Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I was wrong - Twitter is cool!

One of the things about being a tech type is constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the tools and resources that are available. At first some things look great but they either don't catch on or there are serious issues. Some other things don't look so great at first but catch on.

Twitter is becoming more and more popular every day. While it's still nowhere near as "big" as Facebook the number of people using Twitter growing quickly and it's becoming a part of the internet 2.0 scene.

What has been interesting to me is how recently Twitter has been used to provide very instant, real time reactions to events as they unfold. Because the length of Twitter messages are short it's perfect for these sorts of democratic, quick, voice of the people sort of applications. For instance, during Rod Blagojevitch's recent impeachment trial, people were able to post their Twitter responses and reactions to a web site while the trail was going on live.

So, several months ago I posted in one of my first blog entries that I didn't see many practical applications for Twitter in the library world. I was wrong and I'm fine with admitting it!

I can without a doubt see Twitter being used in a Teen library setting for instance. Perhaps you could have a web site with several possible events and the teen patrons could Twitter in their votes? During a summer reading program you could have kids Twitter in short thoughts about what they're reading. Perhaps short answers to specific questions to get them thinking about the books?

It turns out that there are a number of creative things that can be done with Twitter. It's a great application if you want a quick and easy way to interact with your patrons.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Some fun things Libraries are doing with Facebook

Here are some of the fun and neat things Chicago area library's are doing with their Facebook fan pages.

On the Chicago Public Library facebook fan page there is a,
• “Ask a Librarian” box with a link to live reference via chat
• “We Recommend” box with pictures of books with links to reviews
• “Free Media” box with links to audio books and movies

On the Skokie Public Library facebook fan page there is a,
• Link to the library’s RSS feeds using a built in facebook app.
• Box with a list of upcoming releases and bestsellers
• Box with a direct link to the catalog. Do searches through facebook.
• Video with instructions on how to use the “magazine and newspaper locator” electronic resource.
• Box with live chat reference using a Meebo application

On the Evanston Public Library facebook fan page there is a,
• Box with pix from the library’s Flickr account.

On the Morton Grove Public Library facebook page there is a,
• Note on the Wall from the “Friends of the Library” with instructions on how to become an active member and help contribute to the library.

On the Oak Park Public Library facebook page there is a,
• Box with a link for homework help that leads to the library’s electronic resources.

On the Northbrook Public Library facebook fan page there is a,
• Box with the iBistro logo and a direct link to the catalog
• Box with information on how to download books from My Media Mall
• Box with a link to email the reference librarian with questions
• Box with links to podcasts with library related materials
• Box with thumbnails of popular books with links to the catalog entry
• Box with info on recording video tributes to President Lincoln that will later be loaded onto the page.

It should be pointed out that many of these links and resources are provided by applications that are built into Facebook and are free of charge. There are more and more of these library focused applications being built all the time because Facebook is becoming so popular in the library community.