This post follows on from an earlier post about the use of Facebook Pages for Libraries. There have been a number of further developments since then both internally and externally.

Internally, our Facebook page has gradually increased interest in terms of the number of fans it has. We currently have over 200 fans – not a massive amount but not bad without any formal marketing yet. I’ve had verbal feedback from some students who feel it is a good way to be kept up-to-date with Learning Centre services and resources as they use Facebook regularly. I’ll be writing a progress report shortly to take to a review meeting in January. The page hasn’t changed much since I first set it up, but there are many developments which we could possibly include in the future (e.g. Using proxy server for database search applications, a catalogue search, use of Talis applications which are currently being developed). I now have a small marketing budget too so I need to think about the best way to promote the page.

Externally, there has been a growing interest in the use of Facebook Pages for libraries. Over the past year, I’ve had enquiries from various different external staff (mainly from UK academic libraries) asking for information about our project and help and advice with producing their own page. My advice is always to give it a go if you can, it only takes a minimal amount of time and can be used for promotion or to improve awareness of your services and resources. Common concerns seem to be based on privacy issues and the worry that students will see the library presence as an invasion of their space. From my personal point of view, I don’t see it as an invasion of privacy as students themselves choose to view the page and even if they decide to join as a fan they can still have a private profile. Jane Secker recently presented Whose space is it anyway? at a Facebook conference at Liverpool John Moores University about how libraries are using Facebook, and used our page as one of her case studies. Following on from that, I have been asked to write a paper for ALISS Quarterly on our use of Facebook which I’m currently in the process of writing.

It certainly seems that the use of Facebook in libraries is becoming more mainstream, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to be involved in the early developments.

How about you – is Facebook working for you? Does your library has a Facebook Page or are you maybe thinking of developing one? Do you know of any particularly good applications for libraries to use? Please share in the comments. For those interested in what others are doing with Facebook I recommend reading the comments on David Lee King’s post What can you do with a Facebook page?.

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  • Ian

    Sadly. my authority has banned Facebook on our PCs so it looks unlikely that we will have the ability to maintain a Facebook page any time soon. I have had a look at what you can do with it though and I think it would be a great tool for public libraries. I will certainly keep it on the agenda and hope that, one day, we might have a Facebook page for all libraries in our authority. I would be interested to know if there are any public libraries in the UK that have Facebook pages and how successful they are. Have you come across any?

  • It’s such a shame when libraries ban the use of social networking sites, so many of our students do use them to help with their studies believe it or not! You might be interested in Manchester’s Library and Information Service Facebook page, and Dublin City Public Libraries also have one.

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  • Hi Jo,

    I’m interested to see that you have a marketing budget now, have you put any marketing into practice yet for the facebook page, and if so, has it paid off?

    I was also asked to write for ALISS on facebook for january – I wonder if we will both be in there? I’m not sure if the issue is out yet, I really should check!

    I hope things are going well.
    K

    • I haven’t actually used any of the marketing budget yet no, I’ve been concentrating on evaluating the project and am hoping to have a clearer idea of who we want to market to and how within the next few months.

      I’ll keep the blog updated with any new developments, I’m currently coming up with recommendations of how to progress so hopefully soon I’ll have an idea of what we’re aiming for.

  • At Gateshead Libraries we can access facebook on our public pc’s, but not our staff pc’s which is a shame…..So I have to go on a public pc to work on our facebook page! We currently have 33 fans on facebook, we are looking to improve this. I found some interesting information from a Vancouver Librarian:

    http://www.davidleeking.com/2008/10/09/what-can-you-do-with-a-facebook-page/

    As usual we are lagging behind our North American colleagues, most North American Library websites are also vastly superior to UK sites too……

    Any facebook help/idea’s would be appreaciated…

    Andy