The last session of the Library Issues & Challenges track I moderated on Monday was The Next Big Thing, a chance for people to hear the big ideas and big plans of their peers. Yeah, we had Sarah Houghton (San Rafael Public Lib) and Ben Bizzle (Craighead Cty Jonesboro Public Lib) and David Hesse and Brian Pichman (Mokena Public Lib) giving their thoughts first, but then we opened it up to the audience.
And man, did they have ideas. Louise Alcorn of the Des Moines Public Library was our Madam of Awesome and took pages of notes as people told us what their Next Big Things were personally, professionally, organizationally, and what they thought was next for librarianship as a whole.
Here’s what they had to say:
New projects for the kids – tie in with books (laser tag for Hunger Games). Squirrel balls – begin conversations. Let kids do book reports – video, out to QR code. Show Off Technology – let kids use gesture-based software. Traditional gaming as well.
Interactive bookends – mounting tablets – sleep mode will display author names, but when kids touch them, they can read user reviews from their peers. They can also check out books via QR codes. Plays videos on subjects in area (e.g. bears).
Cutting things! Cutting a lot of stuff from library. When we return from conferences, we get depressed we can’t implement all the good things we saw. Sarah is making everyone “earn their program” or display or collection. Make more business-level decisions about what we provide, why we provide them, justify why we have them. We’ve not been good at using data – instead use anecdotal evidence – we need to turn to the numbers and use empirical data as part of our decision-making process.
Jonesboro has also been running their library more like a business. Next Big Thing: marketing and advertising libraries. We’ve traditionally been bad at this. He’s been doing a lot of work on Facebook “a more permanent platform than many others in social media”. Once they Like your page, you’ve already “paid” for that person – you can market to them over and over again. San Rafael and Topeka-Shawnee were test libraries in recent study on Facebook marketing.
Ben shared San Rafael’s numbers during 28 day test run. Over doubled their fan numbers. Within two months, had quadrupled fan base from where it had been after four years online. Is Facebook ad more effective than print ad?
Topeka-Shawnee. 4119 fans after 5 years online, added over 1500 in one month using ads! 54.8 fans/day.
Chicago PL. 8630 after four years online. Added nearly 2000 fans in 28 days.
These environments create a space where you can market and outreach directly to your community.
Audience Response (AR):
Amy Mather, Omaha PL: Q: when they put Events on FB, little response, but when they go into engagement process, they get better response. What next?
Ben Bizzle: Events are a clunky mechanism. People don’t like that. They want to interact with you in ways that don’t interrupt what they were trying to do. If you entertain/engage them, they will come to your page. Speak to them in a colloquial way.
Lucy Ludwig: she works for research science org – 40 content providers, no good way for them to get to content because of mobile issues as travelers.
Programming – in January started programming for Spanish-speaking community. 2-3 transcultural programs, as well, bringing cultures together, focusing on food, music, etc.
New way to self-publish materials – integrating local author ebooks with ebook rollout. Local focus. Hope to get artists, musicians, etc. over time.
Emily C., Suffolk Cty, NY: if you’re having to justify expenditures by showing real return on investment, look at metrics and find ways to measure success. Circ stats just won’t cut it anymore. Programs, engagement with community, etc. are things we need to bring out.
Snow Isle, WA: project for next few years – people most trust info from people they know – community investors and active volunteers. Getting rid of a lot of paper-based PR.
Cecily Walker, Vancouver PL: Hired a marketing person who actually understands social media. Huge project launching next week. Huge citywide event, being handled by library PR department.
Anna Creech, URichmond, VA: figure out why usage of electronic resources is actually going down.
Michael S. asks Sarah: what did you cut that you didn’t want to cut? Sarah: had big music implementation project with Magnitune (DRM free music), now on hold.
Public librarian: they looked at everything they were doing, realized one PR person couldn’t handle it all (public library system); went to e-newsletters, centralized posters (not branch individual). Making people do written proposals for programs, and numbers have to be there.
Moving to more part-time, more non-librarians.
Moving away from MARC, enhancing metadata.
SJSU library school – need to do more advocacy. Her students having hard time finding jobs due to cuts. The people who control the money are not Facebook generation, you need to spend some face-to-face time with politicians. What are demographics of people who control your budgets.
Public librarians: Maker Spaces and BYOD, bring your own device. Wants to hear how to bring such things to academic libraries, where students already have devices, but need help?
John Bramble, National Network of Libraries of Medicine – created game-based wordpress tool to let people get training, and get credit for it.
Michelle Boule – learning more about how publishers actually work by interacting with authors, publishers, etc. on social media. Don’t need to have adversarial relationship with publishers. There is a better way – not sure what that is. Need to do it quick – we’re getting written off.
Los Angeles County Lib – lifelong learning concept. Take to next level. Making library hub of self-directed learning.
Being a platform for local content from the community. Creating downloadable database of music from local musicians, plus create archive of this music.
Jennifer K: learning how to code, so that I can get to the next stage in my career
Whether or not to curate info – questions about this. Creating folksonomies.
Podcasting – looking for others doing this work to network.
SnoIsle – digitization project with their community – they cross two counties. Engage with community, teach them about copyright, etc. in process.
Keeping library’s head above water, keeping up standards.
County library in IN: changing ILS from legacy to open source ILS.
Jezmynne Dene, ID – two new things: reaching out to atypical, non-users, running ads in Thrifty Nickel talking about having consumer reports, gun catalogs. Lock-in gaming nights – 8pm to 8am – for teens.