We started our LibraryYOU public training classes this month. One of our goals with this project is to get our community excited about making this own videos and podcasts, so we are offering some introductory classes. See the full class descriptions.
We have been disappointed by the attendance (7 at online video and 5 at podcasting) so we’ll have to consider the interest level and our advertising efforts. However, the people who did attend were very engaged and responded positively on the evaluations. (UPDATE: The local newspaper advertised our classes with a link on their home page yesterday and our upcoming classes are now filling up!)
Our Digital Services Librarian, Viktor Sjöberg, did the Intro to Podcasting training yesterday and it was so interesting that it made me want to make my own podcast. He started out by recording his voice on the Soundcloud iPad app to show the class just how easy it is to record and then upload a file to the web. My other favorite part was when he took the audio from the podcast he is currently editing for LibraryYOU (an interview with a Holocaust survivor) and showed that a sound editing program (in this case, Audacity) is useful for doing things like adding music to create a mood. It was a short, but powerful example.
Several of the same patrons attended both the classes and it was great getting to know them and their reasons for being interested in online media. One participant works at the nearby Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum and wants to get some videos up on their website. They might even contact us about making a LibraryYOU video of some of the weavers that work at the museum.
Another man was interested in the books we have added to the collection to support LibraryYOU. We created book lists for the classes so that participants could get in-depth information to continue learning. We parked a book cart in the computer lab so people could grab a book after the training. I’ll be posting the book lists on the Tips & Tools blog soon. Be sure to check out Viktor’s post on Creating a Podcast which we shared with the class so they could remember what they’d learned.
I joined a local Toastmasters group when I started LibraryYOU knowing that I would be doing presentations about the project to local area groups (I wrote that step into the grant, so I knew I had to stick to it). Getting contributors is all about talent scouting and outreach and yes – doing presentations. It was a pleasant surprise when I realized that many of my fellow Toastmasters would make excellent LibraryYOU contributors. In fact, a Toastmaster made our first video about beekeeping. The patient advocate is also from the group. And I have other Toastmasters interested in the project.
Successful, ambitious people are often attracted to Toastmasters so it is easy to find interesting people with something to offer their community. They’re also looking to practice their public speaking skills, so videos and podcasts can help them in a way that the weekly Toastmasters meeting cannot. They can see themselves on video or hear themselves on audio. The other great thing is that they are used to preparing speeches and keeping them within a time limit. We like to keep our videos under 10 minutes and with most Toastmasters speeches being around the 5-7 minute mark, some people can just take their speech and easily transform it into a LibraryYOU piece.
Toastmasters is also a great way to network with people outside the library and to improve the library’s visibility in the community. Being part of LibraryYOU means coming to the library at least once to record in the studio. But I’ve made such strong connections that our contributors have been happy to come back and take a training class or get their picture taken for local newspaper articles about the project. I’d like to think that these people, who may not have been regular library users before, can at least now sing our praises because they feel connected to us through LibraryYOU. LibraryYOU is, after all, about our community and the wonderful people that are a part of it.
Our latest LibraryYOU video is “Uganda Safari“, a presentation of photographs taken by local travel consultant and photographer, Bill Williams, from his recent trip to Uganda. It’s very timely considering all the buzz about the Kony 2012.
It’s also timely because Bill Williams will be doing a longer version of this presentation at the library in May. In fact, it was when I had the chance to to preview his presentation that I invited him to turn it into a video for LibraryYOU. It will be a great way to promote his in-person presentation on our website, in our e-newsletter, and on our social networking sites. And while we get a wonderful one hour event, we also get to add Bill William’s knowledge sharing to our permanent connection.
Another upcoming library event is a presentation by Holocaust survivor, Doris Martin. We will be inviting her to do a podcast for LibraryYOU. Maybe the next time a student is looking for resources about the Holocaust in our catalog, they will run across Martin’s personal account.
LibraryYOU: A take on community publishing at the Escondido Public Library
Nate Hill interviewed me for the PLA blog.
