Arizona State University (ASU) libraries employs a webpage aptly named librarychannel to communicate with its patrons. A synonym for ‘channel’ (noun) is network and as a verb, it is guide. This sums up the purpose of the website, to network with its patrons and guide them in their information needs by keeping them up to date with news, events and announcements.
The literature says to use as many platforms as possible to reach its clients. The Librarychannel has links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and iTunesU. Each of these platforms are up to date and have engaging, valuable, relevant information on up coming events and services. It certainly is reaching out to its patrons, and engaging the community, using the networking tools favoured by clients. However, under closer examination, the actual interaction, two way conversation is minimal. It provides several ways for patrons to provide feedback as expounded in the Library Minute ‘The Social Connection’. However, comments on Facebook posts are less than 40%, with most feedback in the form of Likes or short complimentary comments. Statistics show that students do not like to friend Facebook, with 276 fans, this seems a low number for the huge population it serves. For all SN sites and SM tools, ASU does not provide a link back to the librarychannel webpage. This is recommended. Also the link to open the comment box in the main feed is placed at the top of posts and is very small. These might be influencing factors, as it may viewed as not having much importance. It is difficult to gauge conversation, as this may be in the form of face to face feedback. Having a mobile librarychannel app reflects students’ love of all things mobile and is probably a response to demand.
The webpage uses tagging to display its topics, with the print increasing in size due to the number of links associated with it. This social tagging system allows for folksonomy culture among the library staff but does not offer much to the clients other than it is a quick and easy way to navigate topics.
Anali Perry’s content creation in the form of The Library Minute videos are engaging. She uses a mix of graphics, music, text and humour to inform and entertain the viewer. It’s popularity can be gauged by the amount of hits, some videos numbering more than 40,000. This shows it has a community of followers. However, the amount of comments left are minimal, with usually no more than 6 Likes and 2 comments. Now that YouTube has the capability to respond using a video response, more students might like to respond with what the event/news item means to them. With most students having Smart phones, students can easily contribute to the site content creation. It would also create a sense of collaboration, evidence of which is minimal.
ASU library channel converses with it community with unique content creation. Now it’s time to allow the student community to collaborate with them and make it a joint relevant venture to express relevant news and events.
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