I’m a fan of the social networking site Facebook, I can’t deny it.  It has helped me to get in tough with loads of people who, for one reason or another, I had grown apart from.  It lets me keep track of what my friends are up to, and even reminded me of the delights of playing Scrabble…

…and yet, despite lots of talk of social networking and libraries I have yet to build a Facebook page for my  own library.  Reasons for this are plentiful:

  • Time – as a solo librarian I have lots of other responsibilities, and additional “projects” such as this are always at risk of being put on the back-burner
  • User demographics – the profession I work for has a predominant make-up of middle-aged and over… would a Facebook group get any use?
  • Added value? – would a Facebook page really provide extra value for library users?  Would it be a valuable use of my time on their behalf?

I could go on…

However, that’s all about to change.  I’ve bitten the bullet and started to build a library page.  So, why the change of heart?   Well, the biggest factor is library users.  Whilst digging around on Facebook I found that some members of my organisation had started their own social group, and it had a reasonable number of (young) members.  This got me thinking about librarianship and the importance of horizon scanning and early adoption of new technologies.

Despite the current makeup of my organisation’s membership, the future will inevitably bring new blood, wanting new services and diversity of information provision.  The new generation will expect their organisation to move with them, and to deliver information in the ways they expect, not just sticking with the “tried and tested” methods because that is what has always been done.

A facebook page will allow the promotion of the Library and events that I am running (even offeringthe possibility of booking management made easy),  will allow me to provide regular updates of new resources available to members in real time (rather than just through the bi-monthly organisational publication) and will also allow new lines of communication to be opened between the Library and the organisation’s members – perhaps even members who would not be reached by more traditional methods.

I don’t expect this to be an instant success – it will take plenty of promotion, persistence and [crucially] sticking power before it comes to fruition.  However, the minor investment of time and effort now promises to provide a wave of benefits in the future.

Should it prove unpopular or unsuccessful what has been lost?  A few hours here and there… no more, no less… and I think I can just about justify that 😉

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