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Firstly, a brief apology for the extended time period since the last post, I’ve been mega busy with work, study and preparing for Christmas (as well as spending a week in Scotland which was more of the relaxing than busy variety!). If you’re interested, I’ll be adding photos of our Scotland visit and a trip to London yesterday to my Flickr and Facebook accounts shortly.

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. Since I first started investigating how we could utilise Facebook for our library users it’s had it’s fair share of issues and hoops to jump through, but it looks likely that we’ll be able to start using it soon. Our University Marketing department now have a corporate account on Facebook and they’ll hopefully be able to set a page up for our department to use as part of their account.

I’ve also been trying to establish exactly what we should use it for. My view is that it should be used as a marketing tool. I know that many of our students use Facebook on a regular basis, and I’m hoping we can promote our Facebook page to them so that they will join as fans. This way we can send them news updates (e.g. Christmas opening hours) and notify them of any events they may be interested in (e.g. our information skills workshops). I hope we can add links to useful sections of the library web pages which we all know are not used effectively at the moment by students (usually because they’re not aware of the material on there), and maybe even add a catalogue search box integrated in Facebook.

There are a few UK academic libraries appearing on Facebook Pages so I’m hoping we’ll be able to share advice and experiences, there is a group within Facebook called Libraries using Facebook Pages which I’ve found very useful to see what others are up to.

Is anyone else out there using Facebook Pages (for libraries or other organisations)?

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  • I think Facebook still has lots to offer libraries, and I’ll be an interested watcher to the comments here, but I wonder whether we’re due a Facebook backlash. The issue with Facebook Beacon is a real PR disaster, and reminds me of the press Google received over its storage of personal info. As a tool, I wonder whether it is becoming too interested in how to exploit its software for business, rather than the user. Will be interesting to see how it continues to be viewed by the user community.

  • Jo Alcock

    Thanks Peter, I too have been concerned about this which is another reason I’ve wanted to get our Facebook profile sorted sooner rather than later. I doubt that Facebook will be around for the long term although I suspect it may well be replaced by new social networking tools. I’d like to make use of it whilst it is popular with so many of our students actively using it, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if this time next year (or even earlier!) we see a massive decline in the use of Facebook.

  • I created a facebook page for our library, but so far not many students are joining. I did a little research and found the library with the highest number of “fans” on their page. Apparently they held a contest to win some tickets to a Broadway performance. Everyone who “fanned” the library was entered to win the tickets. Looks like it worked quite well for them.

  • Jo Alcock

    Wow what a great idea! Thanks for sharing that Laurie. I have a meeting next week with one of our deputy directors and one of the things I’m hoping will come out of that is some new ideas for marketing. As our page is still strictly speaking “under development” (i.e. needs to get the go ahead from the department) I haven’t promoted it yet but I’m hoping to be able to start doing so soon.

    Do you have any ideas what you want to use your page for or are you just going to see how it develops?

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