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Investigating the Facebook Generation: A Case Study on the Nashville Library’s YA Social Media Tactics– Part II

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.

“Cobwebs”

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.

What’s Next?

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.

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Investigating the Facebook Generation: A Case Study on the Nashville Library’s YA Social Media Tactics—Part I

How is the Nashville Library’s YA Department functioning now?

One of the most important aspects of social media analysis is research; this is where my investigation began. Currently, the YA department of the NPL does hold accounts in the social media world.

On the welcome desk in the teen section, the librarians openly give out these little cards (pictured) with all of the YA social media information on them.

According to the web addresses on the card, the YA department should be keeping up a Myspace, Facebook page, Flickr, and blog.

Twitter is surprisingly absent.

[As a side note, this card looks strangely similar to, if not exactly the same as, those given out around 2007.]

So here’s a basic snapshot of the YA section’s current social media:

1. Where’s Twitter?

Currently, the NPL YA Department does not have its own twitter account. 

NPL itself has an account, but the YA department seems absent. After looking through these tweets, there doesn’t seem to be engagement with the teen age group either.

[The interview with James in Part 3 will shed more light on this problem.]

2. What’s up, Myspace? Is it 2002?

The social media info card lists Myspace first; this, I must say, is a tad disappointing. Are teens still using this site?

Regardless, when visiting the page, we get this:

I’ve checked out this web address routinely for the past two weeks, and unfortunately, there’s not much to talk about.

3. Good effort, Facebook!

With 160 “likes” on the NPL Teen Facebook page, the librarians that keep it up are doing a pretty good job! It is updated fairly often and utilized for contests as well.

[They’re using Hootsuite also! Kudos!]

4. Forgetting about Flickr?

The last photos to be uploaded to this account on Flickr are from October of 2009.

There is some great content there, but if it’s stagnant or obsolete, why advertise it on the cards?

5. Blooming Blog

NPL’s Teen Blog seems like the main focus of the YA Department’s Social Media energy.

According to the web page, NPL YA librarians from across Middle TN contribute to writing YA book reviews for the blog.

This is also an opportunity for teens to submit their own reviews for an opportunity to be published, but they don’t get very many submissions.

Is this because the teens don’t know about it or because of lack of interest?


Summing Up the Current Situation:

The YA department is doing some things right, but there is obvious room for improvement; the library is an incredible tool that needs to connect with this generation of social media junkies.

What’s happening next?

The YA department in Nashville does have some plans, but they also have some opinions on the use of social media.

[Part II and III will give some insight into the minds of the YA librarians!]


Finding A Voice

 

The world of social media can be extremely complicated and overwhelming; there are too many tools to try and topics to explore.

 

What makes using social media worthwhile, though, is first finding your voice, but then building and maintaining it.

 

PR people: sound familiar?

 

Finding a voice, a focus, online is an important step, but once it’s found, what do you do with it?

 

Keep working at it! Build it! Maintain it! Change things up if you need to! Improve!

 

I know that after my Social Media class ends, I will still be trying to keep up this blog, but I know that I’ll be making changes by working on my voice.

 

Sometimes experimenting with new topics is incredibly motivating, especially when responses are strong! However, other times, words may remain stagnant, unseen in this giant vortex that we call the Internet.

 

The only things that any writer can do are to keep writing and developing, but also spreading the word that their thoughts are out there!

 

Find a voice. Build that voice. Maintain it.