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!

Twitter Book Club

To Kill a Mockingbird

These last few weeks have been pretty crazy!  I’ve been helping plan my library’s Read Across Lawrence festival, which has been on hiatus for a few years but is back with a vengeance this April.  This year’s book is To Kill a Mockingbird, which I’m really loving during my first post-adolescence read — Scout, Boo, and Atticus stand up to the test of time, unlike certain other beloved novels that I wish I’d never tried to reread… has that ever happened to you?  And then there’s Dill!  After reading Charles Shields’ biography of Harper Lee, I Am Scout, I realized that Scout Finch’s childhood friend Dill is based on Truman Capote, who was Harper Lee’s next door neighbor growing up in Monroeville, Alabama.  Crazy!

We’ve planned a lot of fabulous events for Read Across Lawrence (stay tuned), but one of the events I’m most excited about is our library’s first ever Twitter Book Club.  And my first ever, too.  Local tweeps @larryvillelife, @THERaymondMunoz and @nuthousepunks will be using the hashtag #TKAMB to help us explore the hipster dilemma: “what can Atticus and Boo and Scout still tell us about ourselves, as contemporary scenesters?

And now, back to the “Lyla’s disillusionment” episode of Friday Night Lights

1973 Archives: “The Frightening Computer Trend”

Dave Unplugs HAL

Yesterday as I was scavenging historical tidbits to share via my library’s #todayinhistory Twitter feed, I came across this treasure from the August 23, 1973 edition of the Lawrence Journal-World.  I’m fascinated that this satirical piece was published long before the Internet (and especially social networks) were widespread.  Viva technophobia!

To help put this in context: just five years earlier, in 1968, Stanley Kubrick had debuted “2001: A Space Odyssey” in which the computer HAL takes on an eerily human personality.  In 1970, both the VCR and dot matrix printer were introduced, bringing more tangible, enduring qualities to personal technology.  Then, in 1971, IBM introduced the first speech-recognition software (with a vocabulary of 5000 words), and the first synthesized computer voice was also demoed.  And finally, in 1972, the floodgates burst when Atari released Pong.

Yet none of this explains the article’s bizarre fixation with marital infidelity.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW?: THE FRIGHTENING COMPUTER TREND
by Art Buchwald

WASHINGTON – Somewhere in this great land of ours there is a computer stashed full of information on you.  Whenever you want a bank loan, a credit card or a job, this computer will, in a matter of seconds, give some total stranger almost every detail of your life. Continue reading

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

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