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Follow the Screener

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When I first became a staff training instructor over 20 years ago, if we wanted to illustrate how to use a particular software or navigate a certain website, we had to take screen-shots that we saved as JPEG images, to which we would add text showing where to click or what to do.  Then we'd import the images into MS-Word or WordPerfect documents.  I wrote training manuals for hospital employees to use payroll software, patient record databases, or MS-Windows programs.  If we were really fancy, we'd prepare a PowerPoint slideshow.
In recent years, trainers have been using screen-capturing software to track their mouse movements on screen that they can incorporate into a video illustrating how to use a particular software or web-based interface.  Of course, my library is just now getting around to purchasing such software, and I've begun experimenting with it.
If, like me, you're new to this screen-capturing world, you might find that the software we use suits your needs:�…

A Million Ways to Watch Library Videos

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Psssst!  Want to know how to get viewers to watch your library's YouTube videos over a million times?  Mooresville (Indiana) Public Library (MPL) might have some suggestions.


MPL serves the citizens of Mooresville and Brown Township (in Morgan County, Indiana), with a 2015 population of 13,044.  The MPL YouTube channel currently has 775 videos that, to date, have been viewed 1,083,122 times.  That's more views than, for example, videos on the YouTube channels of Los Angeles Public Library (99,931), Seattle Public Library (891,944), and Indianapolis Public Library (213,439), all of which have made fantastic videos.  MPL's service population is much smaller than these libraries, but its videos have been watched more.  How is that even possible?
MPL began its YouTube channel in January, 2010.  Its most popular videos include children's songs, children's read-alouds, book trailers, and music parodies.  Why are its videos so successful in reaching an audience?  We offer a…

Slideshow: Using Videos to Promote Your Library

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We have an updated PDF slideshow available that offers some suggestions about using videos to promote libraries.  Click the Slideshare logo below to watch.
Click Logo (Above) to View Slideshow

Facebooking Local History

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Like most libraries, we post lots of pictures to Facebook promoting programs or events, technologies, services, or other information about the library.  According to Facebook's "insights," we "reach" a substantial number of patrons with these messages.  But none of these begins to compare to the patron engagement we achieve by posting local historical photos.
Generations of families have called Mooresville, Indiana home, so there is an appreciation among our patrons of family and local history, which is why history looms large in our mission.  When I began working at Mooresville Public Library a decade ago as our Indiana Room librarian, local and state history was my thing (so was genealogy, about which I knew just enough to be dangerous).  So I produced loads of local historical handouts for patrons to peruse.  At first, these were distributed on paper, but we decided that was environmentally unfriendly, so we digitized the content and placed it in our "tr…

Library Blogs Can Still Be Relevant

I recently watched a webcast of a librarian round table talking about social media, and there was a brief discussion about library blogs.  The panel consensus was that blogs had run their course as a library communication vehicle.  "There're too many out there," said one librarian, "droning on and on.  (He's obviously read my blogs.)  Modern readers want compact content."--meaning, presumably, Twitter and Facebook blurbs.
So, are library blogs dinosaurs?  Can they still garner followers while imparting important messages relevant to their readers? Yes, if the blogger is talking about something lots of somebodies want to read.  (That's rather axiomatic.)  Clearly, I'm no expert about blogging and holding an audience's interest, but, in my experience, I've discovered two types of blogs that have maintained consistently large readership: Local history blogs; andLibrary animal "spokescritter" blogs.Previously, we've talked about resi…

Library Music Parodies

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Beginning about seven years ago, libraries were making music parodies that were garnering huge viewerships.  You may have seen these (or many others we don't have space to include) before, but they're all well worth another look.

Librarians Do Gaga by the University of Washington Information School Students & Faculty (2010)


Libraries Will Survive (2010) by The Central Rappahannock Regional Library (Virginia)


Check It Out (2014) by St. Joseph County (Indiana) Public Library


Librarians Do Taio Cruz (2010) by Suzanne Walker & Mooresville (Indiana) Public Library


"All About Those Books" (2014) by MDIHS Library (Mount Desert Island High School [Maine])

Go Ask Reference (2013) by Rachel Montgomery & Meghan Adams (& Mooresville [Indiana] Public Library)


Monday Night (2011) by Bismarck (N.D.) Veterans Memorial Public Library
My apologies to all the other libraries who have made wonderful music parody videos for not embedding them in this blog post. Find them by searching librar…

Promo Trailers: A Library's Video Promotional Tool

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Social media has become a significant promotional vehicle for libraries.  Posting notices about upcoming programs or new services or the latest cataloged items on Facebook or Twitter can be more effective in reaching your patrons than even your library website. Pinterest and Tumblr are popular places to share what your library is (or will soon be) doing.  Flickr and Instagram showcase photographs of library programs or events.  Most commonly, posts are made to these social media by brief text coupled with photographs or images.
Have you considered using video as a promotional tool for your library?  Promo trailers can be used to promote any aspect of your library, from new collections to new technologies to programs to services.  My library has been making promo trailers (formerly called program trailers) for over seven years, although we have been rather selective about the subjects we've chosen to promote with that format. Usually, they are (1) long-standing, ongoing programs; (2…