The following is an outline of the presentation I gave about Voices For The Library’s use of social media and online tools to develop campaigning methods at “Internet Librarian International 2011” last week.
We are a national campaign group highlighting the value of UK public libraries
Talking about how social media and online tools formed the group and how we have used them in our campaign
We have 3 main online presences – website; Twitter; Facebook
Why did we form?
In Mid 2010 there was an increased threat of library funding cuts leading to library closures and reductions in service. (Currently 430+ public libraries are under threat – out of a total network of 4600+)
People were questioning the relevance of libraries and librarians – common misconceptions included… you can find everything on Google; books can bought cheaply from Amazon; everyone has the internet; all books are available as e-books
Many people in the profession were talking about the situation on library discussion lists and Twitter
This included a group of us (about 7of us) on Twitter, who decided we wanted to do something pro-active, rather than just talk about it.
We did it very quickly – from intending to do something to setting up site/blog with content; Twitter & Facebook accounts took us 2 weeks.
We didn’t have to meet in real life to do this – it all happened online.
Most of us in the group hadn’t met in real life before and many of us didn’t meet in real life for a good few months after the campaign had been running.
Online presence wasn’t the only important thing, but it was the quickest way to organise and had the widest reach
Wanted to support local campaigners
Wanted to ensure we talked to others offline ie library users/campaigners; media
We are doing this voluntarily outside our day jobs and need to do it as cheaply (free) as possible and within limits of time outside work.
Lots of the online tools we use are free and easy to use
Social media tools we use for informing others – our site/blog; Twitter; Facebook; Tumblr; paper.li; Flickr; Foursquare
Provide guidance for campaigners
Comment on national situation
Positive library user stories
Links to news articles, other campaigners sites, retweet other campaigners tweets
Social media tools we use to find out what is happening – Google and Yahoo news; other peoples blogs; Government sites; Facebook; delicious; Twitter; email
Tools we use to discuss the situation – our website/blog; Facebook; Twitter; email; comment on other peoples blogs & news articles; forums
Talk to anyone with a part to play in the situation – library users; campaigners; journalists; politicians; library detractors
Social media tools for behind the scenes – Twapperkeeper; Twitterfeed; Packrati.us; delicious; Google maps (Ian Anstice/Public libraries news); If This Then That; Yahoo pipes; Pbworks wiki; chatzy
Use to discuss, meet, store, share, re-use information
In summer 2010 started archiving tweets containing keywords around saving libraries eg. #save libraries, #love libraries, ’I love libraries’ – as a way to give a positive morale boost – can retweet them.
In January 2011 @mardixon tweeted the tweet on this slide and responses to it caused the #save libraries hash tag to trend worldwide. We got involved by promoting the tweet and retweeting responses by others.
It helped promote the value of libraries and highlight library cuts in the UK.
Most of the quotes on the slides in this presentation are taken from Twitter in response to this tweet sent out by @mardixon
#savelibraries archive now contains 53,000+ tweets.
Not just VFTL campaign using social media – other local campaigns do too.
They also have blogs/sites; Twitter; Facebook accounts
Not just about online presence, but they too recognise online presence has wide reach and can get your message across the world
We use a wide range of tools to pull together info from many places and pass on information to others
We experiment to see what works well and what doesn’t
We thought about how the information flows and interconnects – where possible we try to automate and re-use information eg. Feed blog posts to Twitter and Facebook; Facebook to Twitter; Flickr to Twitter/Facebook; Twitter to paper.li; etc
Not sure how much of a difference our activities have made, but I like to think it’s made some difference
Maybe it’s made people more aware of the situation – library users; journalists; politicians
Maybe it’s inspired people to campaign in their area
Maybe it’s helped to stop some closures/cuts
Maybe it’s made people realise the value of public libraries
Last week we jointly ran a conference with The Library Campaign with the aim of bringing campaigners from across the UK together to discuss a way forward
Clear that campaigners want to work more closely together with other campaigners in the UK
Plans for rally in the near future
We’ll continue trying to save libraries in the UK!