23 Things Kansas starting soon!

Kansas librarians, pay attention! You might be interested in 23 Things Kansas, a 23 Things program for our state.

What is a 23 Things program? From the 23 Things Kansas website, it’s “a fun way to learn about and practice with online tools for community, sharing and productivity.”

And it’s a pretty cool thing – for January-April, you learn about many emerging web-based tools – some familiar, some not quite so familiar. Each week focuses on one thing – for example, the week I’m facilitating is all about web-based video. So that week, we will play with sites like YouTube and Vimeo, search for videos in video search engines, and some of us will even create videos and upload them to the web. And then some.

Want to find out more? Go visit the website … and don’t forget to register!

Inviting Comments

Sometimes, a blog post or article on a library website doesn’t get any comments. And that’s fine – not every post is comment-worthy, right? But there are ways to prompt, or “invite” visitors to comment … even by using the website’s built-in comment functionality. Let me show you what I mean.

Here are two examples – the first from my library’s website, and the second one from Atchison Public Library. Both of these examples are screenshots taken from the main page of both websites – each a teaser for an article.

Mine first (screenshot below):

no prompting

We let the comment functionality simply announce that no one has left a comment on this post (and darn it – it’s MY post!). We do that via the text “0 Comments.” This works fine – it’s what that functionality is supposed to do.

But check this out – here’s what Atchison Public Library does (screenshot below):

prompting for comments

See the difference? Atchison uses their lack of comments to … invite people to comment. They do this by prompting their website visitors to “be the first to comment.”

I know – it’s one of those little detail-y things. But it’s that type of detail, that focus on inviting patrons to participate, that just might prompt them … to participate. It might just convert that lurker into a more active participant.

Nothing wrong with that – good job, Atchison!

COSUGI Conference in March 2010

Sorry – had a hiccup there. In March, I’m speaking at the COSUGI Conference! OK – I asked the same thing…. “what in the world does COSUGI stand for?” It stands for “Customers of Sirsidynix User Group Inc.”

Anyway, I’m giving a keynote and a couple of executive track sessions – on digital experience design and on reaching out to customers through virtual services (this one with MPOW’s Library Director Gina Millsap).

Here’s the blurb for the conference:

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Three action packed days. 100 informative sessions. 1,000 fellow SirsiDynix users.

Join us in warm, sunny Lake Buena Vista, Florida March 3rd, 4th and 5th for the 2010 version of the SirsiDynix COSUGI Executive Track Conference.  This comprehensive three day information and training extravaganza will have you pumped and ready for an outstanding year ahead.  You’ll get the latest news and product developments from SirsiDynix leaders, while industry movers and shakers share their knowledge and insight.

Find out:

* How SirsiDynix develops new product ideas
* How to get the most from your technology investments
* What makes a memorable digital experience for library patrons
* How to use market segmentation studies to get past the guesswork
* How to stay on strategy in tough economic times
* And much more!

You’ll also have the opportunity to socialize and network with your peers, and actually kick back and relax a bit, too.  And don’t miss the gala SirsiDynix shindig on Wednesday night.  Mark your calendar now, start packing your suitcase…and don’t forget the sunscreen.  We look forward to seeing you in Florida!

You don’t want to miss the chance to connect.  For the Full 2010 COSUGI Executive Track Schedule click here.

Register now for COSUGI 2010!

For more information about the entire conference, visit the conference home page.

March 3 – 5 | Walt Disney World Coronado Springs Resort

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Enjoy!

Stickers or Cushions?

No seat or unintended consequences?Take a look at this pic – it’s at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Denver airport. I really don’t know the why’s behind this sticker, but I can guess. And I’d guess it goes something like this:

When the moving walkway was installed, they made these little metal ledges. Maybe the ledge houses a belt, or gears … maybe it’s just for looks. Who knows?

Either way, as the airport got busier, and delays started happening more often, customers looked around for a seat and couldn’t find one. Then they eyed that handy, seat-sized ledge … and sat.

When airport staff noticed that lots of people needed seats, and were using those handy little seat-sized ledges, what did they do? Did they install more seats? An overflow room? Restaurants with more seating? Nope. They chose to put a big fat sticker on the seat-sized ledge that reads “no seat.”

So – a question. Who do you think airport administrators were thinking of when they created that sticker and stuck it to the makeshift overflow seating area? Were they thinking of their customers, who didn’t have a place to sit? Or were they thinking of their staff? I’d guess the airport’s decision had more to do with themselves than with their paying customers with tired legs.

Moral of the story? Always put your customers first. In the airport’s case – instead of a “no seat” sticker, how about putting out cushions? Work hard to always improve your customers’ experience while using your services, even with the seemingly innocuous things (like little seat-sized metal ledges).

Your customers will remember it and you will be a hero.

Update – Chuck Cannon, Director of Public Affairs at Denver International Airport pointed out that I had the wrong airport. Sorry! Just updated the post.

Widening your Nets, Decentralizing your Web Services

Last summer while at ALA’s annual conference in the Chicago area, a couple friends and I were eating lunch at the Corner Bakery Cafe and saw this ad on one of the tables.

facebook URL ad

The interesting thing about the ad wasn’t so much the content itself (though I’m sure it’s good stuff). We got all geeked out over the URL associated with the ad. Why? Because they didn’t point to their website.

Instead, they pointed directly to their Facebook Page.

Think about that for a sec, because there are some pretty large implications for library web services. I know that many of us have worked for years to centralize all our websites, tools, and services into one place – preferably at www.mylibrarysnamegoeshere.org …. some of us have worked hard to get federated search tools to work on that library website, and have even integrated some of our library catalog content into our websites, as well.

But people aren’t visiting our websites (well, not in droves, anyway). They are going to other places, like Facebook (and YouTube, and Google, and …). And of course we should be active in some of those social sites. But what about pointing directly to those social sites … in an ad? That’s taking it one step further, isn’t it? Pointing directly AWAY from our website … to some social tool like Facebook?

This could work for libraries. If you have a Facebook Page, check out your Page demographics (Facebook provides some basic stats on Facebook Page visitors). Who’s your main audience in Facebook? Doing anything for that group of patrons already?

If so, you might think of taking it one step further, and pointing them directly to the Facebook Page. Why?

  • This group already uses Facebook
  • Your Facebook Page comes ready-made for interaction – comments, discussions, and likes.
  • it can have an easy-to-remember URL (i.e., ours is facebook.com/topekalibrary)
  • For the customer, it’s a direct connection to the library. Once they “become a fan,” they get all your stuff… reminders, questions,comments, etc.

But even better – for us sneaky librarians, it’s also a direct connection to a segment of our customers. But not just any customers – these customers already use Facebook and actually LIKE to interact. If they have become a fan of your library, that means they like to interact … with the library.

So don’t be shy! Spread out your nets … decentralize those web services. Send out status updates. Ask questions. Start discussions. Get feedback about new services. And in the process, have fun interacting with a group that actually WANTS to interact.