#hyperlib Director’s Brief: Goodreads

Since OCLC found in 2010 that the general public still overwhelmingly associates public libraries with books, if we want to stay relevant in the Internet age it only makes sense that we move into the bookish internet. As such, this memo explains why the Hogsmeade Public Library should make establishing a presence on Goodreads a key part of their social media strategy.

Here it is: St. Dennis — Director’s Brief

(P.S. — Yes, Hogsmeade came from Harry Potter. Why not?)

Read 8 comments

  1. I love the idea of using technology to make a connection with books. There are plenty of emerging technologies and new uses of the library, but to bring it back to the basics is a lovely idea. I think GoodReads is also a way to teach patrons some skills they can transfer to other parts of their life: organizing digital collections (lists), working online, providing feedback, interacting online in a safe environment, easing into social media. Great idea and a well laid out brief.

  2. @monica, Thanks for your insightful brief on Goodreads! I’m glad you point out the privacy concerns, too. LibraryThing also offers OPAC integration for readers’ advisory, but LT still seems behind the times re: UX. And if the UI and experience kill it for the patrons, it’s unlikely to succeed, methinks. :-

    Interestingly, OCLC has partnered with Goodreads — I’d need to dig further to see how OCLC will handle privacy concerns, though.

    Also love the nod to HP! Now I wonder how Hogwarts’ Library would handle social media… 😉

  3. Monica, I enjoyed your directors brief and agree with your concepts. People do still think of libraries = books and with all of our efforts to improve services and programming we can’t ignore this. Your ideas to use a tool like Goodreads and making it a part of the libraries social networking is inspiring. Many people know about Goodreads and it could be an easy way to connect them with the library. They can participate and share books they liked. Traditional readers advisory is mainly from people talking about books they’ve read or want to read, all word of mouth. Using Goodreads has a lot of potential and is a good way to build on community within the library.

  4. @monica I really liked your choice of technology! My library has a Goodreads account and I was interested to see your point of view regarding the library’s role and purpose.

    I’m not sure our set-up is very effective. We have the library set up as a “person” but no books are added or reviewed through that account. It is a stepping stone to a “group” which is where all the interaction happens. The discussions are all posted by the main RA librarian we have. We don’t advertise this connection anywhere that I can find though….not on our homepage or on our facebook page. I do wonder now if that’s due to our restrictive policies on social media put in place by the town (we are a town department).

    On a related note, I have a personal experience regarding a patron adding me as a friend on Goodreads I would like to share. The patron and I discuss books often, so when he added me, I thought it would be a good idea. However, it soon crossed some boundaries. He would use it to send messages to me (not all book-related topics) and would get excessive in the number of sent messages if I wouldn’t reply. He then started checking out every single book I had added to my “current-reading” list. I felt like I was being cyber-stalked, I guess. Another co-worker added him as well and has had the same experience. I ended up deleting him as a friend and locking down my profile. He hasn’t mentioned it since our encounters in person but has since added several other library workers (who have denied the request). Curious enough, he is not on the library’s group GR page.

    Thoughts on this? I guess that the experience has made me shy in interacting with patrons directly in the online world, though I understand the thought-process behind “individual librarians should sign their comments.” A guideline I suppose should be interactions are to be made through the library’s page only and not through personal accounts?

    • Jess,

      I’m sorry that happened to you. I can absolutely see the argument that librarians and patrons should only interact through the library’s social media accounts, and I think that’s a good way to fight this kind of thing — and, if a library user tries to cross any boundaries, there’s already a record there that other staff can see and access.

      I also know several techers and librarians personally who us aliases on their private social media accounts so they can’t be found by students or patrons, which is another way to go if it’s something that really concerns you. I think in some cases, it may be fine for librarians to interact with patrons without using the library as an intermediary, but every relationship and every situation is different.

  5. This a great idea! Thank you for sharing! I love the potential for group communication and participation.

    FYI: Content Cafe is an “add on” you can add to your ILS which puts book jackets on your ILS to add visual to your catalog as well as links to book reviews for the patrons.

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