New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

One Library’s Journey with Social Media: The Good, Bad & Ugly

Valerie Herman, Reference Librarian at Somers Library

Several years ago, I recommended that Somers Library utilize various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) to reach out not only to our local community but to share information beyond Westchester and to reach others worldwide. After 20,000 tweets, 4,200 pins, and countless Facebook entries, the good news is that our efforts have resulted in recognition of our library as a valued resource “to follow”. Social media offers an opportunity that intersects beautifully with the librarian’s role; after all, curating information and disseminating it to the public is what we have always done, but now we can do it faster, better, and more extensively.
Some tips along the way that I’ve learned include:

•    Use Google Reader to follow blogs, book-related sites, newspapers and other online resources that include content that you may want to share with others.
•    When determining what to post, consider whether the item will be of interest to people who love to read, and don't simply list events going on at the library.
•    Post things that people will find useful – links to databases, archives, etc.
•    Don’t just re-tweet – verify the source first.
•    Stay positive!
•    Follow people who tweet the same kind of information you want to share.
•    Always thank people who re-tweet your posts; re-tweet others often.

Success in social media takes a lot of time and dedication. It’s not always feasible to post during working hours, so a good deal of posting is done at home. It is essential to find a balance between job responsibilities, home life, and keeping up with social media.

Through our presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, the Somers Library community has expanded and our reputation has grown. The connections I have made and the positive comments I have received make it all worthwhile. Follow Somers Library on twitter: @Somers_Library, on Facebook and Pinterest: Somers Library (NY).