social media

Make it Count: Social Media Analytics for Public Libraries

Make it Count: Social Media Analytics for Public Libraries

Of the tasks that can make you go cross-eyed during your off-desk hours, one might be measuring social media analytics. Often, you have more questions than answers. What should we measure, and which measurements matter the most? What do the experts say? How does that apply to my library, and what can I show my administration or board? How do we even know if our numbers are good ones?

We invited Laura Solomon, author of The Librarian's Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media and Library Services Manager at the Ohio Public Library Information Network, to our August webinar. Here's what she said matters most when it comes to social media analytics in public libraries.

Get Outside the Lines at Your Library with Social Media

Get Outside the Lines at Your Library with Social Media

Cedar Rapids coaster

You know your library rocks — but does your community know it? To change perceptions of the library, we need to demonstrate how the library is not only relevant but is also a place for fun and learning. Outside the Lines is a weeklong celebration (September 11 – 17, 2016) that showcases the creativity and innovation happening in libraries.

A big component of sharing this creativity is by way of social media. For a recent webinar, we invited Erica Grossman, creative lead in the Innovations Department at Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado, to share some tips for participating in Outside the Lines. Erica was part of the creative team that developed and launched Outside the Lines and is currently on its planning committee.

You can watch the full webinar here, but here are some of the highlights.  

5 Tech Tips I Learned from ALA 2016

5 Tech Tips I Learned from ALA 2016

ALA 2016 logo

If you've ever attended American Library Association's Annual Conference, you'll probably agree with me that it is two things: useful and overwhelming. I generally try to hit as many tech-related sessions as I can with a few author signings thrown in here and there.

But by the time I get home, I look at my massive Google Doc of notes and think, "Wait, what did I learn again?" This year in Orlando, I tried a different technique. As I took notes, I highlighted the key tech tips from the sessions I went to. I've picked out some of my favorites, so if you too are feeling overwhelmed or were not able to go, I hope you find these beneficial to your library's tech goals!

Shooting for Success: Instagram for Public Libraries

Shooting for Success: Instagram for Public Libraries

Snap a picture, tag it, post it, and voilà: more people in the library! Is it really that easy? At our April webinar, we invited two librarians to talk about how they use Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo social network. Both of these librarians have used creative and downright funny tactics to bring attention to the great work their libraries are doing. Our guests were

We surveyed our webinar attendees to see if they're using Instagram and what they hope to accomplish with it.

  • 56 percent of attendees reported that their library has an Instagram account
  • 88 percent said they want to promote library services and programs
  • 87 percent want to connect with library users
  • 84 percent said they want to attract new library users

Snapping Up Snapchat … Why It's Worth It

Snapping Up Snapchat … Why It's Worth It

Has your library tried Snapchat yet? Over on the TechSoup blog, we scoured the Snapchat world for innovative examples from business, bloggers, and even a few nonprofits. But we couldn't find any library examples. Tell us in the comments if you're using Snapchat or have considered it for your library. 

Two years ago, we asked the question: "Can Nonprofits Benefit from Snapchat?" After using the app and investigating its privacy and security, I couldn't really find much use for nonprofits. It isn't secure enough to send sensitive information to clients or staff, and I could only find examples of businesses using the app.

Recently, after getting more into the app myself and discovering that more than just sneaky teenagers were using it, I decided to revisit Snapchat as a viable platform for nonprofits. I found some creative ways that nonprofits and other organizations were taking advantage of Snapchat's unique features.

If you're not familiar with Snapchat, this is how it works: You can send vanishing photo and video messages (also known as Snaps) to contacts you either add manually or via your phone's contacts. Tapping a camera button takes you into picture-taking mode.

After you take a picture, you can choose how long the recipient can view a Snap before it is deleted (1-10 seconds), add a drawing or text, and then send. Snapchat also has a feature called Stories that lets you share a compilation of your Snaps for 24 hours.

Twitter's Most Useful New Features for Nonprofits and Libraries

Twitter's Most Useful New Features for Nonprofits and Libraries

This blog originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. Libraries can use many of these new features as well so we wanted to share it with the TechSoup for Libraries community. Please let us know in the comments if you've used any of these new features or if your library finds Twitter useful.   

