Moncton, New Brunswick is a small mainland city of just under 70,000. The Moncton Public Library has a colorful and welcoming website that can be viewed in either French or English. The library has links to its Twitter and Facebook accounts about halfway down its homepage. I’m used to seeing these buttons either at the very bottom, the very top, or on either side of a page. They don’t stand out, but if you’re looking for them, they’re easy to find. You can take a cool virtual tour of the library here.
MPL’s Twitter account has
and includes a small handful of seemingly random pictures. If there is some method behind the photos they chose, it’s a mystery to me. I think MPL (and libraries in general) could do a better job of carefully selecting the pictures they post.
Recently, MPL has been tweeting several times a day. As we’ve seen with most of the preceding libraries on this blog, MPL uses Twitter to announce upcoming events and programs in the library, notices and cancellations, trivia, and link to related articles or images elsewhere on the net such as this barn that was converted into a library. The tone is playful, for example, “Have you checked out our teen blog Your Space yet? Do itttt!!” and MPL occasionally responds to other tweets. I think the Twitter account does a good job of getting the word out, and it seems enough people are paying attention.
MPL has a Facebook page with 224 Likes currently, about half of their Twitter flock. They have a neat photo album with quotations from Moncton Public Library patrons writing about what the library means to them. As with other libraries, there is a lot of overlap between tweets and Facebook posts, which seems redundant and like a waste of time. It would be ideal if libraries had some way of knowing which of their Twitter followers were also their friends on Facebook to determine whether or not it was worth the time to post the same message in multiple places.
MPL makes an effort to engage with their Facebook fans, by asking questions like “Who has seen The Hunger Games movie? Love it or hate it?” But, sadly, they usually get only a couple of responses if any at all.
In David Lee King’s blog post “Humanizing your Facebook Pages,” he observes that popular library Facebook pages are doing what he calls “humanizing” their pages. He lists the following activities that attract followers and generate dialogue:
- Posting regular status updates
- Interacting with visitors in the comments of status updates
- Pointing to stuff that’s happening in the library (ie., lectures)
- Regularly add photos and videos – sometimes hundreds of them.
- They use Facebook’s Events feature to list events.
MPL does all of these things. And while 224 Likes isn’t bad for a small city library, there are very few user comments and only a couple of likes here and there. Both Facebook and Twitter are getting the word out, but are they successful Library 2.0 tools? They might be getting people into the library, which is a good starting point, but there is little user interaction, feedback, or content creation. Once in a while, a library patron will ask a question, such as “I was wondering if there is a photocopier there for public use?” or “Hi wondering if you could give me info on your children’s story times for 1 year olds and 3 year olds. Thanks!,” interactions that are refreshing to see on a library’s Facebook page.
I think that Facebook and Twitter can be powerful tools for simple reference/information questions like the ones mentioned above. But, I think librarians have overestimated people’s level of comfort in asking these types of questions in a public forum such as Facebook or Twitter. But, are these types of interactions even really Library 2.0, or are they the same old library questions in a new medium? I think when we start to see Facebook or Twitter followers asking for programs that they would like to see, that will be a sure sign of Library 2.0. In the meantime, it seems that in the libraries we have visited so far at least, libraries are sharing with their patrons but patrons are not yet sharing with them.