I’d like to introduce you to my hometown library, the Capitol Area District Library (CADL). CADL is a cooperative library system out of Ingham County, Michigan. There are branches in 13 cities as well as a bookmobile that can be found at various locations throughout the county.
CADL has a very active web presence across multiple social networking sites. You can find them at Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, and their blog. They make full use of what many of these sites have to offer to put together a great user experience.
Content between Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter tends to be the same, varying slightly depending on the mission of each respective social networking site. All sites update actively.
CADL’s blog is the hub of most of their social networking. If you connect to one of CADL’s other social networking accounts, you will inevitably encounter a link back to their blog. The blog allows CADL to have the space to elaborate on their activities in the community. They have various tags that you can reference and sort the blog by such as reference posts, posts geared to teen readers, news, and reviews of books and media.
The blog does not garner much interaction between patrons and staff. However, on Facebook and Twitter, the people who run the pages are very active engaging with patrons. They often reply to comments and suggestions, which makes the user experience very rewarding.
For example, the Facebook page hosted a reader’s advisory event allowing patrons to list the last three books they read and a librarian would suggest the next book they should read. I feel that offering such services within social networking pages is essential to a successful and interactive online community. CADL goes beyond simply presenting information on workshops and databases.
The MySpace page updates using a client, via their Twitter updates. This, perhaps, illustrates the declining popularity of MySpace as a social networking site. The Twitter updates of CADL mirror much of what is posted on Facebook, as well as linking to new blog posts, images on Flikr, and video updates on YouTube. Library staff also replies to tweets sent to them on a regular basis.
The CADL YouTube page is updated on a regular basis with both how to guides in how to use library resources, as well as book recommendations made by staff librarians. These videos, as well as photo content from Flickr are cross-posted throughout their various social networking sites.
I feel CADL offers a successful picture of how social networking allows libraries to interact with patrons. While I have no information as to how it allows non-users to interact, I was a non-user of CADL Facebook page prior to this post. In the past week I’ve kept up with their Facebook and Twitter and I feel so much more connected to my hometown, even though I am currently living in Detroit for school.