The noisy realm of social media may seem like an odd place for a library, but San Marino’s Crowell Public Library has occupied part of that vast virtual space for some time.
The library joined Facebook eight years ago with three separate pages: one entitled ‘Children’s Services of Crowell Public Library,’ a second called ‘Crowell Public Library’ and a third named ‘Crowell Public Library Young Adult Services.’
In 2009, Crowell Library launched a Twitter account, which has 150 followers.
“I think it’s kind of a playful approach,” City Librarian Irene McDermott said of the library’s social media presence. “The library to me is a joyful place and so this uses the free tools available on the internet to advertise all the fun we’re having and invite everybody to come on over.”
In the last two months, Crowell Library expanded its social media reach to include users on Instagram, a photo sharing platform owned by Facebook, and SoundCloud, a social sound platform.
McDermott credited Librarian Denise Dobbs and Library Assistant Kristie Gilliland for the library’s latest outreach and publicity efforts.
“We have very talented people on our staff who have leapt and started taking the lead on getting us on social media,” said McDermott.
McDermott, Dobbs, Gilliland and Library Assistant Eric Gomez collaborated on ‘John and Norma,’ the library’s podcast to promote upcoming library events and library resources.
“I was going for sort of a radio soap opera type of thing,” Dobbs, who wrote the script for the podcast’s three episodes, said of the episodes’ unifying theme.
Fictional San Marino couple John and Norma are the stars of the podcast, which is available on the library’s SoundCloud page.
Gomez played the voice of John, a man with many dilemmas. McDermott was the voice of Norma, who always seemed to have a library-related solution for her husband’s woes.
In episode 3, a distressed John found solace in Norma’s ideas.
“John, you can download free audiobooks on your iPod from Crowell Library,” Norma recommended to John for his flight to New York.
In their two-and-a-half-minute dialogue, Norma offered many more solutions, each time weaving a library service into the conversation.
The cast used a Blue Yeti Microphone donated by former Library Board Trustee Marilyn Peck.
Dobbs was motivated to use the podcast medium thanks to a webinar about community engagement via technology, which included a lesson on podcasting.
Dobbs said there may be a fourth episode in the ‘John and Norma’ series, which will likely promote Crowell Library’s open house on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Gilliland, who narrated the ‘John and Norma’ episodes, manages the library’s month-old Instagram account.
“Last night the dinosaurs got their passports,” she joked, referring to a recent Instagram photo on the library’s account. She said the toy dinosaurs completed their passport applications via the library’s passport service, which generated a significant net profit for the City of San Marino last year.
“I follow a bunch of other libraries [on Instagram] to get ideas,” she said, noting that this month’s theme was ‘Dinovember.’ “It’s a big thing going on right now.”
Check out Crowell Public Library’s social media accounts and many of its online service at crowellpubliclibrary.org. An in-person visit couldn’t hurt either.