Tag Archives: Auckland Libraries

Social Media Influence Of Public Libraries

The previous article in this series looked at the number of Facebook and Twitter followers of New Zealand public libraries.

The number of followers or likes provides a simple measure of a library’s social media success. But it doesn’t tell you how effectively you are engaging with them. There are several tools that can help you measure your level of influence, with Klout.com being the most popular at the moment.

Klout measures your social media influence across the three biggest social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, and assigns a Klout score from 1 to 100 based on your ability to drive action. Aaron Tay analysed the most influential libraries on Twitter using Klout, but didn’t include New Zealand libraries, so here they are:

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As you can see the top 5 are:

  1. Christchurch City Libraries – by Aaron Tay’s ranking, Christchurch would rank well within the top 10 of all libraries, which is no easy accomplishment. Alison Wallbutton wrote an article earlier this year on Christchurch’s Twitter strategy which provides some really useful starting points for libraries to consider.
  2. Auckland Libraries – I think they’re still finding their feet after the transition into a super city and merging several Facebook and Twitter accounts into one will have affected their score. Klout also doesn’t appear to have recognised their Facebook presence so I’d be disappointed if their Klout score wasn’t above 50 before the end of the year.
  3. Wellington City Libraries – a strong Facebook presence with lots of engagement but it doesn’t seem to have been linked to their Klout.com profile. Expect a higher rating next time.
  4. Waimakariri District Libraries – a surprise for the top 5 especially as they only have a Twitter presence. However their Twitter presence is unique. At least once a day they tweet the first lines from a book with a link to their catalogue  - “follow our firstlines and let a book hook you“. Simple and obviously influential.
  5. Central Hawkes Bay Libraries – and just pipping Dunedin too. I found it very difficult to find their Facebook page which happens to be a profile rather than a business page (for the differences, click here). They were the only library to have a profile rather than a business page, and as such this may have influenced their Klout score.

I did consider writing my next article on some best practice social media tips but decided there was enough food for thought here. If you would like to discuss how your library could improve its social media presence please do get in touch.

New Zealand Public Libraries: Social Media Supporters

This is the first of three posts on social media supporters of New Zealand public libraries that will be published over the coming three weeks.

According to Neilsen’s 2010 Social Media Report, 1.8 million New Zealanders are interacting via social media sites. 79% list Facebook as their main social networking platform up from just 19% in 2007. Twitter is also gaining traction with 11% having a Twitter profile and 44% of these following company’s or brands.

So with social media participation occurring at such a rapid rate, how do New Zealand Libraries fare? I decided to find out, by evaluating our public libraries’ support amongst the two most popular social media networking sites – Facebook and Twitter.

I used the list of public libraries found on Public Libraries of New Zealand, and then systematically searched both Facebook and Twitter for organisation accounts to determine the number of “likes” and “followers” respectively.

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The image above provides a crude count of social media supporters split between the North and South Island (nothing wrong with a bit of rivalry :)).

Auckland Libraries, the largest public library system in New Zealand, ranks 3rd in the number social media supporters against libraries in the North Island. Perhaps this is to be expected, given that they have recently transitioned from multiple library systems into one giant supercity. Although, I don’t know if they would have fared any better in pre-supercity times.

Palmerston North City Libraries has a solid number of supporters, but South Island public libraries are leading the way. Although small in number, they have a greater average following of social media supporters than North Island libraries.

Less than 30% of New Zealand public libraries have a Facebook presence, and fewer than 25% have a Twitter presence. I’m disappointed (but sadly not surprised) by the overall number of social media supporters, suggesting that most libraries have dipped their toes into the water without an overall strategy, implementation plan, or monitoring process.

Do these numbers reflect your expectations?

Next week: Social Media Supporters by individual public libraries.

Auckland Libraries: A Good News Story

Last night, about 50 people visited the newly opened Manukau Library and Research Centre to hear Auckland Libraries Manager, Allison Dobbie talk about her role at the helm of New Zealand’s newest and largest public library system (and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere).

Less than two years ago (7 April 2009) the New Zealand Government decided to create one unitary authority in Auckland and as a result the public libraries of seven former councils in the Auckland region amalgamated and became Auckland Libraries on 1 November 2010.

