your name and details to the list of participants.
  2. From Monday 24th January, start recording your week.  You can use a variety of media: blog (use the tag ‘librarydayinthelife’), Twitter (hashtag ‘#libday6’), Flickr (add your photos or videos to the Flickr group), Facebook (join the Facebook group)

That’s it!

If you do not work in a library, you can follow along by reading and commenting on the blogs, tweets, photos, videos and group activities mentioned above.