Canadian Libraries Spotlight: Belleville Public Library

This week our Canadian Libraries Spotlight series turns fifteen! We’re celebrating with a post from a fellow YouTube creator: the Belleville Public Library in Ontario. Suzanne Humphreys who is their Coordinator of Children’s, Youth and Readers’ Services shares the how’s and why’s of a public library YouTube channel and we’ve even included one of their fan-tab-ulous videos down below!

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We at the Belleville Public Library are adding another string to our social media bow with a YouTube channel. As with most libraries a frequently discussed issue is that of the schedule of a program being an obstacle for some families. As much as we make our customer needs a priority we are still bound by the confines of staff and space. We have very well attended story time programs but got to thinking about children who were not able to attend and came up with the idea of Storytime Anytime as a way for kids to have at least some of the storytime experience at home on their own schedule.

We are lucky enough to have an iPad in our department so the filming of the video clips was relatively easy and we figured that we could edit in iMovie and upload to YouTube in one swoop. However, it turned out to be the case that there were compatibility issues and using YouTube editor was the better option.

Our storytime programs are always introduced by our puppet Blossom the Bookworm who sings our welcome song and the kids just love her. We could not have Storytime Anytime without Blossom! We filmed a clip of Blossom introducing the Storytime and added this to the beginning of our videos. We also used her image on the button at the kid’s page of our website to link to our YouTube channel.

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We recorded a handful of videos ready to upload. It is funny how intimidating that camera can be even when you are usually quite happy to be singing and bouncing and making a complete fool of yourself in the name of a fun filled storytime. And yes it is still painful to watch yourself on video but just fine watching your colleagues!

Once we had uploaded our first handful of videos we realized that the image quality was good but the sound was not great. It also varied from one computer to another and certainly from one reader to another. This (plus the onslaught of our Summer Reading Club!) slowed down the rate of adding more content. However, we were lucky enough to have the support of management to go ahead and purchase a camera and tripod that will certainly improve the quality of our videos and our still photography too. We are now filming new videos and using Movie Maker on our laptop to edit and upload. At the moment it is only videos from Children’s Services on our YouTube Channel but that is about to change as staff from throughout the library add patron testimonials, tutorials and book talks and create playlists for each. The possibilities are very exciting!

I have found that as with any new initiative and particularly when it involves technology there have been hiccups along the way but the very thought of one of our young story time patrons watching us at home when sick on the couch or while getting fussy in the car makes it so very worthwhile. Engaging new and existing customers through social media is an essential part of promoting the services and collections of the library and we hope that with this YouTube channel we can reach out to another segment of our public.

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