Is your library a PokéStop in Pokémon GO?


What is Pokémon GO?

Pokemon_GoJust in case you made it through the weekend without hearing about it, Pokémon GO was all the craze. The Wikipedia article provides a pretty good explanation of what it is. If you saw people wandering around pointing their IOS or Android Smartphones at things, there is a good chance they were playing the game.


Is your library a PokéStop or does it have a Gym?

PokéStops and Gyms are two of the things that people are looking for when playing as they help progress the game. The game integrates with the phone's GPS and you have to physically walk around so your avatar can locate them, and also Pokemon to capture. PokéStops and Gyms are often located near churches, bus stops, public monuments and LIBRARIES! The foundation for this game is Ingress which you can read about in the Tech Bits post "Your Library Is a Portal." Libraries are already capitalizing on this.

  • It is a topic on reddit Wla
  • Someone at the New York Public Library has blogged about playing the game there
  • Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Facebook post
  • American Libraries post

Some suggestions for libraries are:

  • Find out if your library is a PokéStop or has a Gym (by downloading and playing the game)
  • Post on social media and your web site if your library is a PokéStop or Gym
  • Create a Pokémon book and media display
  • Organize Pokémon GO hunting expeditions (it's more fun to play in groups)

At the South Central Library System office, we don't have a PokéStop, but the Wisconsin Library Association does (image above)!

What's great about it?

WarningNot only is this game a great opportunity to promote your library, but it is an oppoKidsrtunity for socializing and bridging generation gaps. I played the game along with some of my young adult children this weekend. I don't know much about Pokémon but they grew up with it. Still, I had a lot of fun playing with them and having them explain it to me. The best thing is that it gets you outside and walking around. Here is a link to the Pokémon GO YouTube video that illustrates this. But make sure you don't follow the example of my stepson and me this weekend--this is what it looks like in real life.


Avatar  Gameboard Game




Social media tips & tricks


Leave us a comment: Sum up your library's social media presence...

  1. Fun times with patrons
  2. Stressful situation
  3. Last thing on your list
  4. All of the above
  5. ??? (Other, please specify!)

Whatever your take on library social media, try out the tips and best practices in these guides, prepared by Abby Ward as a 2015 practicum project through the School of Library & Information Studies. All are provided in PDF format:

Using Interest Lists on Facebook

If you are like me, you may have found yourself "Liking" various Facebook Pages, but then not seeing all posts from the Pages in your regular News Feed. Or maybe there are too many things in your News Feed and you have to scroll through some not-so-useful stuff (sorry Minions) to get to the useful stuff. How can you get to the content that you want, at the time that you want it? One tool that I have used to organize and access content on Facebook are Interest Lists

With Interest Lists, you can create a list of Pages centered around a particular topic. For example, you could create an Interest List centered around food and cooking that includes Pages for Facebook-linkcat
grocery stories, recipes, etc. I have a list centered around kid-friendly activities in Madison, which I can check to see if there are upcoming weekend activities. I also have some Interest Lists related to libraries, that include Pages from ALA, WLA, OCLC, WiLS, etc. Using the Interest Lists means that I can see posts that do not always appear in my News Feed, and I can digest the information in smaller chunks, which is easier to handle when I don't have much time.

You can add Pages to Interest Lists even if you have not "Liked" the Pages, and you can add Friends to Interest Lists as well. To create Interest Lists:

  1. Go to your Facebook home page.
  2. Click Interests on the left side of the screen (you may have to scroll down to find it).
  3. This will take you to the Interests screen. Click the Add Interests button.
  4. Then click the Create Lists button to start your own list. You can also follow lists that others have created and made public. 
  5. Follow the prompts to add Pages or Friends, and to name your list.
  6. To keep your list private, be sure to select Only Me under the Who can see this list heading (note that Public is selected by default). 
  7. Then click the Done button.

To get to your Interest Lists, go back to the Interests page by clicking Interests from your home page. You can also add your Interest Lists to your Favorites so you can access them directly from your home page.

If you prefer video tutorials, go to YouTube for "how-to" videos on Facebook Interest Lists.

