Bibliosaurus Rex signing off!

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In this final post we’ll take a look at a fun method of social outreach that has been around for a while but is growing in popularity in the library world: the podcast. Think your library doesn’t have what it takes to create a series of its own? Well, you’re wrong! All you need is the right equipment, one (but preferably two or more) brave soles to be the voice of your broadcast, and a few tips on how to launch.

Podcasts are audio files of themed episodes that subscribers can stream or download, usually free of charge. One popular theme seen used by libraries today is obviously book discussions. Just read a great book or acquired something for your collection that you think your patrons should hear about? Your show can focus on a conversation about the text – important themes, symbolism, fan theories (if there are any), and more. Want to make things interesting? Invite guests to be interviewed on your “show” who may be authorities on the subject matter you wish to discuss. For instance, if you’re talking about the book Game of Thrones, perhaps you could have local professors on the show to discuss whatever issues you might choose to focus on: the treatment of women in Medieval times, language creation in works of literature, cartography in fantasy works, etc! Be as silly or as serious as you want in the interviews, but have fun with the banter and develop a good rapport with other members of the show and your guests! Listeners will hear it in your tone.

Still unsure of how to make it work? See what these libraries are doing!

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So, what do you need to get started? According to the creators of the “In the Stacks” podcast, here are the basics:

Quality podcasts have music to add interest. This may be in the introduction to make it catchy, or during book passages, which Radio Westeros does quite effectively. Scared by the thought of having to create your own audio files? Don’t be! Music can be found free (or cheaply on sites such as MelodyLoops.

Podcasts can be edited on Mac devices or using online hosting services such as blubrry – a site that the In the Stacks crew uses. The benefit of such a site is that it allows you to check downloads to see how many people are listening to your broadcasts – and we all know how important statistics are to measuring the estimated effectiveness of our social media reach! Once you have it edited the way you want it and uploaded, be sure to upload the feed to iTunes to maximize the reach of availability.

Of course, be sure to market your goings on in other social media platforms and on your library’s webpage, which will not only draw attention to your podcast, but also give you the opportunity to attach visuals to the topic being discussed and add more information that may not have been covered in the conversation or interview.

Now go out there and create some audio magic! This is Bibliosaurus Rex signing off, It’s been fun!

Druda, E., Kretz, C., Muhr, C. (2017). Who’s Afraid of Podcasting? One Public Library’s Leap Into the Realm of Media Production. Long Island Library Conference Presentation.

 

Can Ya Improve Your Posts With Canva?

If Netflix’s hit show Black Mirror has taught me anything, it’s that altmetrics are going to catch up to us in a big way. We may be struggling with how to calculate our social media usage statistics now and pondering what all these big data numbers mean for us and our libraries, but down the road, this will be futile. If the social satire has taught me anything, it’s that all people – librarians included – will eventually have our social ratings openly exposed for all to see. So let’s make our libraries social media rating ready!

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You’ve seen the show…wait…you haven’t? You mean you are not yet having nightmares about your everyday social technologies? Well, you must remedy this at once, I say! But for those who have, or even those who soon will, we will proceed to discuss ways in which you can enhance your social appearance using the simplest techniques. You think Lacie’s life is as blissful as that smiling cookie? That’s sweet of you. Why not give her a 5 star rating! She would do it for you and your library if you put as much care into making your posts as elegantly presented as she tried to do.

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But how, you might be wondering, can your library work on improving the quality of your posts? You’re short on time and your budget for social media is nonexistent. Allow me to introduce Canva. To those of you who are not yet familiar with Canva, it is a (mostly) free website that allows you to turn text and images into stunning, professional quality marketing material fit for any social site. Sure, there are advantages to having some images look raw and unedited when you want to add a human touch to your social media site, but for official events, sometimes professional is better, no? Canva and help you achieve that. Let’s take a look at what the site has to offer.

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As you can see, the homepage presents users with some of the most popular free formats for your social media needs. Information Specialists who frequently blog, populate their institution’s Facebook feed, or create presentations for meetings may find these options helpful, but we’re going to create our own design for an event to show how easily it can be done.

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Here you can see different options for adding flare to an event sign. Canva provides unique font options, free graphics (or images for purchase), shapes for adding pops of color, free layouts (not seen here), and more. Whereas staff might have previously only considered using Microsoft Word to make signs of graphics for social media posts, Canva offers a free solution for making eye catching images for your events announcements and other posts that might make followers take notice when scrolling through their feeds.

Got an image you wish to use in your design? Canva also allows you to upload images if you wish, which will allow you to use it as a background or extra image within your creation. You can add a frame or border or alter the shape of your image as well. Get creative and see what you can come up with to add a bit of artistic flare to your social media sites to stand out and try and get more engagement from your fans!