Skip to main content

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; and
  • Library animal "spokescritter" blogs.
Previously, we've talked about resident animals ("pets") serving as library ambassadors (or, as I call them, spokescritters). Library animal blogs can become an effective tool in holding patrons' interest about what's happening at the library.  For instance, our most popular blog was "written" by our feline roving reporter, Cauli Le Chat, which, as of just a few seconds ago, had 377,702 lifetime views (my library serves around 15,000 patrons). Granted, many of those readers live outside our service district--I'd be willing to say most--but readers, wherever they reside, become online patrons when they take the time to read your blog posts, and so those statistics count, just as much as for the people walking through your doors.  It's no different than tracking website visits, or Facebook reach, or Twitter impressions.  Those aren't being generated by purely local patrons, either, but they are still recorded in our monthly reports.  They are people we are serving.

Other library animal blogs reflect similarly impressive readership statistics, as elaborated in our earlier post.  These serve primarily an entertainment function, but if such blogs attract an audience, then that's good for the library's online PR presence.  If they like your animal, they'll like you.

Our experience with a local history blog, frankly, surprised us.  Seven years ago we started MPL Indiana Room Treasure Trove, a blog that focused upon local (and some state) history and, to a lesser extent, genealogy.  It has been viewed 133,762 times (as of just now). Remember, we're a small public library, so we didn't expect this level of response.  Perhaps we've tapped an isolated group of readers who are particularly interested in the history of Mooresville and Morgan County, Indiana (similar pages on our website [here and here and here] suggest a rich vein of interest somewhere).  If so, they're not crowding into our Indiana Room to visit in person.

But does that really matter?  If they're reading, we're providing them with information not easily obtained elsewhere. That's the key to a blog's success:  Carve your online niche that satisfies an informational appetite not readily available elsewhere.  That's how library blogs can remain relevant, even if other social media platforms seem to be passing them by.


Popular posts from this blog

"Library Spokescritters" Social Media Success Stories

Previously, we discussed how libraries could use "spokescritters" (i.e., resident animals) to promote their services and collections.  Many of these "spokescritters" have taken to social media as their primary promotional vehicles.  How successful have they been?
Consider Mooresville (Indiana) Public Library's feline roving reporter, Cauli Le Chat.  Her blog, Cat's Eye View @ MPL, has been viewed extensively--as of right now, it has 475,341 viewings.  We saw this graphic from yesterday's blog posting:
Total Blog Viewings (as of February 24, 2018) Cat's Eye View @ MPL
Mooresville Public Library (MPL) serves Brown Township in Morgan County, Indiana, which has a population under 15,000.  Furthermore, Cauli Le Chat officially "retired" as roving reporter early last year, because she doesn't get out as much as she used to (she once lived down the street and would hangout outside the library--hence her "roving reporter" status), and al…

Extending Our Facebook Reach Through Local History

In January, 2018, one of our Facebook librarians began a local history quiz.  It was favorably received, but just as the feature was getting some traction, one of our library's key staff members left, which resulted in a duty shift that compelled us to postpone the quizzes until late March, 2018, when they were resumed as a daily Facebook posting through the present  time (end of May, 2018).
Take a look at our Facebook reach statistics so far for 2018 (click images to enlarge):

That's quite a jump for April and May.  The only significant content change in our Facebook postings has been the daily local history quizzes, so we're fairly confident that the reach explosion is due primarily to that feature.
Here's a typical example of one of our local history quizzes:

Facebook Analytics provided the following statistical analysis:

These local history quizzes engage our Facebook patrons more effectively than any other content.  Perhaps Mooresville, Indiana just has the most intere…

Using the MARC 856 Field for Book Trailers

Book trailers are videos used to promote particular books and encourage patrons to read them. They are comparable to movie trailers as marketing tools.  Book trailers are often posted on dedicated video channels, such as YouTube or Vimeo, or on websites, blogs, or other social media.  At Mooresville Public Library, we place our book trailers on the MPL YouTube Channel, as well as links on our website and social media.
Here's an example of one of our book trailers:
MPL Book Trailer #322 A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
How do patrons discover our book trailers?  A simple Google search (or YouTube search) with the book's title and "book trailer" will retrieve them, along with hundreds of other videos.  Visitors to our website may click links to our YouTube channel or other social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs) that feature our videos.  But these are indirect methods of distributing this type of content.  Is there a more direct approach?
Ideally, it…