Customer Service via Social Media

Providing excellent service to our member libraries is integral to staff at SCLS. Being of service is one of my core values and almost every workshop I present includes some mention of providing awesome service to your patrons.

So, when I came across this article, 14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From them) from buffersocial either in my Twitter feed or a blog in Feedly, I immediately saved it into Evernote to share with you. I know many of you have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts. Here's a way to use them, especially your Twitter account, to have a little fun and provide awesome service to your patrons.

_78300969_waterstones_tweetI especially like number 6 on the list - where a man was accidentally locked in a London bookstore (although, I might have stayed inside overnight if I had something good to eat and drink and a comfy place to read!). In all seriousness, though, there are some great examples of companies going above and beyond and having a little fun along the way. How can we use and adapt these awesome service examples to provide excellent service to our patrons?

Creating meme images

Nedstark-braceyourselvesDid you ever wonder how those "meme" images you see in your Facebook feed are created? The different types of Internet memes are too numerous to list here - there's Grumpy Cat, Ryan Gosling, lolcats and other various animals, Star Trek, etc. etc. It's difficult to track down the origin of popular meme images, although there is a database dedicated to documenting Internet memes, including photos, videos, catchprases, etc. 

Once an image has gone viral, anyone can create a customized meme using various websites. You go to the website, select an image, and enter your text. You can then download the captioned image and post it to Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Some meme captions are snarky, but they don't have to be snarky. Libraries could use memes as a fun way to communicate information via social media. Closed-jan1

Here are a few websites that you can use to create memes. Note: this is not an exhaustive list:

Pinterest Place Pins

Pinterest has a new feature that I think has potential for libraries--- Pinterest Place Pins allow a map to to be added to a Pinterest board and pins to be added to that map using integration with Foursquare and other partner sites.

PinterestBoardHere's a link to one of my regular Pinterest boards, "Library and book stuff." It contains lots of pins I found interesting-- but no related map. (Tip: if you're prompted to join Pinterest when viewing the board, you can dismiss that window by pressing Esc)

Now here's a link to a board I created of some of my favorite places... Place Pins: SCLS LibrariesSouth Central Library System libraries! To clarify, ALL the South Central Library System libraries are my favorites, of course, but for this example I only added Place Pins for those libraries that already had pictures on FourSquare. (Tip: Older versions of IE may not display the map.)

Now... it seems like there are some possibilities here! Users might pin your library as a place they like to visit, a good place to go with kids, etc.  For example, New York City Public Library gets a listing on this "Free and almost free in NYC" Pinterest board. Libraries might create boards with links to resources in the community or even just other places of interest. Check out this Today post with step-by-step instructions for using Place Pins and an example of Place Pins using sunsets submitted by viewers.

From a social media and marketing standpoint, this might be one more reason to claim your library's location on FourSquare -- a click-through from Pinterest has the potential to bring new visitors to your website or to your building with correct URL, address, phone, and hours information from FourSquare! A lot of sites are already pointing out the potential for businesses, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, and more. I think libraries could be in the mix-- what do you think?

Side note: One of my favorite parts about writing this post was seeing the variety of pictures and tips that FourSquare users added for the libraries. Fun!

Not so neat after all

Last week I saw a story posted about “The Faces of Facebook”, a site where you can see a picture of what looks like nothing more than a screen of static with a counter.  Each one of those dots of “static” actually represents one of the accounts on Facebook.  Kind of neat, right?

If you zoom in on the static, it actually loads the individual profile pictures.  As a Facebook user I know my profile picture isn’t private.  At least it's not embarrassing or anything, unlike some of them. 

If you hover the mouse over their profile picture it shows which member number they are and the person’s name.  And if you click on the picture the article says it takes you to their public profile on Facebook.  Should you do actually click on a picture and log into Facebook, it asks you to give tfof (The Faces of Facebook I assume) access to your public profile and friends list so it can show you where you and your friends are in the static.

