Hooksett library embraces social media
Library Director Heather Rainer said the number of books checked out in the past year reached 199,223, including 3,014 e-books.
“Especially in this time of e-books, we weren't sure if we were going to see our demand go down,” she said. “But we've actually seen library attendance going up.”
The library participates in the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium, a statewide service that allows patrons of member libraries to download e-books for free to their own devices for use over an allotted period of time.
The titles in the consortium are limited, though. Rainier said that to keep up with demand from cardholders, the Hooksett Library has purchased an additional 206 e-books — both extra copies of books already available through the consortium and new titles — specifically for its members.
Rainer said these exclusive titles make up about a third of the library's total e-book circulation.
“We really wanted to make sure there were materials available for people with e-readers,” she said. “(E-books) are more affordable, but they're still not cheap. You're still buying the book every time.”
For the past 14 months, the library also has offered seven different models of e-readers for its members to check out, giving area residents a chance to try out the devices before taking the plunge and purchasing one of the devices.
“It's been a very nice service for members of the library to be able to test drive an e-reader and see if they like it,” Rainer said. “You can take it home, say 'I like the feel of that one, but I like the backlighting on this one.' ”
All members of the library staff receive training on e-reader use and allow cardholders to make appointments for one-on-one tutorials.
Rainier said the library staff makes an effort to embrace social media as well, with frequently updated Facebook and Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel and a live chat platform for patrons with questions to instant message librarians. The library also maintains a Pinterest account highlighting book lists, craft ideas and pictures of unique libraries around the world. Its page on the location-based social network Foursquare rewards frequent visitors with a free tote bag after three check-ins.
According to the library's social media policy, the use of various social networking platforms is intended to provide a public forum for sharing ideas, opinions and information about the library, and to create welcoming online spaces for community members.
“Our goal is to meet people where they are,” Rainier said. “When it seems like Facebook was getting the most attention, that's where we decided to go.”
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