Social Networks for SFPL and The Louis R. Lurie Foundation Audiovisual Center

The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has been known as a leader among information providers, but with the recent budget crisis in our city, coupled with the ever changing face of the public library–SFPL needs to embrace and delve deeper into the Web 2.0 and semantic environment.

I would like to propose that the San Francisco Public Library’s Audiovisual Department set up a blog and other social networking sites in connection with the many other connected SFPL social networking sites. By doing this I hope to bring in a broader audience to the AV Department, by highlighting AV features, upcoming events and AV related materials and new releases in our department. My goal for establishing a AV Department blog, is to draw attention to our department and increase patronage by those who discover our blog or network sites on the SFPL website, or via an internet search, or through other social media means.

New York Public Library (NYPL) has an intriguing web presence. It appears to be supported, allowed to evolve and grow, and one in which the public is involved in. They should be considered as a model and an inspiration to SFPL as we develop our own stronger semantic web presence. NYPL has fostered the concepts of Web 2.0 and are ready to enter in the space of Web 3.0. Their online library community is vibrant, full of life and engaging to the public. I would like to see SFPL begin to embrace these concepts and continue to be a leader in information services. The NYPL blogs incorporate events, items of interest, and service to the entire NYPL library system, they operate their blogs and corresponding videos, publication and podcast as a key function to highlight and bring this information to the public. In a section detailing the intentions of their blogs within their library, NYPL states “These blogs are designed to better document and promote this immense trove of information.”

NYPL has two, among many, main blogs that highlight their Audiovisual collection and events and information related to audio and visual. One music related blog is tilted simply– Popular Music, and 24 Frames per Second, is NYPL’s blog about film and film events. Popular Music is basically authored by two people each with separate features under the same blog. The first by Marie C. Hansen of the Jefferson Market Library is called, Twist n’ Shhhout! : Highlighting Rock n’ Roll at NYPL and the second is called, Great Albums You May Have Missed by Andy Wagstaff with Central Collection Development. Wagstaff’s post consists of detailing just what is title states, Great Albums You May Have Missed, one album per post, elaborating in full information about the album and it’s artists, concluding with a link on how to find this album or place a hold on it within the NYPL library system. 24 Frames per Second, is authored by many participants and is touted as “Everything and anything to do with with film and film programs at the New York Public Library.”

What sets NYPL’s blogs and Web 2.0 enhancements apart from SFPL’s is the sheer amount of integration that is allotted to this outlet of information within their online presence. Their blogs, videos, podcast, etc. are part of their identity and has become a thriving, vital web resource because of it. SFPL has their blogs set up through Google’s Blogger and then established on our OPAC site with the aid of our “web services” team. Comparing the two sites side by side, was discouraging–for me, I felt like SFPL is behind on the technological game and needs to see some change and soon.

For now my goal is to establish a blog within the already established parameters, using Google Blogger. I would like permission to create an Audiovisual blog, that emphasizes The Louis R. Lurie Foundation Audiovisual Center, film and media events within our library system, and media events in our community. I would also like to establish a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page for the center. Lastly I would like permission to set up a Google Analytics account to track our success with this project.

Target Needs and Assessment
As for any public library our end user, the public, will be the ones who will benefit the most from the information an Audiovisual Blog will provide. This has been a long over due project within our department. Being the highest circulating material within the main branch, at nearly fifty percent, we owe it to our patrons to let them follow the happenings of our center in a social networking online environment. By setting up the blog, along with a Facebook Fan page and Twitter account the patrons of the AV Center will be able to follow all of our exciting happening in our department and our city. The blog format will bring a wider audience to our online services that correspond with those we provide directly in the center, including Overdrive our downloadable media, and the many great services in SFPL’s Article and Databases, such as Rosetta Stone Online Language Learning and American Song.

Facebook and the Twitter networks, are both utilized by SFPL’s History Center, Book Arts & Special Collections, and the SF Historical Photograph Collection (SFHC). In my email conducted interview, Lisa Weddle, who assists in the upkeep of What’s on the 6th floor? blog, established accounts on both Twitter and Facebook, she states both of which “get a lot of traffic.” She uses Goolge Analytics to track the traffic to and from their blog, which gets about “550-600 hits per month.”

Dan Hensely with the Government Information Center (GIC) at SFPL currently maintains their blog, spending approximately one to two hours a week on it’s upkeep. Hensely states the blog is a “handy way to highlight new materials (sort of an online face-out).” The GIC is also currently testing Delicious as a way to maintain the “community services” database. Another target benefit of keeping a blog, is as Hensely states, that “coming up with posts requires me to keep on top of current happenings in the subject area.” This concept can be seen as a benefit for all blogs at the SFPL, if we the staff are required to write about it, we will be aware of our subject, and therefore share information with our patrons.

Outcomes and Evaluation
Establishing social media networks for the AV Center is an easily measurable goal. There are many trackers one can set up to track the amount of visitors to the blog. Facebook and Twitter is all about measuring the amount of people participating in your network. The higher the number the higher, the presumable, success. The project can be evaluated by this, but also by patron reaction, via “comments and feedback” directly on our social networks.

There are three main outcomes I would like to achieve.

