Foursquare in Libraries: Social Media Incentives for Engaged Patrons

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From Dave Burrows, someone who follows MPOW on Twitter, comes this (awesome) idea about how libraries might use Foursquare, a location-based social network:

I did think of a way the Vancouver Public Library could encourage people to check in a little more than they already do (and thus, hopefully, be reading a book or two more than they normally do).

It’s simple and easy.

Throw up a sign/whiteboard somewhere in the branches that says, for example, “The Mayor of the Central Branch, Dave B., recommends The World According to Garp by John Irving”

Now obviously it could get a little tiring if they had to change these every time someone new became Mayor which is why I would suggest setting a cut-off time. Whoever is mayor as of closing on Sunday night would have their recommendation up for the week.

I have to say I absolutely love this idea, and it’s one I’ve been thinking about quite a bit. I think we’re doing an OK job with Twitter, but beyond that I don’t feel as if we’re really connecting with library patrons on most of our social networking services. Sure, they get our updates, and we occasionally reply back in 140 characters or less, but honestly, there’s really no incentive for people to keep promoting the library on our behalf (unless they’re just library fans and want to be thought of as well-read).

But we – meaning the powers that be and myself – are talking about this now, and are taking a serious look at possibly putting together an incentive for Foursquare users. I can’t say exactly what, when, or if we’ll be able to put an incentive in place, but watch this space. As soon as I know something, you’ll be the first to know.

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14 thoughts on “Foursquare in Libraries: Social Media Incentives for Engaged Patrons

  1. Yeah, I'm excited about the idea. I just hope it's something we're able to put into practice, if even for a little while.

  2. It would get tiresome to have to change the whiteboard every time, but why not have the Mayor do the note him or herself? I always get a little excited to oust someone and it would be fun to have a public space to leave a note, book recommendations, or whatnot. :) What an exciting idea!

  3. It would get tiresome to have to change the whiteboard every time, but why not have the Mayor do the note him or herself? I always get a little excited to oust someone and it would be fun to have a public space to leave a note, book recommendations, or whatnot. :) What an exciting idea!

  4. Agreed, which is why a time-based contest – i.e., "If you become Mayor of Library X by date Z" might work best. Another option that might work well would be to award the person who becomes Mayor most often within a specified date period.

  5. Yeah, I'm excited about the idea. I just hope it's something we're able to put into practice, if even for a little while.

  6. Agreed, which is why a time-based contest – i.e., "If you become Mayor of Library X by date Z" might work best. Another option that might work well would be to award the person who becomes Mayor most often within a specified date period.

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