March 29, 2012
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One of the most compelling reasons I’ve heard for libraries to be using social media is the potential to attract new library users from, as Marshal Breeding explains, segments of library clientele that might not otherwise be reached (Breeding, pg. 29). With 45% of the U.S. population using Facebook, it’s a huge opportunity to create new customers, and as Nicole Purviance explained in her excellent presentation, “customers are brand advocates” (Purviance). Libraries need to assert their relevancy, and with Facebook’s absolute dominance in the world of social media, libraries must go where their patrons are. Marshal Breeding, in his article entitled “Taking the Social Web to the Next Level,” understands that social media is a valuable promotional tool for libraries, but believes social media activity should always point back inwardly towards the library’s website (Breeding, pg. 28). Breeding feels that library websites must begin to provide a more collaborative and socially interactive infrastructure.
Breeding feels library websites must provide a balance of inbound and outbound pathways to enable users to get the content they need, while being consistently directed back to the library’s main website. Sites like Facebook should be used to create a promotional and marketing resources that creates interest in what the library has to offer on its website and in the library’s physical space. While using social medial to its advantage, Breeding feels that libraries should be moving forward in creating websites that offer content that goes beyond the usual static antiquated sites that provide little “dynamic engagement” (Breeding, pg. 30).
I agree with Breeding’s claim that library websites need to move beyond mere places to provide access to their catalogs and information about their programs. I often hear negative user feedback about my library’s own website that speaks directly to issues Breeding raises. People do not feel a connection with our library’s website because there isn’t a way to interact and engage it. Those complaints coupled with patron’s frustrations in searching the library’s catalog make for an unfriendly user experience. Breeding offers some specific resources he feels are moving towards a more collaborative and socially interactive library website, but feels it’s only a start (Breeding, pg 30). Despite the article being two years old, Breeding’s point is relevant, and library’s have been slow to move forward.
Breeding, M. (2010). the systems librarian. Taking the Social Web to the Next Level. Computers In Libraries, 30(7), 28-30.
Perviance, N. (2012). “Social Media and Marketing.”