As you can imagine transitioning seven council systems into one is by no means an easy feat, but libraries had a huge advantage, eLGAR – where five of the seven libraries had already worked as a consortium to purchase and install a shared library management system. With an intimate knowledge of each other and strong working relationships already established the seven library systems developed three core deliverables for 1 November 2010:

  1. a seamless transition
  2. existing service levels maintained
  3. no compromise to customer service quality

As a result when 1 November rolled around, libraries were recognised by Council and residents as a true success story.

Residents and ratepayers can now:

  • access one collection (with harmonised lending fees)
  • borrow from anywhere and return anywhere
  • have their reserved items delivered to their library of choice

Many customers have delightedly exclaimed the benefits of “borrow anywhere, return anywhere”, and the speed at which this happens (holds are often delivered the next day). Library staff in the audience also commented that they are no longer wallflowers at social events, but the centre of attention as customers extol the virtues of the new Auckland Libraries.

Two residents have gone so far as to challenge themselves to visit all 55 libraries within a year, and sharing their unique perspectives of libraries here and here. Their insights provide an invaluable contribution towards helping Auckland Libraries deliver the best services possible.

The popularity of “borrow anywhere, return anywhere” has created additional urgencies for Auckland Libraries that they weren’t anticipating they would need to address so quickly – moving all libraries to RFID as soon as possible, changing courier routes to ensure speedy delivery, and floating more of the collection to improve access. Plus there’s still the need to create one library culture while respecting local differences, determine overall strategic priorities, and identify service gaps that may have been overlooked. It’s a long “to-do” list but Allison knows that with the expertise and support of all library staff, it can be achieved.

With what has been accomplished in less than two years, I have no doubt that great things will continue to happen.


A Latitude of Libraries – An Interview

This Q-and-A is with Claire Gummer, author of A Latitude of Libraries.

What prompted you to start A Latitude of Libraries?
I’ve always relished information and ideas, and as an Aucklander I’m excited about the way the region-wide public library network now makes them more accessible and extends the boundaries of my world. My books come from a greater variety of places than before, they cost me nothing to reserve, and I can go into a North Shore library to borrow without fraudulently using someone else’s membership card. And though I’ve lived in Auckland all my life, there are great swathes of it that I don’t know. The newly created “supercity”, regardless of my other feelings about it, inspires me to explore Auckland communities I’m less familiar with. These things, together with my interest in communication, gave me the incentive to blog.

I like how you’ve used the term Latitude of Libraries as a collective noun to describe the breadth and depth of what libraries have to offer, is this what you intend to use your blog for?
The blog has “55 libraries” in the subtitle and those bricks-and-mortar facilities will be a focus, but I’m also interested in resources that may be less well known, such as the Digital Library. I’ve skited about that in my first post, mentioning the online access members have to the Oxford English Dictionary and Encyclopaedia Britannica. Latitude is something I want to give myself in blogging, too. For instance, visiting a particular library or locality may lead me to ponder some broader aspect of libraries or life in general.

What do you hope your readers will gain or learn from following your blog?
I hope those of us who use libraries can increase our appreciation of the diverse things they offer, discovering more about how they support their communities and how we can reciprocate. If library staff are part of a developing readership, I hope they find something of interest.

Have you decided which library you’ll visit first? And do you have an itinerary?
I have; I’ll just say that it’s beyond the bounds of the former Auckland City (where I’ve always lived). No itinerary, though. I thought of going from A to Z or near to far, but it’ll be more fun to mix it up. Maybe I can cadge a ride with a mobile library one day.

What’s the best and worst library experience you’ve had?
Though my career has taken me elsewhere, as a student I had brief stints in holiday jobs at the Auckland Central Library, mostly in the then Social Sciences Department. At the end of my first week the wonderful HOD Miss Ridling had me, a 17 year-old, staffing the entire library’s information desk on my own for about an hour. It was an incredible adrenaline surge in those pre-internet days; I felt I was driving the library — and I learned a tremendous amount by working there. The worst experience, also at Central, could have been several weeks of moving a lot of very dirty books (dusty and cobwebby, not pornographic) around the basement — but actually that wasn’t half as bad as one or two exceptionally nasty library patrons I encountered.

Have you visited any libraries outside Auckland? How do they compare?
Not recently, except online. That experience suggests to me that some libraries make their online resources easier to find than Auckland does.

