This Year’s Annual Report

Why can’t annual reports be cool? Or at least interesting enough to actually read, watch, etc?

That’s what my library tries to do with ours, anyway. For the last two years, our annual report has been video-only. This year, we improved upon that a bit, and did three things:

Here’s our 2011 annual report, for those interested.

Why do this?

We have to create some type of annual report each year. And honestly … people mostly DON’T look at these. Sure, you can mail them to everyone. Print them out and place them in strategic locations in the library. Send them to parter organizations in your community.

But read them? Maybe some people will give it a cursory glance … and them toss it into the trash, like a greeting card.

With our video? There’s enough eye candy there for people to watch, and maybe learn something more about their library, and what their tax dollars are actually going to.

That’s the idea, anyway!

 

Stability Fix in Youtube

Here’s a cool new feature I just discovered in Youtube. I posted a short, really bouncy video (bouncy because I walk sorta bouncy). The video’s nothing fancy – really just me, playing with my new iPhone 5.

Youtube noticed the bounciness of the video, and automatically offered to “fix it.” And it did an ok job, too! Now the video looks really smooth (odd, since I’m talking about how bouncy I walk in the video), and there are some weird jerks as the automatic setting either gets a bit confused or is “catching up” to me. So be warned – your mileage may vary!

Below is a screenshot of what it looks like mid-fix. You basically get a split screen to see if the video looks better, and a Yes or No button for saving the video.

Simple stuff, but sorta cool and potentially handy, too. Check it out!

Youtube Stabilization

High Plains Library District Staff Day Presentations

Yesterday, I hung out with the staff of the High Plains Library District in Greeley, CO. They are a very dynamic, energetic bunch!

I gave two presentations while there – here are the embeddable versions of them:

and

Enjoy!

Library360 – a new Video Series for my Library

Here’s the first video for Library360, a new video series for my library. Our goals are pretty simple (or lofty): to introduce our library’s customers to the library – our services, staff, etc. All the cool stuff the library does that doesn’t always get noticed.

We’ll see what happens!

In the meantime, here’s what our plan looks like for the video series:

  • 3 minutes or under (didn’t quite make it at 3:16, but we were close!)
  • big goal – make the library more visible to Topeka
  • post a new video every two weeks
  • do this for one year
  • ask for interaction (likes, comments, subscribers)

Question – anyone else doing a regular video series for your library? I’d love to know about it!

Hey Milwaukee, You’re Doing it Wrong!

Milwaukee Public Library billboard

Milwaukee Public Library is running an interesting billboard campaign right now. See the image above – that’s the billboard – it’s being displayed on digital billboards “throughout Milwaukee County at no cost” (from their press release).

My three thoughts upon seeing this:

Thought #1: “Yikes! They’re showing their print book bias.”

Thought #2: Looks to me like the public library is telling Milwaukee social media users that they’re doing it wrong. In essence, they’re saying “reading books is better than what you’re doing.” It’s sort of a negative message.

Thought #3 (a bit more here): Two of the three messages don’t really make sense, and one seems format-specific. Here’s what I mean:

  • Putyourfaceinabook and 140 characters? try millions (book vs. Facebook/Twitter): these two don’t really work for me. Twitter and Facebook are online social communication tools; books are, well … things you tend to read by yourself. It’s an apples to oranges comparison. Reading a book is great – but not if I want to chat with a friend, or do some work, or, say, run a revolution in the middle east (all things that people do via Twitter and/or Facebook).
  • You Could Be Reading (book vs. Youtube): To me, this message makes the claim that one form of content is better than another – i.e., books are better than video-based content. Books certainly work well for some content, but a book isn’t always the best choice! For example, books aren’t the best choice when I want to watch the new Van Halen video, figure out how to install a storm door, or watch a full-length movie (all things I can easily do via Youtube).

I get that the billboards are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and that many online types think they’re witty and clever. And I think books are wonderful – no problems there. But I also see a lot of libraries taking wistful looks into the past, rather than actively planning to navigate our emerging digital content future. To me, these billboards are looking into the past.

Things aren’t going to go back to the way they were, no matter how many times we tell people they should be reading a book instead of watching a Youtube video or hanging out on Facebook. Is this the message you want to send to your community? I’m not convinced it is.

Then again, I could be way off my rocker. What do YOU think about these billboards?

Update – Check out Will Manley’s post for a historical perspective on a very similar issue … with the same library, no less (ok, and I’m blushing a bit, too – thanks for the kind words, Will!).