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The Library now has over 100 Facebook friends!

The quick accumulation of friends shows, I think, that the community is interested and supportive of what we are doing.  We’re doing a great job of promoting what we do on our Facebook page, and hopefully introducing patrons to some new services and ideas.

But so far, it’s largely a one-way conversation, and the whole point of social media is to be, well–SOCIAL.  If we don’t encourage dialogue on our Facebook page, it’s just a variation on the Library website; useful, but not all it can be.

It can be scary to open things up to discussion–will people criticize us, will they hijack discussions?–but the reality might not be all we fear.  People are used to interactive sites now, with all their pros and cons, and good policies (like our blog policy), can be used to control things if necessary.  We won’t know unless we try.

Some things I’d like to see, on either our Facebook page or website:

  • Brief Librarian profiles, like the ones the Darien Library displays.  This could be optional, but for those who wish to share, it would be helpful for patrons to know some of our subject knowledge, reading tastes, and interests.  We would probably learn some things about our colleagues, too!
  • Including an online suggestion box, RESPONDING, and monitoring it.  As an example, the Ann Arbor District Library has a Contact Us form online, and comments are browsable by topic and/or type (e.g., complaint, compliment, suggestion, etc), and include any staff responses.   Just a bit of browsing uncovered many good suggestions for service enhancements and problem fixes, many of them very easy to implement.  Our in-house suggestion box is too limited, and won’t catch comments by people at home in their pajamas using our many online services and resources.
  • Enabling the “Discussion” tab in Facebook, and starting some discussions:  Favorite book, “Things I’d like to See in the Library, Library stories, etc.  And we can see what kind of discussions our patrons come up with! Again, we can always delete anything inappropriate.
  • Direct links to the catalog, Books for You, the Database of the Month, and other useful services.

The bottom line is that we need to convey not just that we want to help, but that we want to listen.

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