One, and a big one it is, is to educate our public. Working in the center directly this is always one of my goals. One of my main purposes in the center is educate our patrons about the library and all that we have to offer. The biggest struggle I face is getting people caught up with technology, a shift does not go by that I do not inform patrons of the computer classes we offer. Consistently while working in the AV center, I am informing people on how to search, how to place reserves, telling them about our downloadable media. It surprises that so many patrons have no idea what we have to offer. With the blog, this could be one more outlet to instruct and inform the public of our online presence.

Secondly, I want to bring more attention to media events in our library system. For example, we could have a weekly post for the Thursday Films @ Noon and the First Monday Movies @ Excelsior film series events. This could be measurable by noting an increase in audience at such events. These events would also allow a steady flow of posting material, which keeps readers of our blog/patrons interested in returning for more, not only to the blog but to the library.

Along with our regularly scheduled series– we could feature special event and happenings throughout SFPL and our community. There is no limit to the events taking place in our city and in our library that could be featured in a blog about Audio and visual medias, both entertaining and intellectual.

Lastly, I would like to see the Audiovisual center and all of SFPL, generate a larger web presence. I think at juncture we are slightly behind in this area, particularly the audiovisual center. We have too many great online resource going unused–that any mention, and highlight of these resources will aid in bringing more patrons to these great services and information.


The most time consuming portion of this project will be the initial set up of the blog and social networks between the AV department and the “web services” team. From that point on allotted time could be assigned to those on staff who are going to participate in the project. Maintenance, upkeep and consistent posting could be limited to two to four hours a week, per staff member involved.

Suggested Timeline
• Submit Approval 3/30/2010
• Begin Project 4/8/2010
• Project up and running 4/29/2010
• Ongoing upkeep and improvement

From the point of approval, along with the assistance of “web services”, we can have the blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and Google Analytics account up and running within two weeks. Within a months time, most of the glitches will have been smoothed out and we will be able to see the start of productive online presence for the The Louis R. Lurie Foundation Audiovisual Center.

Once we are up and running the blog will continue to evolve and become a valuable part of the SFPL online persona.

SFPL is full of creative and knowledgeable staff, participation could come from anyone of the AV staff members, many of who already operate blogs and are familiar with using social networking sites. Many of us that work for the AV Department have a true passion for music and film and would be willing to participate in promoting a blog that supports the work we do and the creativity of our community.

Essentially it is low to no cost to start this project. No new staff is needed. All of us on staff are equipped with the skills to work on the blog. Presently the SFHC has a “core group of writers who just post when they can. Some write once a week, others write one or two times a month. We have developed a couple of series of posts (like “The 6th Floor Test Kitchen” where we highlight a recipe from a cookbook in the SF History Stacks each month) and that helps keep the posts coming.” (Weddle 2010)

In the AV Center we could easily have a 3-4 core group of writers and contributors with no extra hours required. Participation and subject matter will vary and evolve–as will the blog itself.

Project Promotion
The blog site can easily be promoted on SFPL’s twenty two other departmental blogs, as well as our Facebook page and Twitter accounts, both of which act as promotional tools by design. We could also request that an announcement be written about the new blog in the SFPL “News and Notes” section of the website. The good thing about blogs and social network sites is that promotion can be done quick and for free within the same sites we will be utilizing.

Not to overlook the patrons that visit the center, a small run of printed handbills announcing and promoting the new blog and social sites, along with good old fashioned word of mouth will begin to generate more patrons to the site.

Project Sustainability
The Louis R. Lurie Foundation Audiovisual Center and San Francisco Public Library need to have a stronger online presence and by approving this blog project for the AV center we will be another step toward a larger web identity. Operating and sustaining such a project will not only be easy and low cost, it will aid as a an archive, a news source and a venue for film and music.
Operating in a web 2.0 and semantic environment allows for growth, changes and evolution. Sustainability will continue to transform and change as we do.

Other Web 2.0 Ideas
o other social networks: twitter, facebook
o iGoogle “search the catalog”
o blogs, videos, podcast, and publicaations inspired by NYPL)
o link on front page straight to iTunes

Bibliography of Resources

Denver Public Library. (2009). Western history & genealogy blog. Retrieved March 05, 2010, from

Hensley, Dan. Government information center at San Francisco Public Library. (2007, June ). Brooks Walker Patent and Trademark Center. Retrieved March 05, 2010, from

New York Public Library. (2008). 24 frames per second : everything and anything to do with with film and film programs at the new york public library. Retrieved March 05, 2010, from

San Francisco Public Library Staff. (2009, June).Project read of the san fancisco public library . Retrieved March 05, 2010, from

San Francisco Public Library Staff. (2009, October). What’s on the 6th floor? : san francisco history center and book arts and special collections blog. Retrieved March 05, 2010, from

Hensley, Dan. Government information center at San Francisco Public Library (personal communication, March 15, 2010)

Weddle, Lisa. SF History Center, Book Arts & Special Collections, and the SF Historical Photograph Collection at San Francisco Public Library (personal communication, March 15, 2010)

Weaver, Randall. Project Read manager (personal communication, March 15, 2010)

Denver Public Library. (2010). Denver public library online. Retrieved from

New York Public Library. (2010). New York Public Library.

San Francisco Public Library. (2010). San francisco public library.

Anissa Malady
LIBR 287 Web 3.0
Professor Bell and Kemp
March 24, 2010


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