The big question these days seems to be, how do you get your information? I’m not talking about news or research, I’m talking about local community information. It might be different in a large city, but in a smaller community with a population of 9500 (according to the signs located outside of Carleton Place), getting information out to people is a difficult matter.
Years ago, the only real way people knew what was going on in this community was through the newspaper, posters and word of mouth. People found out about events through their church bulletins, through school letters home and by reading the flyers posted at the front door of the local grocery store. Funny thing was, it didn’t seem so bad. We didn’t worry that something important was happening without us knowing about it. If we left the house, we’d be out of contact with a phone for a while, but it wasn’t stressful. And if we wanted to share some photos of our fantastic summer vacation with our friends and family, we’d have to wait until we saw them in person and whip out that white envelope stuffed with 24 mediocre pictures they could ooh and ahh over. It was just that way.
Today, with social media, getting information out to the public is easy…almost too much so. We’re expected to keep our phones on and charged, in case we need to text someone or take a photo right that second. If we don’t check Facebook a thousand times a day, we feel like we’ve missed out on something. And we MUST check our favourite websites constantly, to keep up with the world of politics (or entertainment, or sports, or knitting).
As a public library, we’re finding that we’re part of this big machine, also. While we have a newsletter, and we put posters up around the library for various events, and advertise in the newspaper, there are just people out there who do not get their information this way anymore. They rely on Facebook and Twitter and blogs to find out what’s going on, and that includes in their own communities. It’s still amazing to us when people we’ve never seen in the library before, come in and tell us they heard about a program we’re running, on Facebook or Twitter. It gives us a sense of satisfaction that yes, we’re reaching people. We really are!
How do YOU prefer to get your local community information and do you think we could be doing more to inform people about library programs? Do you feel like you need more access to library resources online? Or are you happy with the way things are? We’d love to know how people are really using our blog, online catalog, Facebook page and Twitter feed. It’s all about YOU, after all!