Written on: September 29th, 2009 by: in Blog Posts
During part of last week, two Delaware Division of Libraries’ staff attended the 2009 COSLINE annual training event in upstate New York. COSLINE (the Council of State Libraries of the North East) is a group that represents 12 agencies providing statewide library services or support, and the annual meeting is oriented to sharing skills and resources between attendees, and hearing presentations from the creators of a number of groundbreaking programs.
Of course, the responses of large and small library systems to the current economic crisis were front and center in many of the sessions. The New Jersey State Library discussed their tellusyourstory website and their snapshotprogram, which reached out to state residents to collect their accounts of what their libraries meant to them and the everyday value that library programs give them.
A very good session was devoted to best practices for libraries using online social media to promote and provide access to library services. I enjoyed this session a lot, and I asked the presenter to quote me on that.) The presenter gave an entirely practical overview of the available tools and how libraries are using them to overcome their own budget and technology challenges. The Pittsfield Memorial Library in Vermont was used as an example. This very small, rural library actually closed for several months because of a lack of resources and community support. Now, run entirely by volunteers- albeit only open for 6 hours a week- it has used social media to create an online identity that places it at the heart of local activities and the town’s identity. It’s now so successful that the town approved the tripling of its annual budget- from $300 to $900, and with most of it’s technology services based on free or open-source applications, those dollars go directly to library services and library resources!
We had a great example of the power of social media as a promotional tool over the weekend- somehow our earlier blog post about Governor Markell’s humorous response to M.T. Anderson’s new Jasper Dash book caught the attention of Facebook and Twitter users- Sunday is usually a quiet day for blog traffic but we got the most hits ever on the blog on the 27th, and the vast majority (nearly 150) were for the article about the governor’s letter to M.T. Anderson. Most of the referrals to the blog were via twitter and facebook, including referrals an influential referral by Young Adult author Cynthia Leitich Smith.
A twitter search for mentions of the blog article showed that there was a wonderfully enthusiastic response to the Governor’s letter, for instance:
@williamsdb RT @LizB best letter from gov ever @varianjohnson letter fr Governor of Delaware to M.T. Anderson
Del-awesome. RT @anindita RT @varianjohnson Letter from Governor of Delaware to M.T. Anderson
RT @KateMessner: Love it! RT @anindita RT @varianjohnson Letter from Governor of Delaware to M.T. Anderson
so proud of my home state now! Gov. of DE writes to M.T. Anderson
So thanks to the Governor again for putting his name on the letter! The public reception- across the country- was wonderfully positive and it’s also a great example of the reach of our social media tools- not only did we get a positive portrayal of the state and Governor but we also created new connections with authors who we might be able to attract for future events.