The Birmingham Public Library Regional Library Computer Center staff facilitated a seminar Friday, January 24, 2013, at the Public Library Division Winter Mini-Conference held at Homewood Public Library.
The Public Library Division is an extension of the Alabama Library Association which aims to "promote public library service and development" by encouraging cooperation among libraries and representing the interests of public libraries in communities and legislature.
Stated on their website, "Continuing education, networking and mentoring with other librarians will keep Alabama public libraries a dynamic force within their communities."
The presenters surveyed the scope of social media software, statistics, and the three most popular: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Participants brought their laptops and tablets to access the various apps and software available for social networking and other sites.
Social media are defined as a “conversation online.” They are Web-based and mobile technologies designed to turn communication into an interactive dialogue and allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. They are tools for sharing, receiving, and discussing content with users and visitors. If you can comment, vote, take a poll, like, dislike, share, and rate, those are social media. There are currently more than 575 popular and emerging social media sites.
Social media have been widely accepted and adopted in media, business, government, higher education, and libraries. Libraries are finding that they can better connect with patrons and generate publicity and support in their community through social media, often times more effectively and quickly. Participants, who worked at various libraries throughout Alabama, wanted to know how they could best promote their libraries and events to their patrons and their communities. Some commented that most of them didn't "grow up" with the technologies available today, and seminars such as this allowed them to "catch up" with their younger or more technologically-savvy colleagues.
The Regional Library Computer Center offers an "Introduction to Social Media" course. The class is free to the public, and registration is required to attend.