Blog Post 2: Hyperlinked Communities

This week we read about some interesting hyperlinked communities and fostering them within the library. I was particularly interested in the Minecraft Community of Fairfield County, CT (coincidently, where I grew up!) because of the popularity of Minecraft at our library. I would say at our location, about 50-75% of the children using the computers after school are using it to play Minecraft! I don’t know much about the game itself, and I never would of thought of making a library specific server for our patrons. It sounds like a large time commitment (I’m assuming a lengthy setup, continuing maintence and monitoring the chat board), but if that much of your community is engaging in something the library can tap into, it sounds like it could be a good investment.

Additionally, I also enjoyed the Instagram article and ways libraries can utilize social media. San Jose Public Library (SJPL) promotes and encourages “shelfies” which are people posing with one of their favorite book, and the “book face” posts where people complete images on book covers, often with their own face.

However, I will say that there is a disconnect in the article between posting content and making sure your patrons see it. SJPL has been trying to improve its branding and marketing over the years (it has its own small department, about 4 people) and has been trying to up its social media game for a while now, posting about all the suggestions made in the article, with a minimal following. All the SJPL posts I do see are primarily “liked” by other library staff members, while not so many patrons. Part of the issue is not having a lot of followers to begin with. One way to potentially solve this and gain a larger social media base would be having a contest about liking and sharing SJPL posts. By having patrons follow the page or share a post with the chance of winning a prize as a reward (such as a book, SJPL merchandise or tickets to a local show) the subscription base would get bigger and then more patrons will see the posts about special and regular events.

Context Book Report: Contagious

For our book report, I decided to read Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. Before choosing, I had gotten a hold of few titles that sounded interesting and read a few pages of each to see which was most successful at getting my attention. Berger’s writing stuck out to me, which seemed like a good sign considering the topic. Furthermore, one the of the other titles I was considering, Made to Stick, was actually referred to few times in Contagious. I found Berger’s explanations more direct

Contagious ultimately breaks down six principles that drive things to catch on, whether this is selling a product or go having a video viral. This includes social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value and stories (STEPPS). The more principles, or STEPPS something utilizes, the greater chance it has at being shared.

Social Currency

People’s desire to share things that make them look good, cool, or in the know. Libraries should continue to follow trends in technology to meet their patrons on similar footing. Offering ebooks and easy to use apps like Hoopla give patrons a taste of 21st century libraries. Collection Bashing & Trashing talks about “paying attention to user interests” and working beyond the collection to serve customers in the best way possible.

Triggers

When someone sees, hears, smells, or tastes something, does it make them think of something else? For instance, if a trigger is more likely something comes up in day to day life, the more people will remember it frewuently. This is why Mars bars sold more candy during the NASA Pathfinder mission to Mars, and one fo the reasons why Rebecca Black’s Friday probably gets stuck in your head once a week and has 112 million views.

When people care about something, they are more likely to share it. People typically don’t talk about “ok” experiences, but the ones that make them very happy or sad an/or angry. The stronger the emotion, the more likely they are to share, such as excitement and amusement, and anger and anxiety. People also share things that are awe-inspiring or surprising, like the now popular youtube series, Will it Blend.

Public

People are more likely to do what other people are doing. The psychology of imitation, trusting the recommendation of others, from personal friends to reading reviews on yelp. Public opinion is also very important, as in the case of Lesson’s From Seattle’s Failed Bid to Rebrand its Public Library. After a survey about the library’s rebrand, a well-regarded newspaper in Seattle, wrote that SPL was “about to blow a bunch of cash on a lot of cosmetic nonsense..” After this, a lot of attention was drawn to the rebrand which followed a public outcry, despite the fact that the money for these efforts came from an outside grant.

Practical Value

Another part of practical value is highlighting an incredible value. Berger points out that good deals, or sale prices, sell more than compared to the regular price being just as low to start with. For instance, customers are more likely to by a $20 t-shirt if it’s marked down to $12, than if the same shirt was priced at $12 to begin with. Furthermore, people use these reference points in relation to frequency. If a store constantly has an “amazing” 70% off sale, people become desensitized and it no longer is amazing.

Libraries can learn from this by marketing themselves more intelligently. When customers see the same programs and materials without a lot of change, they grow to expect that. Alternatively, if a library makes a large push that all of it events are free, this can potentially cheapen the feel of libraries since people will grow accustomed to it.

Stories

Schmidt talks about “unparalleled user experience” to create and connect with users in Services before content. By exceeding patrons expectations, people are more likely to tell their story/interaction with others. San Jose Public Library’s (SJPL) marketing team has been asking staff for their own stories, such as a rewarding moment or even interesting interaction, with the goal of sharing these stories to connect with customers.

Overall, the book was very informative and enjoyable. One of my observations would be that this book explains why certain things catch on, it is not a “how to” make things catch on.  While applying more than one of these principles to something increases its chances of being shared, it is not a foolproof method.

Hyperlinked Library Reflection

For this week, I enjoyed Denning’s Do We Need Libraries, “The computer age is about the change in management mindset enabled by computerization.” I enjoyed his look into the wrong answers to the future of libraries, including “merely computerizing existing services.” For instance, AMH (automated materials handling) machines can be quite useful, but only to an extent. Most of this sort machines help check in and place items in correct bins for quicker sorting, the Seattle Public Library has a machine that actually puts the books directly onto the shelving carts.

 

While this is cool concept, when I spoke with one of the library staff, they explained that they don’t use that feature very much anymore, because the process took too long and it often broke down. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

 

I also enjoyed Aaron Schmidt’s Exploring Context, and his realization that he was the guy bathing in the library bathroom. He ponders the possibility of showers in the library for the group of people who would benefit from this, the homeless. While showers and libraries aren’t typically thought together to most people, he welcomes the challenged assumption and even mentions that a library in Helsinki has saunas. I thought this was interesting because in a previous project in another class, someone pitched the idea of showers in some of the San Jose libraries for these very reasons.

287 Introduction

Hello! I’m Jessica. I grew up in Connecticut, but I now live in California with my girlfriend and two adorable cats my mom rescued. Their names are Apollo and Artemis, but they go by many silly nicknames I keep creating for them.

I’ve worked for San Jose Public Library for almost 7 years now. It was original to put myself through undergrad, but I enjoyed it so much, I decided to take the plunge into Library Sciences and make it an official career. I particularly enjoy working on the committees I’m a part of, Gira de Libro/Library Tour by Bike, Graphic Novel Making Contest, and Silicon Valley Comic Con.

I decided to take Info 287 at the recommendation of a co-worker and several classmates. While I’m familiar with the programs and mission of my library system, I am excited to learn about the growth, trends, and future of other libraries. After iSchool, I’m open to different possibilities, becoming a public librarian would be the easiest based on my experience. But my pipe dream job would be a librarian for an animation studio, as my undergrad was in animation, and I’m aware that Pixar has a librarian. Additionally, working for an art museum, or anywhere else art related is something I’d be very interested in!!

I look forward to working with all of you soon!

Jessica