This got me to thinking.  That's a lot of information, especially for people who haven't restricted what's in their public profile.  Now in the article I read, the person behind "The Faces of Facebook"site says it doesn’t store anyone’s private information, pictures or names.  But what if someone else does something like this and keeps the data?  If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go double check my Facebook settings.

Interesting tidbits

  • "How to Make Library eBooks More Visible"* (GoodEReader) - Simple suggestions for promoting your ebook collection.
  • "Mousercise!"*  (IFLS) - A link to Mousercise, an online exercise to increase familiarity with using a computer mouse, and an excerpt from an interview about technology training with Mousercise founder, Chris Rippel.
  • "Use Bing to find Public Domain Images"*  (Free Technology for Teachers) - Need pictures? It's easy to find public domain images using Bing. When did you last use one of these?
  • "Reference Question of the Week - 7/14/2013" (Swiss Army Librarian)  How do you answer the reference question, "Where can I find a pay phone in town?" Crowdsource it using social media!

*Thanks to IFLS and Sites and Soundbytes for pointing out these great resources!

More on Pinterest & libraries

Convert your existing accountBefore Pinterest offered business accounts, many libraries signed up with personal accounts. If you did, you can convert your personal library account to a business account.

  1. Log in to your existing personal account
  2. Go to
  3. Click on "Convert your existing account"
  4. Follow the steps and complete the process

Warning: Once you convert your personal account to a business account, you will not be able to switch it back to a personal account.

If you're thinking about using Pinterest Web analytics, make sure your account is converted to a business account before you do the verification. Otherwise, you may end up doing the verification twice!

Why convert your library's account to a business account?

  • To comply with Pinterest's Terms of Service
  • You can use your library's whole name as it should be (no more needing to split it between the "first" and "last" name fields)
  • Within its business site, Pinterest is adding educational materials specifically for businesses to learn how to market themselves.
  • Pinterest is working on a whole new set of features exclusively for businesses to help them expand their reach and understand their Pinterest audience

Source: Social Media Examiner - "Pinterest Business Accounts: The Definitive Guide to Getting Started"

Interested in more information about using Pinterest for your library? Check out the February "Know More" webinar with special guest Joy Schwarz talking about "Pinterest and Libraries"  (30-min archived program). It was a great overview of Pinterest and had lots of ideas about how you can use Pinterest for your library. For example, did you know there's a Pinterest widget builder for business accounts that you can embed on your library's website to invite people to follow your boards? I didn't!

Already using Pinterest for library-related purposes?  Please take a few minutes to fill out a short survey about how you're using it!

Facebook Page Insights

The librarians I know love to count things and keep statistics.  "we circ'ed 1,051 items today," "we had 246 wireless sessions last month," "we received 372 red delivery baskets last week"... sound familiar? Insights (click to view full-size)

If your library has a Facebook page, you have access to all sorts of lovely stats about that page. Just take a peek at the "Insights" section of the admin panel (click on the photos in this post to view them full-size).

What will you find?

  • Overview - gives you 4 metrics to help you quickly understand the size and engagement of your audience, with indications of whether these numbers went up or down. There is also information about your page's posts and what sort of response they've received from Fans.
  • Likes - demographic and location information for your audience, and information about how you acquired, reached, or engaged them. (Looks like 78% of SCLS' fans are female and 20% are male!)
  • Reach - information about who you reached, how you reached them, your page views over time, and how those views break down
  • Talking About This* - demographic and location information about people talking about your page and information about whether they were talking about your page or being reached by someone else talking about it
  • Check-Ins* - info about people who have checked in at your place and how they did it (mobile device? through the Facebook website?).

Nifty.  Now what do you do with this data? Probably the easiest things to do are to:

Take a quick peek at the SCLS page's Overview:
Insights-Overview (click to view full-size)
Interested in more in-depth information about Facebook Page Insights? Facebook's 15-page PDF will help you "understand the performance of your page, optimize how you publish to your audience so people will tell their friends about you, and learn more about your audience." (It also includes much better explanations and details than we can provide here on TechBits!)

* Demographic and location data for these features is only available when 30 people did this activity in the 7 days preceding the last day of your selected date range. If your page is busy, you'll see this info. If not, you won't.