On Thursday 11th February, I was up bright and early to get the train to Worcester for the annual CILIP West Midlands Member’s day (for non-library folk, CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals).
I was on my way to The Hive, the first integrated public and academic library in the UK. This was my first visit to The Hive and I was impressed by how spacious, light and quiet the building is. Coming from an open-plan building, it struck me that despite being busy and having lots of toddlers around at that time of day, the sound didn’t travel between the floors. On the whole, library users were very quiet! I went on a guided tour at lunchtime, where we saw the mix of library users at work, and the way that all the public and academic resources have been integrated. I think it’s a fantastic way of enabling students and the public alike to access library materials.
The theme of the members’ day was marketing, with the following speakers:
- Neil Infield, Manager, British Library Business & Intellectual Property Centre
- Adam Koszary, Communications & Social Media Officer, Bodleian Libraries Oxford University
- Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive
- Andy Ryan, Stellar Libraries (Winner of the 2015 PPRG Impact Marketing Excellence Award)
The speakers were all engaging and knowledgeable about the topic. I was particularly fascinated by Adam Koszary’s recent viral story about the mouse that got caught in the 155 year old mousetrap. I’d read this story via a link on Facebook to one of the clickbait sites, and it was interesting to hear about the impact it had from the originators point of view!
One of the key ideas from the day was about how blogs should be the social media platform of choice. They serve as a more useful information archive than Twitter, Facebook and the like, because Google indexes the posts. I’ve seen this in action looking at our own blog – 3 of the top 5 viewed posts in January were over 3 years old, via people searching for help on Google. When Twitter ceases to be popular (or exist at all, as speakers were predicting), your blog will still be there. Your blog is a portal to all other forms of communication that you currently use.
Another key point was about how differently you should be using each social media platform. For example, I post here on our blog, on our Twitter account, and most recently on our new Facebook page. I try to mix it up – I post slightly different things on Twitter and Facebook, for example. According to Neil Infield, people don’t want to be ‘sold’ your services on Facebook, so it’s worth taking the time to craft content (behind-the-scenes snippets, interesting items in your collection etc.). Twitter, on the other hand is shorter, more transient, and better for quick news and updates. I think we’ve greatly improved our social media presence in the last year or so – but I didn’t know that Instagram was the most used social media site for 18-25 year olds currently, even though I use it myself more than any other! The question was asked – why are we not on Instagram when the majority of our students are in that age group? There was a lot of food for thought, and I came away from the day with a much clearer idea about how we can grow and improve our use of social media.
Thanks to CILIP West Midlands and The Hive for hosting us – it was a fantastic day!