Our goal was twofold: to maintain engagement with alumni, and to promote the work of our faculty to the world at large.
We're not sure how many of our alumni are already on Goodreads, but we're pretty sure that a lot of them would like to be if they knew about it. If you're familiar with the University of Chicago, you probably know that most folks affiliated with it are unabashedly geeky about something, be it 12th century Portugese literature or the intricacies of the anatomy of sea slugs of the genus Dunga, and the Law School is no exception (check out our course offerings on subjects like Admiralty Law and Ancient Roman Law if you don't believe me). And along with that geekiness naturally comes a love of books. So while Goodreads remains a niche site, we're fairly certain that it's a niche site that suits our audience well, and confident that we can begin to get them engaged there.
Since Goodreads does not currently have an equivalent of Facebook's Pages (or Public Profiles, or whatever they're calling them this week), building an institutional presence required a little creativity. Here are the steps we took:
- Created an account with the username "UChicagoLaw," uploaded avatar photo, filled out info, etc.
- Created "shelves" for the categories of books we wanted to highlight, and added books to those shelves; in this case, "Faculty Books" (all books by current faculty); "Faculty New Releases;" "The Illustrious Past" (books written by deceased and former faculty while at the Law School); "Law School Classics;" and "Faculty Recommendations" (based on responses to our annual questionnaire to faculty about what they're currently reading).
- Added our faculty members as our "favorite authors."
- After adding 50 books to your profile, you can apply to become a "librarian;" this gave us the opportunity edit the author pages for faculty, including adding photos, bios, and blog feeds. You can also add YouTube videos to authors' pages.
We've built it; now we'll see if they come.