Panlibus Blog

Social Media at Edinburgh Libraries

It has been a week since the EDGE Conference and after a very eventful week at Talis, I would like to share some of my thoughts from the conference. There was a strong social media theme at the event, not least as this was the occasion that Edinburgh Libraries would use to release their very own smartphone app. The app has up to date information about library events, activities, and service updates that are usually only available on the library website.

The release of this app is just another aspect of Edinburgh Libraries social media strategy that already includes Facebook, Twitter and blogging. What has made this strategy so successful is the commitment from all involved, from councillors to library staff on the front-line. Although most social media tools are free to use, they need investment of staff time to make a strategy work. As Allan Barr, Head of Digital and Social Media at The Big Partnership, iterated in his talk “social media takes time”.

The final presentation of the conference focused on augmented reality. We were given many demonstrations of what is currently possible. Some of the technology is already available through smartphones, adding layers of information to our surroundings. The applications of the future were also demoed. Imagine a library user borrowing a book, pointing their phone at it and seeing animations of what they are reading about. It might not be that far off.

One of the most memorable quotes from the conference was from Kevin Winkler, New York Public Libraries, when he said “be creative, be innovative”. Edinburgh has certainly been creative and innovative with this app and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them release an augmented reality application next year.

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