Friday, June 15, 2007

Meet me at the library

In the latest of my all-too-frequent travels to Starbucks, I picked up one of their publications called, Let's Meet at Starbucks. The publication refers to a Web site where you can find out about SBUX events, learn about the latest drinks, and, my favorite part, send a customized e-mail invitation to your friends that asks them to meet you at a selected SBUX. Perhaps I find too many good ideas at Starbucks, but this particular one seemed like it was custom made for libraries. In public libraries, I could see this functionality being an easy way for patrons to identify library events and nearby branches for groups to gather. In an academic setting, it could help facilitate study group meetings and perhaps be linked to an online room booking system. I don't know about all of the technicalities involved, but isn't this a great concept?!

The SBUX publication also mentioned the Web site, where people can identify groups by interests and location. There's a group for just about everyone, including for those interested in books, education topics, languages, and music to name just a few. Wouldn't it be nice to reach out to these interest groups and offer library space and services to them? It's possible to advertise in Meetup, sponsor a group, or create your own group. There are also some MeetUp tools you can feature on your Web site including a widget that lists all of the Meetups in your area. At first glance, this service appears to be somewhat similar to Facebook and MySpace, but the major difference is that Meetup aims to get people together in person.

Whether or not you use these tools, it's worth considering how the libraries can do a better job of connecting the virtual and the physical while supporting the interests of their communities. Something to think about!

[Ooh - I just found numerous examples of people using Meetup to arrange meetings in the library: here, here, here, and here.]

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