The ‘many things’ @ Shellharbour City

1 12 2011

Australia

The photo above was taken by commonwealthlibraries.

The Commonwealth Secretariat (2011) states that Australia became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1931.  And as you will gather from the video below, Shellharbour City Libraries, located in Australia’s South Wales, has ‘many things.’   But, just what are they?  What does Australia offer to the Commonwealth’s libraries besides their books, DVDs, and those website lessons?

Click here to see on YouTube (sclibs1, 2011).

Shellharbour City Libraries Website

The Shellharbour City Libraries website is premised on a very simple and clean design.  A white and gray background, blue header, and black font grace their home page.  Yet, the home page is quite attractive despite its simplicity.  The focal point of the home page is a large image which provides links to the libraries’ social media platforms and catalog.

Most of the website’s information is nested within the navigation key on the left hand side of the home page.  Unfortunately, the navigation key has not been incorporated into the other pages on the website.  Navigation on the site is restricted as users must continually revisit the home page in order to access the navigation key and to explore the website’s other pages.  Websites should enable their users to connect with all of their pages at any time – not doing so leads to poor website design (unpublished class materials).  Yet, links to the libraries’ social media applications have been incorporated into their hard to reach pages.  Shellharbour City Libraries’ website lacks a navigational scheme but continues to provide access to their social media platforms on all of their main pages.

 

Just In

While Shellharbour City Libraries utilizes numerous social media tools, we’ll focus on their use of blogs for adult audiences.  Just In is a blog which documents materials that have recently become incorporated into the libraries’ collections.  The blog is updated multiple times a week to provide descriptions of new materials and promote events and programs within the library system.

Shellharbour City Libraries’ posts range from short reviews of new books which tease the reader to borrow the library’s copy, such as BIOGRAPHY – Born Fearless: From SAS to Mercenary to Pirate Hunter – My Life as a Shadow Warrior to posts which contain images of the library’s latest program’s poster.  For example, The Summer Reading Competition for Adults is advertised on the blog.  Just In works as a form of readers advisory and promotion for the library’s services.

I particularly enjoy the libraries’ incorporation of their own tools into Just In.  Their blog provides a link back to the library’s main website and permits readers to have the text on the page read to them (this feature did not work when I visited) or to place a reservation down for the described work.  Thus, Shellharbour City Libraries and their blog work seamlessly together to provide easy access to all forms of information for users of varying technological capabilities.

I would most definitely want to read along with this blog if I were a patron of Shellharbour City Libraries.  I personally adore reading blog’s which house literature reviews.  A library posting frequent reviews for recently adopted books is useful as it enables readers to be aware of the libraries’ new resources.  Unfortunately, I can attest to the fact that new resources at library’s often have long wait lists.  Thus, I truly adore the blog’s ability to connect readers to an online reservation page.

 

If it is all lollipops and roses, what is there to improve?

My one suggestion for Shellharbour City Libraries would be to increase their creativity quota.  Tracy Gold at Content Marketing Institute writes in her post What Makes a Good Blog Post: 10 Tips for Corporate Bloggers that blog posts should range between 400 to 1000 words and contain creative titles.  Perhaps Shellharbour City Libraries could incorporate this advice into their posts in order to provide more than teasing reviews of materials and posters of events.  A little bit of creativity in a blog post’s title never hurt, either.

 

Fitting In

Just In provides links to the other social media applications of Shellharbour City Libraries. Readers can quickly travel to Shellharbour City Libraries’ Facebook page, Kidclick (a blog on children’s materials), and Teenclick (a blog on teenage materials).  The library also hosts a Twitter account.

Shellharbour City Libraries’ other two blogs, Kidcick and Teenclick, act similarly to Just In in that they provide information on books for an age specific audience.  These blogs also provide programming information and YouTube videos on how to use social media, such as Twitter.  For example, see Teenclick‘s post Are you on Twitter? Join us for #followalibraryday tomorrow, October 1st!

Shellharbour City Libraries’ Twitter and Facebook accounts provide short bursts of information on events and books at the libraries.  However, these social media applications are not as frequently updated as Just In.

Finally, we cannot forget Shellharbour City Libraries’ YouTube channel.  The organization does not use this service frequently but when it does the results are often comedic and promotional.  Take for example this promotional video for a Halloween program which was hosted this year:

Click here to view the video on YouTube (sclibs1, 2011).

Thus, Shellharbour City Libraries uses social media to address some information needs of their users and, most importantly, to inform the public of library events and programs.  Does it make me want to travel across the Commonwealth to partake in the library’s events?  Sadly, no.

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