Twitter has had a very interesting year. The social media company changed CEOs, going back to its roots and naming co-creator Jack Dorsey to the executive role. It also made some new acquisitions, went throughlayoffs, supported influential movements (such as #BlackLivesMatter and #RefugeesWelcome), and rolled out some new features.

While there was a lot happening this year, these new features are important to address. Many of them are targeted toward making the platform even more accessible for new users, an area where Twitter is struggling. But a few of these new features and enhancements are quite useful for nonprofits, public libraries, and other social good organizations. Let's take a look at the gifts Twitter gave us this year.

5 Ideas for Your Library's Pinterest Account

5 Ideas for Your Library's Pinterest Account

Is your Pinterest account in need of a refresh or new ideas? Or perhaps you're just getting started in the Pinterest world and need some (p)inspiration? Lucky for you, we just had Lauren Drittler, assistant director of the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System (ARVRLS) and Pinterest expert, on our October webinar, Pinterest for Libraries: Building Community Through Social Media.

Under Lauren's supervision, the ARVRLS has 61 boards and 1,600 followers. She was first inspired by the Sacramento Public Library's tremendous Pinterest account (4,400 followers!). She wrote to the Sacramento library and asked for some tips for building up a Pinterest account. Here's how the librarian, Amy Loseth, responded:

"In general, we aspire to be entertaining, engaging, and educational, just like the library itself."

Here are some of the key tips Lauren shared during our webinar:

1. Create Pinterest Boards That Build on Your Existing Library Programs

Lauren showed us the ARVRLS' Play Date and Lego My Lego boards, which are based on the library's current programs. These boards let your program attendees take their projects or learnings home with them along with related craft ideas or more information on a certain subject. Some other ideas might be a craft board, a computer basics board, or a board built around a book club theme.

Building Community Interest with Pinterest: Library Boards to Follow

Building Community Interest with Pinterest: Library Boards to Follow

Pinterest cake

When you think of Pinterest, interior decorating ideas, vacation aspirations, and overly complicated recipes might come to mind. But a lot of libraries are using Pinterest to build up community interest with boards ranging from reader advisory to showcasing historical archives to promoting library events and programs.

TechSoup for Libraries recently did a webinar with Lauren Drittler of the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System. As the assistant director, Lauren has created 61 boards and has built up 1,600 followers to the library's Pinterest account. Watch the webinar here:

I thought I'd share a few other interesting and successful library Pinterest accounts to check out for your own library's Pinterest goals.

Making Use of Government Social Media at the Reference Desk

Making Use of Government Social Media at the Reference Desk

Dog at reference desk

At this year's American Library Association Annual Conference, I strayed a bit from my usual public library path and attended a session from two academic librarians who work at Columbia University. But like many sessions at ALA, this one shared some useful tips for public librarians, particularly those who work at the reference desk.

Chubing Hong and Tara Das, both government information librarians at Columbia University, discussed how government agencies have used social media to communicate both official and unofficial government information. Hong discussed how the government in China is just starting to embrace social media as a means for communication.

There's so much information out there for librarians on how to use their own social media, but what about how to use other social media for finding and sharing information? And can you use it to answer questions at the reference desk?

Crowdfunding Tips from Two Small Libraries

Crowdfunding Tips from Two Small Libraries

Once upon a time, there was a suburban Chicagoland public library with an enormous dream: to raise enough money for its very own Incredible Hulk statue. And over on the East Coast, a one-room library without running water was dreaming of a more modern building.

Both libraries garnered an incredible amount of support for these dreams, from mentions in popular magazines to shout-outs from celebrities. Oh, and a substantial amount of money too. How did they do it? Through the magic of crowdfunding!

TechSoup for Libraries held a webinar on July 29 on tools, tips, and tried-and-true practices for running a successful library crowdfunding campaign. We invited the librarians from those two crowdfunding campaigns to share their experience:

  • Laura Bartnik, Northlake Public Library District (Illinois) shared how her library used crowdfunding to purchase and promote graphic novels and technology in the library.
  • Mary Anne Antonellis, M.N. Spear Memorial Library (Shutesbury, Massachusetts) used crowdfunding to support a capital campaign to build a new library.

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