Social Media is Outreach

If you don’t have Internet presence, it is sort of like you don’t exist. I know that if I go to an especially cool store or see an artist whose work I really like at a craft fair, I follow-up by looking for their website. If they don’t have one, it is really disappointing. What kind of professional are they if they don’t have social media? On the flip side, there were two awesome speakers at the Missouri Library Association’s 2014 Conference who have twitter accounts. One is an author and the other is a singer. Within an hour after each presentation, we were following each other. It was awesome.

My library has twitter and Facebook accounts for our teens and kids. There are adult accounts, too, but most of my work is with young people and their grown-ups. In the ever-growing cyber-world, I can connect with library users while wearing my pajamas—even when it is not a bedtime story themed day.

3Moreover, it is possible that patrons want to be a part of the library without taking off their pajamas. Not even a full 24 hours after posting on Kansas City Public Library, Central Youth Services’s Facebook page, 521 people had seen the photograph of Children’s Librarian Kristan Whipple as superhero Book Crusher. How many outreach events would it take to connect with that many community members in person?

Kansas City, MO mayor Sly James gets it. He just launched a campaign across social media platforms to promote dads reading with their kids. His office has made a goal of significantly increasing the number of third graders reading at grade level. He explains why this is important to him on his Turn the Page KC website. In addition to all the other benefits of literacy, involving adults with kids in a way that makes the children readers can actually save society the future expense of incarceration.

Big ideas fit on little devices. People carry smart phones and tablets with them. It isn’t like the days of desktops or even laptops where going to a computer was the way to connect. Now, information goes with you. According to a 2015 Pew study a quarter of teens are online “almost constantly.” Shouldn’t we be there, too?twitter

One of my all-time-favorite colleagues is Will Stuck, Children’s Librarian for St. Joseph Public Library. Here is him as Captain Read. So, while students at St. Joseph schools have had visits from him, others can benefit from his super powers, too. In fact, his post has over 100 likes on Facebook and was seen by a whopping 1,670 people. He also has been on the news.

How is that for promoting summer reading!

funYes, I have also gotten in on the fun. I have posted my photo with one of the girls at our library on Kansas City Public Library’s Central Youth Service’s Facebook Page, my personal Facebook page and twitter @kclibrarykids. It was also reposted by @KCMO Public Library who added the hashtags #EveryHeroHasaStory and #SRP2015. Just like in the real world, in the cyber-world branding is a thing. So, now my post is here, too, and you can also check out my profile photo for this blog.

Message for this entire blog: Remember to keep up your social media sites! You represent your library, and, as such, you are also a superhero.

bioAnna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of North Texas and has worked for almost 11 years in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri. She was on MySpace until her sister clued her in to their family’s leaning towards Facebook. Anna Francesca joined in 2009, and has been using it to record the antics of her daughter ever since.

*Anna Francesca is only Facebook friends people who she knows in real life, but you are welcome to write her in the comments section here.

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One response to “Social Media is Outreach

  1. Pingback: What I Read Last Week: « Cassidy B. Charles·

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