An Interview with Lisa Schutt: NPL YA Librarian
Lisa, a former high school teacher, now works at the Teen Desk at the Nashville Main Library. Her bubbly and relaxed personality is extremely welcoming, and the teens there seem sincerely interested and comfortable in chatting with her and participating in craft time.
On November 17, 2011, I had the opportunity to talk with her spontaneously about the library’s current stance on social media and its use in the YA department.
Ironically, Lisa explained the main library had just recently had a meeting about improving its presence online, specifically concerning Facebook and Twitter.
Lisa believes that social media gives librarians more access to patrons and supporters than ever before, especially concerning library philanthropy.
But what about the YA Department?
There is a core group of students that come to the Teen section after school virtually every day; Lisa thinks that using social media would be a great tool for “keeping up” with this core group, but there are some issues.
Time resources are incredibly limited in the YA department. Lisa explained that the library has a “social media platform,” but it is difficult to find someone who can dedicate his or her time to it.
She asserted that “unless you go into it with a genuineness,” social media isn’t going to be effective.
The current social media situation at the library, specifically with its Teen Web Blog, has been in “cobwebs,” according to Lisa.
However, there is work being done to correct this, as the blog has become active again.
What are the kids into these days?
With a variety of socioeconomic classes represented in the YA department in downtown Nashville, teen social media usage here is probably an accurate description of the online engagement of teens ages 12 to 18.
Lisa hears a lot of chatter about Facebook from the teens and a little about Myspace as well.
“Twitter? Not so much,” she said.
Surprising? I thought so too. [More about Twitter in Part IV]
The Wonder of Facebook
For the YA Department of NPL, Lisa believes that Facebook is and will be the most useful. From events to funny blurbs and inside jokes, Facebook offers the best possible connection to the teens at the library.
However, this is not the PERSONAL Facebook account of any of the librarians; Lisa, as well as others, want to keep personal life separate from work.
The open communication with Facebook events could potentially increase event attendance as well; according to Lisa, if the teens get to see that their friends are “attending,” the programs will become “less scary.”
Learning from Lisa
The library has a platform for social media, which is a great start, but more importantly, it should be implemented.
The limitation in implementation? Time resources. This seems to be the biggest problem for in social media strategy– time commitment.
Part III will reflect a very different view of social media and the YA Department of the library through an interview with James McClanahan, Teen Program Coordinator.