Libraries need to accept that mobile is here (and there) and NOW! This week’s lecture was reminiscent of Dr. Sandra Hirsh’s introductory keynote at Library 2.013: The Global Transformation of Libraries, LIS Education, and LIS professionals. In both we get the clear sense that our mobile society is moving forward and wants our libraries to come along. I would even argue that it would be preferred that libraries lead the charge into the next wave of information accessibility.
It is funny, in the tragic sense of the word, that we saw so many examples in our UX kindness audits of libraries failing to recognize the benefits of cell phones as information devices. With so many great examples of how we curate our experiences, libraries (as well as practically every organization) can benefit from having a connected clientele. For mobile users such as myself, we, sometimes a little too harshly, judge locations on their social media presence. Not just what the place in question itself has tweeted, posted, rated, etc., but by what others have tweeted, posted, rated, etc. Can you imagine someone wanting to visit your library and finding out that no one has checked in there? No one has Yelped it? No one has Tweeted about their visit? No one has Instagrammed a photo (Lo-Fi, X-Pro II, or otherwise)? When I worked in the retail coffee industry, it was common practice to “pad the stats”. Even if it wasn’t giving 5 star reviews, simply adding a check-in or a photo built exposure. Libraries need to be aware… let me change that, I’ve noticed I’ve been using the term “libraries” as if to put all the responsibility on the institutions rather than the individuals… LIBRARIANS need to be aware of what is or isn’t being appearing in their social media portfolio. Mobile devices need to be leveraged to build a better public awareness, and in turn, we need to provide users with the mobile content they want.
This weekend the Los Angeles Public Library held an App-A-Thon contest to create an app for their Summer reading program. THEY GET IT! I really don’t see it being very long before Reader Advisory becomes App Advisory. Librarians better be ready for that change and not caught up in the Techno-hesitation.
After years of having an inactive Twitter account, I finally decided to get one and be (somewhat) active. https://twitter.com/YursRevenge
Before I even thought about libraries (and librarians) having an active mobile/social presence, I noticed the local library only had 33 followers on Twitter (the City Librarian was 2 of those followers, and I was number 33), so I wanted to see how long it would take me to get more followers (without soliciting). The answer 91 hours. Less than 4 full days. A couple lessons about Twitter that I’ve learned from this:
- it’s a lot about who you decide to follow. For me, most of my followers came from the fact that I followed @SLISConnect, @sjsuslis, @ALASC, @ALALibrary, @CalLibAssoc, and @SLASCC. The local library only follows 2 library-related users: @ALALibrary and @lompoclibrary (the neighboring library in the system)
- Don’t tweet to people who don’t need your tweets. It would be my guess that those few technical savvy people following the library are probably the ones who get a majority of their content remotely (and thus might likely choose to NOT visit the library). Tweeting invitations to them (and the library employees) about in-house events, is likely not going to bring them into the library. Which leads to
- Tweet interesting things. I’m still learning how to do this, and am probably on the losing end of it. However, I do understand that, especially as a librarian, you should be tweeting about things that show you are in touch with important things going on in the world. RTing great articles about information science, world events, from your peers, or from your favorite authors goes a long way in gaining a following. Simply tweeting an events calendar is, well, as boring as cornflakes.