Social Media at the Library

Libraries are always in a state of changing and adapting to new ways of providing services to our communities. Anyone who's breathing knows that Facebook and Twitter exist and that some people use these platforms to communicate and connect with other people. So, do libraries need to take advantage of social media platforms to get our message of "access for all" out into the world? "Yes," says the 2013 State of America’s Libraries Report from the American Library Association. Embracing new technologies to improve our services is just the way that libraries roll. Sometimes the upswing is a little shaky (the angst-ridden days of the initial upload of the SC LENDS system a couple of years ago immediately comes to mind); sometimes the experiments don't work out as planned (PC Reservation didn't perform as hoped); but, more often than not, new efficiencies are created through the use of new technologies.

The amount of time and resources available limits our options of social media platforms. In most libraries, staff have to "work in" management of social media into their other responsibilities. That is definitely the case here in the Beaufort County Library system. No one person is assigned "social media management" as their major, or only, responsibility. Our challenge is how to give our community the biggest bang for their bucks.

Facebook and Twitter have a broad reach and are good platforms to share news about about upcoming events. Pinterest is a photo-sharing site that allows libraries to have separate boards for new books, library events, films, and even book-themed art. What "social media" does the BCL maintain?

Beaufort County Library System has a Facebook, Pinterest, and Flickr account.
Beaufort Branch maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.
Bluffton Branch maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.
Hilton Head Branch maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.
Lobeco Branch maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.
St. Helena Branch maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

The BDC creates and maintains active social media sites. In addition to writing this blog, Connections, (at least once a week, but generally several times a week), the BDC has a Facebook page (at least one posting per day that we are open for business), and a Wordpress blog that holds some of our "Recommended Reading" lists on local people, local places, and local topics of note. Occasionally we post images into the system Flickr account. The BDC doesn't have a Twitter account because there is no way I can say what I have to say in 140 characters or less!

Isn't it somewhat ironic that the "dusty old stuff" part of the Library system, that is its special collections and archives unit, the Beaufort District Collection, is so deeply involved in the newest phases of library services, social media.

There's a lot going on this summer so be sure to check us out!

Look in the left hand column on our system homepage (www.beaufortcountylibrary.org,) scroll down about 3/4 of the page to find a button with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Pinterest icons to access to the Library system's social media!