A brief summary of our Library’s Facebook experience so far …
There are plenty of academic libraries with Facebook pages. There are even several at Stanford that debuted before the Green Library page.
We waited until Facebook created Facebook Pages (distinct from personal Facebook profiles) before creating a Facebook presence for our library. The major advantage of a Facebook Page, rather than a person profile, is that it is a one-way relationship. Students (or whoever) who become a Fan of the Page get to see everything on the Page, but the Page administrators can’t see any of their Fan’s info (except Name, and other info that person has declared public). Our goal with the page is to provide patrons with another (perhaps easier, more familiar) path to get to basic information about the Library. Our hours, contact info, IM Us box, and blog posts are all there.
We put our Page up in June 2008, and immediately picked up about 30 Fans in the first month (mostly other library staff). We continued to pick up a few Fans a week, until the 3 weeks prior to the start of Fall Quarter. In those 3 weeks, we picked up 15 new Fans a week; mostly incoming Freshmen. Up to this point we had done no advertising.
During our new student orientation tours, we talked up the Facebook page as a convenient way to get hours info, blog posts, and to chat with a librarian. We picked up another 25 new Fans that week.
The 2nd week of classes, we ran a Facebook Ad for a week, and picked up another 40 Fans that week. We have 165 Fans today, and the page averaged 25 unique views this past week.
I put up photos of our last few library events, and sent updates to Fans that photos were there. I also added some old photos of the library during Reunion weekend. Page views definitely go up whenever I add photos.
That is our Facebook story so far. Relatively low cost in terms of both money (the Ad cost $40 total for a week) and resources (the blog is imported automatically, and everything else is easy to upload).
I would be very interested to hear other libraries experiences with Facebook. What are you doing with your Page? What works, what doesn’t? How are you counting success?
Edited to fix links
Update: After a couple of weeks promoting our Facebook page during library instruction workshops, we now have over 200 fans (11/7/08)
Update: As of Jan. 12, 2009, we have nearly 300 fans
Update: As of Feb. 2, 2009, we have 400 fans. We gained 100 fans in the month of January, primarily by encouraging students in our Info Lit workshops to become fans.
Update: As of May 13, 2009, we have 700 fans.
Update: As of July 13, 2009, we have 809 fans, which (as far as I can tell) makes us the most popular academic library on Facebook. w00t!
Latest Update, August 2011: Update on our Library Facebook page.