The second program in the “Library as Community Center” series was taught by three members of the Lawrence Public Library Social Media Team. Susan Brown is the Marketing Director, Jennifer Cook is a Children’s Librarian and Rachel Smalter Hall is the Adult Programs Librarian. This program was on Wednesday, March 28, from 10:00 to 12:00.
They shared a lot of information about using social media and presented many appealing ideas. But they also emphasized that using social media successfully takes planning, time, teamwork and effective ongoing management. It is better to develop it slowly than to try to do everything at once. Susan recommended a book called “Doing Social Media So it Matters: A Librarian’s Guide” by Laura Solomon, saying it was extremely helpful to librarians wanting to develop this field.
The benefits to a library match the investment. Using social media allows the library to inform and engage the community, to respond to customers, to promote services, programs and collections. It helps community residents become aware of the library as an information hub, an essential destination and a community center. It helps the librarians build mutually beneficial relationships all over the community.
Jennifer shared many ideas on using Facebook effectively to share information about the library and encourage feedback from customers. Rachel shared ways to use Twitter effectively. Then she talked about using it to build relationships with community residents who will become library supporters.
One of the things that impressed the workshop participants was the use of humor and playfulness in the ways that the Lawrence library uses social media to interact with community residents. The playfulness elicits response from the community in a way that simply sharing information would not. But this communication must still be honest, respectful, appreciative and appropriate. It is not wise to post anything on social media that could not be said at a service desk.
Even if they understood the benefits in partnerships, publicity, advocacy, and support, many librarians have considered that developing social media is a lot of work that must be done by already busy librarians. The Lawrence social media team did not deny this. They emphasized the need for a team effort. But they taught that playfulness could be considered an important professional tool, which is a nice idea. And they did succeed in demonstrating that social media could be a great deal of fun.
The workshop slides will be placed on the new “Library as Community Center” WebJunction Page. Information about this program will also be stored there with the archive link.