Social Media for Libraries


Belgrade Community Library, Belgrade, MT

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for libraries. We didn’t have much money growing up, so libraries represented a crucial source of materials. When I was in grade school, I was photographed in the reading room of our town library in Belgrade, Montana, for the local newspaper. I still remember the picture, that little kid just sprawled in a chair, lost in a book.

Flash forward a goodly number of years, to 2009 when I was filming my board game documentary, Going Cardboard. It was during this time that I made the acquaintance of Scott Nicholson, host of Board Games with Scott. One of his passions was board games in libraries. I’ve got a very interesting bonus clip on the DVD where he explains the marketing side of libraries, and how board games help bring in an important age demographic that libraries sometimes have trouble attracting. He wrote the book on this topic, you know, and you can watch his Gaming in Libraries lecture free, on YouTube. I’ve been inspired by Scott’s work, and have made a point of supporting libraries with my film. I will always supply courtesy copies of the DVD to any library that asks.

Now, flash forward a few more years. The company I work for, Transparent Language, offers a top-knotch language product to libraries (Don’t be fooled by Mango, librarians! Sure, it’s pretty, but there’s very little actual learning behind that.) Not long ago, I came across an article about how social media was proving challenging for librarians. Understandable, it’s a black hole of time and energy, and sometimes you can feel like you’re just standing on the side of a freeway, trying to introduce yourself to all the passing cars, and nobody’s hearing you. We’ve had some really great success with social media at Transparent Language, though, and realized that knowledge could be of value to our library clients. And since by now you can tell I dig libraries, I was delighted to get the green light on writing an eBook for how our social media strategy could be adapted over to the library side.

I’m very proud of that eBook, so when I had the opportunity to present the subject at the New England Library Association conference this year (NELA 2014 in Boxboro, MA), I was excited (and petrified). Look, I’m a functional introvert; that’s why I like social media so much! It lets you be social on your own terms, gregarious and solitary at the same time. But one thing Susan Cain has pointed out about people like me is that we are actually confident and animated when talking about subjects we have a passion for. That’s why I was happy to face to a room of a couple hundred people during my documentary screening at PAX East, and why I had a BLAST waxing social media with those librarians at NELA 2014. They had some wonderful suggestions, and the Q&A at the end became more of a discussion, a sharing of ideas, and there’s just nothing better than that.



We turned that presentation into a SlideShare, so if you’re interested, here it is. 🙂


Libraries seem to keep popping into my life, and I hope the trend continues.

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