or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Knowing When To Say When

   January 26th, 2012

Reduced signSo, this post might not matter to anyone but me, but I felt like I should announce it anyway.

For the last few years, the blogging schedule I've stuck to was new posts every Tuesday and Thursday, and the Reference Question of the Week on Saturdays. Over the last couple months though, I've felt that I'm both running out of things to say and have less free time to work on posts, so I've decided to cut back to just one new post a week and the Reference Question on Saturday.

Not a major change I know, but it feels major to me because it's a schedule I've stuck to for so long. I know a schedule isn't mandatory for blogs, and most people probably just post only when they have something interesting to say. For me though, I think that if I didn't make myself stick to a schedule, I'd quickly slip into nothing at all.

So anyway, again, I don't know if anyone would have even noticed if I didn't say anything, but there you go.

But I am curious about the schedule/no schedule thing, both for personal and library communications. Does you're library have a set goal or schedule for blog posts, tweets, email newsletters, etc., or do you only do it when you've got something to say? In my library, it varies: I try to have a new blog post once a week, but Twitter is much more as-needed (in addition to automated tweets for library events). We have a main email newsletter that goes out once a week, but also sort of a childrens supplement which only goes out when the Childrens Room has something specific to communicate.

It seems like all models work in their context, but I'd be curious to hear if other libraries have had success following one path or another.

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9 Responses to “Knowing When To Say When”

  1. Amelia Says:

    Not a library but when I took over the social media for my Jane Austen Society group there were scheduled blog posts MWF and I stick to that and I also started scheduled tweets. At least 4 a day around 10, 12, 2, and 4.

  2. Jess Says:

    We don’t have a schedule, but during the academic year, I do try to find something for the blog if we haven’t had anything new in a day or two. I keep a mostly mental list of ideas for times like this. We’ve got enough going on that this isn’t a problem during the school year. We had three posts today, actually.

    For Facebook and Twitter, again, no rules, but I do try to do Facebook at least once a day and Twitter 2-3 times a day. Usually it’s more.

    Our friends of the libraries email newsletter goes out once a quarter.

  3. calimae Says:

    The library Twitter account I manage posts tweets four times a day on workdays and twice a day on weekends/holidays. I add in tweets when things come up that should be shared (these are mostly retweets).

    Personally, I tweet when I want to. I do try to keep my tumblr queue stocked and it’s set to post three times a day, but I don’t mind having gaps sometimes.

  4. Matthew Says:

    All I know is that I never miss the Reference Q of the week. The posts are always worth a read, even if the questions are not.

    Generally, we use our blog as an announcement board, but I doubt few ever read it. It’s mostly info that also lives elsewhere.

    Good luck with the new schedule and thanks for the posts!!

  5. Aaron Says:

    Prioritizing is good! Be sure to still post something beyond your scheduled posts if you get inspired. Always a treat.

  6. James Says:

    I’m always been of the opinion that a substantive post is better than one made simply to stay on schedule. I enjoy reading it though! My library has even discussed your posts at meetings! Do what you can can, ya know?

  7. Andy Says:

    We have a loose schedule. 1-2 Tweets per day, 2 Facebook posts plus our own Ref. Question of the Week (question Friday, answer Wednesday), about 3 blog posts, one monthly newsletter. Our web librarian rights most content, but we split the Facebook and Twitter posts and staff contribute posts and write articles for the monthly newsletter. It’s work, but it’s fun work. I love your Ref. Questions each week. Since I’m not at a branch, I usually make mine up.

  8. Andy Says:

    Oops, let me clarify…Facebook and Twitter daily (Mon-Fri), blog weekly, newsletter monthly. We also post news stories on the website news module as needed.

  9. Jesse Says:

    At my public library we have a rotating schedule of bloggers publishing new posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The twitter and facebook accounts are run separately from the blog, so I can’t speak to that aspect of your question.

    Also, I wanted to add that I really enjoy your blog, especially the reference question of the week. Keep up the good work.