Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2017

Facebooking Local History

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

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

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…

Your Very Own Library Composer

My library makes lots of videos, and so we need plenty of soundtrack music to score them. In an earlier blog post, we discussed how to find royalty-free music to download and use in your library videos.  Those resources are fine, but it takes time and work to ferret out suitable music.  Wouldn't it be easier if your library had its own composer?  But where to find one?  They don't exactly grow on trees.
Why not use ours?  Danny Buckley composes original music and has granted my library a limited license to use his music royalty-free, free-of-charge for our videos, provided that we include an attribution credit to him and his music in the videos.  We usually give him two credits:  one as music composer, and the other for the particular composition we're using in a video.
Danny is willing to grant other libraries the same license for their videos.  That's a sweet deal.  If you'd like MP3 files of any of his compositions, please feel free to contact me.

We've made 77…

Video Playlists

Does your library create videos for patrons to watch?  If so, and if you have more than, say, 25 or 30, you should organize them into playlists.  YouTube has a playlist feature that makes organizing your library videos easy.  Plus, YouTube is a free service.
Our YouTube channel playlists are divided into several categories, including: Type of library video (e.g., promo trailers, local history videos, readalouds, singalongs, book trailers, etc.);Genre of book (f0r book trailers) (e.g., biography, historical fiction, children's picture books, children's chapter books, humor, etc.); andMost recent videos.Patrons may then browse playlists for particular subject areas or video types.  For instance, suppose a patron is looking for books about horror or supernatural fiction.  We've got a book trailer playlist for that.

Horror & Supernatural Fiction
(MPL Book Trailer Playlist)

Do you like romance novels?

Romance Fiction
(MPL Book Trailer Playlist)

How about adventure and science ficti…

Making Library Videos: Children's Videos

Some of my library's most watched videos are aimed at children.  Library children's videos promote early literacy, engage youngsters into developing lifetime reading and comprehension skills, and are fun for kids and caregivers to watch.  There are many types you can create, some of which include: Live-action puppet shows, which may include some of the following aspects;Readers' advisories;Children's crafts;Readalouds;Singalongs;Children's songs;Nursery rhymes;Book trailers (for librarian book talks);Live video recordings of children's programs; Promo trailers for upcoming or ongoing children's programs; andInstructional videos (telling children how to use the library's resources, etc.).My library has done all of these (examples further below), but some are more popular than others.  Viewership of our puppet shows always lagged considerably behind our readalouds and singalongs.  This seemed strange, since our youth services staff making the videos (almos…

Program Videos: Boosting Your "Attendance" Statistics

Your library just presented a "one-off" program, and attendance was respectable.  However, you suspect that many people who wanted to attend could not, due to some exigency.  How could you reach those patrons without repeating the entire program?  Video-recording is the solution.
The easiest method is simply to video-record the program as it transpires.  You will need a decent digital video camera (most modern smartphones have reasonably good video capability) and a tripod.  Find a location in the program room where the camera/tripod will have a clear view of the action without being blocked or jostled by participants or attendees.  Start recording the video when the program begins, stopping as needed if there are aspects of the program that don't need to be filmed (e.g., when presenters are walking to and from the microphone, or when backdrops or furniture are moved to accommodate different content during the presentation).  This nearly continuous, single-shot camera sty…

Library Instructional Videos

Instructional videos are an engaging way libraries may introduce new technologies, services, or collections to patrons. Here are several examples.

How to Use Our New Self-Checkout Kiosks by "Flat" Cauli Le Chat (2013)

Auto Check-in at MPL by "Flat" Cauli Le Chat (2013)

Mini-Tour of the Library's Genealogy Web Page by Morgan County (Indiana) Public Library (2016) (Watch FULL SCREEN Version)

Preserving Family Heirlooms by Stephanie Gowler, Conservator, Indiana State Library (2013)

How to Locate, by Maastricht University (2015)

You can have a lot of fun with instructional videos, if you're so inclined.

Taylor Library Self Check-out Instructional Video
by Western University (2012)

Power Up Charging Stations Promo Trailer by Mooresville Public Library (2016)
Of course, helpful instructional handouts are still tried-and-true, but they consume lots of paper.  With increasing numbers of patrons using handheld, mobile computing devices, instructional videos would seem a more environ…