I am redefining the scope of this weekly feature to include all levels of education.
My original focus on “academic” social media is far too limiting — it fails to take into consideration the lessons we (members of the higher ed community, as well as educators as a whole) can learn from the creative organizations at every educational level who are utilizing social media to reach, engage, and educate students. Focusing on just collegiate examples implies that college educators have nothing to learn from the larger educational community, and that just is not true.
So for this week’s social media excellence example, I am showcasing a public library. Although not attached to a specific school or college (unless it is a joint use library), public libraries are charged with educating a broad diverse student body that spans infancy to old age, grade school to college, returning students, vocational students, continuing education students, and students of life.
Madison Library District’s Facebook Trivia Quiz
Madison Library District, based out of Rexburg, Idaho, caught my attention with a weekly library trivia quiz run on its Facebook Page. Every Monday, the library posts a fun little trivia question related to the library. But what sets Madison Library District up as an example is that the library offers a creative tangible prize to the first patron who posts the correct answer as a comment on the library Facebook Page. The prize? No, not a bookmark, not a piece of candy, not a verbal kudos. Madison Library District rewards the winner with a $1.00 off coupon to use against incurred library fines.
I applaud Madison Library District’s creative approach. The library realizes that it might take just a bit more than the joy of answering correctly to entice patrons to participate in the survey. A $1.00 coupon to use towards fines might not seem like much at first glance, but speaking as someone who has racked up my share of library fines over the years (when I didn’t work in libraries), I would have gladly hopped on to my library’s Facebook Page every Monday to attempt to win an extra $1.00 off those fines. Plus it is a prize the library can offer without having to go out and purchase something up front.
Sure, the trivia quiz might cost Madison Library District a $52.00 debt write-off per year, assuming each weekly question is correctly answered, but in return the library has found a creative way to use social media as a tool to actively engage its patrons and to educate them about library services.