Why Aren’t You Here?
11/04/2010 5 Comments
In my travels this week, I noted that a certain north-suburban public library had not tweeted since June. Curious as to the reasons for the lapse, I decided I should contact the library and satisfy my professional curiosity. And I still might. Instead, I decided to blog about it.
It could be that the person who was tweeting took a position elsewhere and her position remains open. Perhaps delayed or slashed funds have left the library understaffed and short of time for social networking. Maybe the director has found that they simply have too few Tweeps to justify continual use of the network. Or maybe somebody decided the whole thing is just stupid.
Perhaps I should have my head examined, but I remain among those in LibraryLand who believe social networks are a great tool for not only contributing to professional discourse, but for seeking library ubiquity–for getting hyperlocal. Blah blah, yawn. I know. You’ve heard it all before. Still, one shouldn’t pooh-pooh the potential benefits of these simple cloud tools. They’re free. They’re fast. They’re reciprocal. They can be collaborative. They push programs, services, and your brand.
Yet many astute library professionals, particularly administrators, have yet to bring their libraries onboard the social media boat. Others have made brief appearances on social networks only to disappear soon after. Another suburban library, one whose director is notably proactive about marketing strategies, has no Facebook or other social network presence.
This is the part where I might write, Everybody else is already there, so shouldn’t your library be there too? But I know that everybody is not there. It may often seem like everybody is there, but the digital divide simply does not allow everybody that type of access. Many public libraries serve very small communities or communities comprised largely of poor and immigrant families who can’t afford daily computer and web access. Many of these people have little or no experience with computers or the Internet. Many others have no interest.
I’m not a library director. I don’t manage a staff of programming librarians, reference librarians, techies, clerks and pages. So I’m curious about the practical reasons why libraries don’t use social networks, particularly Twitter and Facebook.
Please share your thoughts and experiences.