Online Storytimes by Wake County Public Libraries ROCK

Kevin Smith just pointed me to Wake County Public Libraries‘ series of online storytime videos. Wake County made them to support their local Every Child Ready to Read initiative.

They’re nicely done – go watch them! Here’s the link to their Youtube Playlist for all the videos. The video embedded in this post is an animated sing-along song video … and now that song is going to be stuck in my head the rest of the day. Can anyone say “earworm?”

And something to think about – we’re making digital branches. How are your YA/Kids/teens/etc services represented on your library’s digital branch? Currently, my library’s kiddo population is represented, but it’s sorta spotty (and we have an emerging plan to fix that – our Teen and Tween pages are the start of that). How about you? Some things to think about:

  • Are your webpages focused on kids? Or is it really just for parents?
  • Are your in-house activities mirrored online, like Wake County’s storytime videos? Or craft time? etc?
  • Games, fun stuff, goofy interesting facts? Or … homework help? Probably need both.
  • Older kids (think 13 and up) – social media? That the kids actually use?
  • Staff who know how to do all the above activities, or a way to train them?

How about you? What cook stuff for kids and teens does your library do on their digital branch? I’d love for you to share!

10 Trends Shaping how Content is Consumed Today – #BEA2013

Wow – the Book Expo America conference was busy and exhausting! I’m finally getting a chance to share some notes from some of the sessions I attended.

The first one comes from the final keynote at the BEA Bloggers conference (I was on the advisory board for this). Randi Zuckerberg talked – yes, Mark the Facebook guy’s sister. She has some interesting things to say about content:

10 trends shaping how content is consumed today:

1. You are more than what you write. People want to know the person behind the writing. Your passions. Show the messy, human side of your life.

2. Brands as media companies. We are all media companies. Example – Red Bull can function like an NBC, because they can post articles, journalist-style interviews, videos, etc.

3. Enhanced media. Starting to see that people will pay for what they love, even premium content online. Ed tech as example. I’ll also add Youtube’s recent threat to charge for premium content.

4. More signal, less noise. When we curate content, that’s a really useful thing for our readers. Those “what did you miss this week” lists from some blogs are a good example.

5. Images speak louder than words. Instagram, Pinterest, etc. let customers post pics. Or find your photo on Facebook, and tag it.

6. Think of yourself as an entrepreneur. She’s starting to see things like small startups within large companies. “Evangelist” jobs, etc.

7. The @ reply is the new autograph. Talking to fans makes them feel special – like when an author or “known person” replies to you via Twitter. Facebook chats, too.

8. Gameification of everything. Apply game mechanics to everything. She used the Gym Shamed app as an example – if you don’t go to the gym, it blasts out how lazy you were to all your friends. Or a scale that tweets your weight. There’s apparently a clock that donates your money to charity every time you hit snooze.

9. Video for everything. Newsrooms use Vine to show personality, or behind the scenes glimpses. Live stream from the fashion model out to an audience.

10. Etiquette and digital detox. How do I manage my professional digital reputation? How much screen time is too much for my kid? Not really tech tuff, but more modern living. Step away from the computer type stuff.

Interesting talk!

Design for People

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on responsive design lately (because my library is headed towards that), and that made me think. When designing websites, we tend to design for devices. That’s what responsive design is all about – it’s coding in such a way that your website “responds” appropriately to different screen sizes (i.e., desktops, tablets, smartphones). We design for things: for a desktop; for a screen; for a browser; for a tablet or smartphone.

Nothing wrong with that – a modern website has to work on all those devices, right?

But I also think we need to shift our focus a bit, to where it really counts. And that focus is not on the screen.

We need to design for people.

What’s that change?

We still need to do all the usual stuff – i.e., use great css, work on making our websites responsive, think about screensizes, readability, contrasting colors, etc.

But let’s also focus on people:

  • Put content first.
  • Ask customers what content they want … and then create that content!
  • Answer the why, what, and who questions.
  • Provide next steps and calls to action on ALL content.
  • Make asking questions and getting responses easy and seamless.
  • This works for our physical and our digital branches.
  • What else? Add to my list in the comments…

Simply put – put people first.

pic by Nicola Albertini

Seven Strategies for Growing Community on your Blog

I recently saw this post at problogger.net about strategies for growing community on your blog, and thought the suggestions were great. Here are the 7 strategies mentioned:

  1. Write in a conversational voice. I usually call this “talk like you type.”
  2. Invite interaction. That means you need to ask people what they think!
  3. Consider a dedicated community area. This can be accomplished by creating a forum or a Facebook Group, for example.
  4. Use interactive and accessible mediums. Blogs that allow comments, Google Plus hangouts, etc.
  5. Run projects and challenges. These are basically tricky ways to jumpstart conversations and interaction. Examples include a 31 Days to a better …” set of posts, or a Photo a Day meme.
  6. Real life events. talk about what’s actually happening in your community. Relate it back to your library.
  7. Put your readers in the spotlight. Use guest posts, link to them on social media discussions, comment on their blogs, etc.

I’m curious – anyone do any of these? Which ones are the most useful in your library or blog?

Pic by Chiot’s Run