Twitter Book Chats in Libraries

I think it all started because I wanted to annoy my Library School professor.  She’d assigned us to write an academic paper about a digital information tool like the Google Art Project.  I picked Twitter. Today, Twitter and Facebook are still a huge part of my library career.

Twitter Book Chat: Winter's Bone

For the past two years, I’ve been building a social media presence at Lawrence Public Library that Matt Anderson liked enough to put on both his 100 Libraries to Follow on Twitter and 100 Libraries to Follow on Facebook lists.  Now I’m applying the same treatment at my new library, and I’m pretty excited about how it’s going so far.

All this has gotten me thinking about some of my favorite uses ever of Twitter in libraries. Continue reading

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Going Social to Get Local

My public library has been busy growing a loyal local fan base through social media — we’re up to 2900 fans on Facebook and 2800 followers on Twitter, with frequent interaction and a place for our local community to interact & engage.  One of the best compliments we receive is when patrons say: “I get my sense of community from your library’s social media.”

Early this year we were tapped by the State Library of Kansas to develop a webinar for their “Library as Community Center” series. Since then we’ve also given it at the Kansas Library Association Annual Conference and NEKLS Technology and Innovation Day.

Susan, Jenny and I had a lot of fun showing the shiny personalities that we try to convey through our different social media platforms, and we pulled some of our favorite examples to share: from Captain Ahab on a Date to live-tweeting the NCAA championship game. Enjoy!

PBR Book Club

It might not look live I’ve been blogging very much this month… but actually I’ve been blogging more than usual!  Bookish hipsters all over Lawrence are rejoicing in the launch of the PBR Book Club, an intimate group devoted to beers and pretentious postmodern lit.

We’ve started with David Mitchell’s bawdy and labyrinthine Cloud Atlas, which we’ll be discussing at the Replay later this month, but in the meantime we’re using social tools like twitter (#pbrbookclub) and blogspot (pbrbookclub.blogspot.com) to mull over the experience as it unfolds in real time.

The blog is coauthored by several Lawrence nerds, including myself, @larryvillelife, @courtbelle, and hopefully soon (wink) @mentalplex and @indieabby88.  It’s a little, um, saltier than what you might be used to seeing from me here.  So be forewarned, have fun checking it out, and join in!

Curating Local Twitter Lists for Your Library

List Me, BabyMy public library’s Twitter account has over 1800 followers.  1800!  This fall, a handful of us sat down to brainstorm how to get the most out of our amazing following.

In the end, we came up with three big goals.  First was to pare down the number of Tweeters we were following back, in order to focus on core users and really zero in on newsworthy happenings in our community.  Second, we came up with some key themes or “series” of tweets that we thought would appeal to our network, such as a “new to the collection” series and a “#todayinhistory” series.  And third, we set out to curate public Twitter lists that anyone in our community could subscribe to.

Ever since we began curating these lists, I get more and more excited about their potential every day.  I love that they’re so community oriented, which I believe really builds goodwill and adds an invaluable service that not many other local organizations are situated to offer.  We’re aggregating lists of individuals who have put themselves and their work out there via Twitter, thus leveraging our position in the community to help them be discovered by others who might have an interest in their work.  Some of our local lists include Lawrence Arts, Lawrence Techies, Lawrence Businesses, Lawrence Events, Lawrence Athletics, and Lawrence Bloggers.

My favorite of all these lists is Lawrence Bloggers!  Where else can you go to find a list of local bloggers??  To curate this list, we combed through all of our local followers and identified those who listed a URL in their bio (seriously, we went through 1800).  Continue reading

Everyone Let’s Get Social

Having just attended a workshop where we talked about social bookmarking and tagging, I thought this would be an opportune time to tell you all about a fun project I worked on early last winter!  Two fellow students and I had been tasked with proposing a “digital information resource” — yep, pretty broad!!!  But our group had a strong interest in teen librarianship, and I was riding high on Andrea Lunsford’s Stanford Study of Writing, New Literacy, Content Creation, blah blah blah, and so we easily decided to propose an interactive, social catalog for teens.

Reading Rants Home

If you don’t know much about social cataloging, don’t worry — it’s a phenomenon that’s been gaining momentum over the past few years, and you can read all about the theory and the nuts & bolts behind it in our paper if you’re interested.  Continue reading

Readers’ Advisory 2.0

I’ve already written about why I don’t like Readers’ Advisory here on this blog.  Yet I was still pleased to get a lot out of Jody Wurl and Michele McGraw’s presentation — “Readers’ Advisory 2.0” — at last week’s Library Technology Conference at Macalester College.

Wurl and McGraw kicked off by asking “why should Readers’ Advisors care about Web 2.0 anyway — what does the Internet have to do with books?”  Trick question!  On the Internet, Librarians can go where the readers are and connect with them there.  The Hennepin County Library system, where both Wurl and McGraw work, has developed an online presence called Bookspace (powered by Adobe’s ColdFusion software) where Librarians can do just that — and for popular titles, the conversation often starts before the book comes out, from the moment it’s been cataloged.  Here are some of the other tools they like:

Continue reading

One Tweet at a Time

Twitter can help library users draw the connection between pop culture, current events and library services.  This is what Rudy Leon argued last week during her presentation — “One Tweet at a Time: Developing Critical Thinking, Library Connections & Information Skills with Twitter” — at the Library Technology Conference at Macalester College.  (Her presentation slides are available here.)

Leon is a Learning Commons Librarian at the Undergraduate Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  Earlier this decade, UIUC conducted a study in which they learned that: Freshmen are totally smart! And they will circumvent the system in order to work around whatever they can’t figure out at the Library.  At the time, the Undergraduate Library (UGL) system was extremely decentralized, and Leon and her colleagues were trying to figure out how they could revitalize their services and help students.  Fortunately for Leon, her predecessors had already embedded a Twitter feed for @askundergrad into the front page of the UGL Website, and she was able to repurpose this feed in order to centralize information about the Library in a highly visible location.

Continue reading