My final project focuses on how public libraries use Goodreads as a promotional tool for reader advisory and to reach out to their patrons. So, I decided to have interviews with librarians from Salt Lake County Library who already has a great Goodreads group page and Scottsdale Public Library who do not have a group page currently but plan to have in 2014/2015. Both of interviews were online.
The expert I interviewed was one of moderators of Salt Lake County Library Services (SLCLS) group page. Because SLCLS already has a group page with 1010 members and great layouts, including Currently Reading, Discussion Board and Bookshelf, my interview focused on her experience and issues occurred during the management of Goodreads group page.
During our interview, the moderator admitted that Goodreads is only useful as a way to reach out to Goodreads users. If someone is not on Goodreads, they won’t join to interact with the library. However, we both agree that Goodreads is an effective way to get feedback and have more informal relationships with patrons.
The moderator pointed out that the biggest issue when a public library build Goodreads group is how to keep the group dynamic and interesting. Here is some advice the moderator give a new library trying to start a Goodreads group.
• Posting only takes a few minutes, but needs to happen often.
• Get as many staff members on board as possible to keep it fresh and current.
• Set up your structure before you start, because it’s very hard to control it after the public is involved.
• Give away free stuff. People love free stuff.
• Decide how you will handle unsavory comments before you are in the situation.
My second interviewee is the Marketing/Communications Coordinator for the Scottsdale Public Library (SPL). Since SPL already has account on Facebook and Twitter, I was quite curious why they still plan to build Goodreads group. The coordinator gave me a very impressive answer: Goodreads allows them to connect with people that they know definitely have an interest in their core service - books. On Facebook or twitter, they may have people that like the library, or like programs, or like books, or just like the idea of a library in their community, etc. Goodreads is a natural fit for libraries.
Same with moderator from SLCLS, the coordinator also concerned that they could only interact with anyone on Goodreads that makes contact with them first after starting a group page.
After completing two interviews, I have a much clearer understanding on Goodreads for public library. Meanwhile, I also see some big challenges and shortcomings of Goodreads. I hope I could figure them out in the following analysis.