What is the “next big thing” that you’d like to see happen in libraries/reading/books?
There’s so much razzmatazz about ebooks, it’s easy to tire of it. I sometimes wish printed books had an electronic search facility combining the strengths of MS Word advanced searches with those of PDFs — but readers would need particular skills to use them, and anyway you can’t beat a professionally prepared index. So perhaps the “next big thing” I’d like is to see real appreciation for the skills and professionalism of people such as indexers, librarians and editors who work with books and other information. (Statement of interest: I’m an editor!)

If you just had one piece of advice for the manager of Auckland Libraries, what would it be?
The website (and I’m talking of my experience of the Auckland City Libraries site as it has been for some years) seems to me like a 4WD that can cover just about any terrain. It has multiple features, but it can be hard for drivers to navigate or even to decipher the instrument panel. I’d love the libraries to make it clearer for members of the public, though never with the idea of replacing trained librarians. I found out by accident yesterday (in a catalogue search!) that some Auckland libraries offer a “book a librarian” scheme, with 30-minute sessions helping people get to grips with library research and the like. Maybe if that were more widely known, more of us would learn how to use the libraries’ website fully.

Do you have a favourite blog or blogger?
One of my favourites — and it’s my favourite library-related website of any kind — is the Christchurch City Libraries blog. The team coverage of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival puts others to shame — and it’s not even those bloggers’ home turf. The CCL blog is the source of a Lionel Shriver quote I feature on my blog profile: “Libraries are expressions of social generosity.”

What are you reading at the moment?
Julia Darling’s funny, poignant debut novel from 13 years ago, Crocodile Soup, which reminds me a little of Ali Smith novels that I’ve read. It’s in the central city’s basement and out on loan from Waiuku (not to me — I’m reading my own copy). Before that, I read a book by a New Zealand linguist about our variety of English.

Auckland Libraries Super Tour 2011 – An Interview

This Q-and-A is with Wendy Youens, author of Auckland Libraries Super Tour 2011.

Auckland Libraries Super Tour 2011 is such a great idea, how did you come up with it?
I saw an Auckand Libraries brochure about the new system with a list of their libraries on the back and thought it would be good to visit them all. Then I thought that maybe I should write a blog as there are bound to be other bookworms like me interested. It’s also a good way to see more of Auckland.

You’ve just completed your first article, what response have you had?
Actually, I’ve been surprised by the number of responses! I thought it would just be my friends who’d be interested, but I’ve had so many more comments than I expected. Most people say that they’d love to do a tour as well and others are really excited by using their new libraries.

I noticed that you tweeted asking for suggestions as to which library to visit next, does that mean you don’t have a planned itinerary?
I decided not to follow a pattern but to decide each week which library to visit. That way it’ll be a bit more of an adventure and it’ll also be a surprise for my readers.

How did you decide what to write about when you visited Albany Library?
I visit a library as I normally would.  I’m a “pick ‘n’ mix” library user and don’t usually know what I’m going to come out with so I take a look around and see what I notice. And that’s what happened at Albany.

What do you hope people who follow you on tour will get from reading of your adventures?
I hope it it encourages people to see more of Auckland and perhaps inspires them to also use Auckland Libraries. I also hope that for readers outside of Auckland that they are want to explore more of their local library, afterall where else can you get free books? Maybe others will want to read some of the books that I recommend, although I don’t know how I’m going to manage writing two to four book reviews a week!

So Wendy, tell me a little about your background?
Well, I’m a farm girl from Feilding and have only been in Auckland four years, so this blog is a chance for me to see more of Auckland. I’ve also got a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature which is when I really started reading my way through libraries. I don’t work for Auckland Libraries but I do love using them.

You’re obviously a booklover, do you remember your first book?
Not really. My dad always used to read me stories before bed and that’s when I think I first began to love books, then I wanted to read them to him and it just grew from there.

And what is your favourite book at the moment?
I think  that would be The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, It’s such a powerful story with bits of poetry and lyricism, that made it such a refreshing read. My favourite New Zealand author would have to be Janet Frame - although her books can be challenging to read, I love her style of writing.

Do you have any advice for people who work in libraries?
I’d say to keep libraries new and exciting. Because I enjoy looking through the shelves I like to find something new or something that I might not have seen before. I really love it when libraries have good recommendations of what to read.