Interview: Nate Hill, Web Librarian
Nate Hill was interviewed about his vision for the DPLA and mentioned helping to expand LibraryYOU.
Does digital spell doomsday for the public library?
Ken Hall of the Fond Du Lac Public Library ponders the future of libraries in the digital world and gives a shout out to LibraryYOU.
Only 3 staff members at our library are working on LibraryYOU, but all the staff needs to know about it so that they may answer questions and promote the project (and hopefully be as excited about it as we are).
Here’s what we have done to make sure all staff know what’s going on with LibraryYOU:
- Hosted a Recording Studio Open House
Once we’d completed clearing out the office that was to become our Recording Studio and had stocked it with equipment, we held an open house one morning to give staff a tour. We bought donuts and answered questions and showed off the computers and cameras. Staff who were unable to make it were invited to schedule a tour at a time that worked better for them.
- Scripts and business cards
I made to provide business cards and a script of how to explain LibraryYOU for staff at the Information Desk. I followed that up with an email to staff to make sure they knew the cards were there and to encourage them to tell interesting patrons who may identify themselves as a local author or expert about our project.
- Poaching presenters
Every time I get CCed on an email about a possible program presenter, I pipe in with: “Have you told this person about LibraryYOU?” Some staff are beginning to get the idea and are making sure they extend an invitation to these folks. LibraryYOU contributors are also program presenters and vice versa. A local photographer giving a presentation on his recent trip to Uganda has been invited to turn his slides into a short LibraryYOU video. A LibraryYOU contributor has expressed an interest in giving a presentation on gardening to children at the library. Library events and LibraryYOU can benefit one another.
- Regular invitations and updates
We have an email newsletter for staff that is sent out on a weekly basis. I make sure to occasionally include a little blurb about our latest LibraryYOU content and invite staff to check it out.
We haven’t done this yet, but we will be screening LibraryYOU videos for staff on one of the flat-screen TVs on the library floor. We hope by playing a continual loop of videos in the hour before the library opens, many staff will have a chance to stop by and catch a few videos. Probably a good idea to provide donuts again, too.
Any other ideas? We’d love to hear them.
LibraryYOU has been getting some attention on library blogs recently:
We’re happy you like our project. Thanks for talking us up!
Online video is social – easily shared and easily consumed. I’ve been watching statistics for 3 of our latest LibraryYOU videos and analyzing how people are finding out about them. Here are my little case studies:
Case #1: How to Start Your Own Vegetable Garden
The Power of Facebook
This video came with a built-in fan base. The contributor is the farmer at Stone Farms, owned by the Stone Brewing Company here in Escondido. Stone has a wildly successful restaurant that is always packed and some of the ingredients are grown at their new organic farm. We were so pleased that they agreed to be part of LibraryYOU and they seemed to be pleased with the video because they posted it on their Twitter and Facebook pages. I watched this weekend as the number of views skyrocketed to a record 450 and was happy to see that their fans liked the video. Someone even said a nice thing about our library on their Facebook post:
Case #2: Being a Patient Advocate
Our patient advocate video is a real tear jerker. Our contributor, Rhonda Hayes, shares what she learned by helping both her husband and he daughter through their near back-to-back cancer treatments. Her patient advocacy tips will help anyone who is caring for a loved one facing a long-term hospital stay.
Rhonda embedded her LibraryYOU video on her website where many people have been watching it and linking over to the LibraryYOU site for more information. Her site refers more traffic to LibraryYOU than any other.
Case #3: Quilting Techniques – Foldy Stuff
Our quilting contributor, Donna Poster, was already a TV star when she found us. She had been on HGTV’s Simply Quilts program 4 times. She has a great reputation in the quilting world so her video attracts a lot of Google traffic for keywords like “quilts by Donna Poster” and “simply quilts tv show foldy stuff”. All of our videos are doing well in Google search results (depending on the search words, of course). Google tends to rank video rather high, even if we are using Vimeo and not their Youtube.