Silence in the library…it is rare but it does happen. The worst is when you put weeks into planning a great program, but no one comes. The reason…they didn’t know about it. We are great when it comes to spreading the word to people in our library, but how do you reach those who don’t already use your services?
Social Media is the new “word of mouth”! These sites are not just for the Teen or Reference Librarian, but are a valuable resource for the Children’s Librarian as well. The website eMarketer.compredicts that more than 17 million women with children under the age of 18 will read blogs or other Internet sources monthly. Five year olds are even learning how to use mommy or daddy’s iPod to access videos on the Internet. People are talking and you want to join the conversation. So where are people hanging out when not in your library?
Infographic by- Shanghai Web Designers
How can these sites be used to promote and market your programs?
The obvious is that you can talk about your program or event on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google +. The key to doing this is to make sure that you are “friending” groups in your community like the local MOMs club. Remember that information is a two-way street and if you expect them to share or like your information, then you better be prepared to do it too. (If your district or system has a policy on social media, you may want to check to see if they have any restrictions regarding who you friend).
Web 2.0 is all about interaction and collaboration about information. Your information should not be static. A great idea is to have a library blog for your youth services department. Don’t just post press releases; tell stories. Use narrative to describe your event and make it personable so that it has impact and sounds interesting to your readers. Post a reading list for your storytimes each week and provide extensions to your program by listing related craft ideas or websites for further exploration. Social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Pinterest are great to use because they organize your links and make sharing and saving easy.
YouTube is a great tool for promoting your event. Think how movie trailers and book trailers highlight excerpts to tease you into wanting to find out more. If you are doing a science program, film a practice session (Great way for your teen volunteers to get more hours in!) and post all but how the experiment ends—they have to visit the program to find out. Remember Reading Rainbow? Record booktalks (either vodcasts or podcasts) for the books you are going to share during Storytime. Post images of your crafts on Flickr with comments of when you will be making them at the library. If it is from a successful program, then when are you making them again?
Every month, the ALSC Blog will feature a post from ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee featuring tools that help librarians connect and engage with their users.
Our guest blogger today is Jennifer Hopwood, a Youth Services Librarian at the Franklin T DeGroodt Memorial Library, and a member of the ALSC Children and Technology committee.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.