Friday, March 30, 2007

What's a nice librarian like you doing in Facebook?

Dateline: Baltimore

Greetings! This morning I attended my first ACRL program--"From Midnight Breakfast to Social Networking and the Small College Library." The speaker was Liz Wavle, director of the Elmira (NY) College Library. Elmira is a small liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1200 students. With such a small student body, faculty and students get to know each other pretty well, and there are a number of traditions that bring them together. For example, once a year, faculty serve students a hot "midnight breakfast."

Liz Wavle and other library staff are enhancing their relationships with students via Facebook profiles--a smart move, considering that over 1000 of Elmira's students participate in this social network. Liz reported that within a few minutes of posting her profile, several students asked to be her friend. Liz uses her profile to enhance communication about the library and to notify her "friends"--who now number over 200--about library events and news.

Liz's tips for librarian Facebook wannabes

1. Be authentic. Share a few personal and professional facts about yourself.
2. Post photos.
3. Be a friend: respond to friends, send birthday wishes, join Facebook groups.
4. Keep your profile updated.
5. Remember that information you post is "public."

Did you know?

Liz says the time committment to remain her profile is small. Since Facebook uses a template, it's fast and easy to set up and maintain a profile. Liz spends a "few minutes" each week to post information to her profile.

Any profile should be about a person, not an institution or a library. In summer 2006, Facebook pulled all institutional profiles for that very reason. However, as an individual, you can include lots of information about your library.

Food for thought

Could LCC librarian profiles help us build relationships with students and help us tell the library's story? What do you think?



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. When I mentioned the idea of having a library presence in Facebook to an LCC library student worker a few weeks ago, he said, "Cool." He told me that our student staff actually have formed a group in Facebook. Debby, in another post, you mentioned some students wanted librarians to keep out of Facebook/MySpace. But it seems like librarians could be a presence there in an unobtrusive way. Students have to add you to their network, so if they don't want to hear from you, they could just not add you to their network.

    I really like how the University of Illinois library Myspace page allows students to search for books and articles, as well as provides links to the Ask a Librarian page:

    Could we try out something like this for LCC Library?

  3. Maybe using something similar to what the Univ of IL has (see Suzanne B's comment) would work well, but for us to have individual accts on MySpace or Facebook wouldn't attract students if you ask me. As you noted in a previous post, "Students prefer to go to librarians, rather than have librarians hunt them up online."