I’ve always believed that librarians need to have their faces and names plastered all over library websites. Having a face on the website gives patrons someone to recognize in the library, which in turn can help make the library more personal and less institutional. Putting your face out there can also make for some interesting conversations.
Just yesterday I got an email from a faculty member who was needing some help locating some industry analyst reports. This particular faculty member was from another department that is outside of my business/economics subject area, so I didn’t know him at all. I got the email late in the day, so I didn’t have time to finish the response to him. However I didn’t even need to send the email after all.
After work I took my boys to our church’s Vacation Bible School. A little bit into the activities, a man walked up to me and said, “Hey, you’re Chad Boeninger (mispronounced, as usual), right?”. It turns out that the man was the same faculty member who sent me the email three hours earlier. I had recognized his name from somewhere, but could not place from where. The faculty member said he recognized me from my picture on the Biz Wiki. We spent a few minutes talking about his research needs, and being able to talk face-to-face was a lot easier than exchanging emails. I enjoyed my conversation with him, and when I see him at church or around campus, I’ll be sure to say “hi.”
The point here is obvious. Without my picture, this faculty member would not have known who I was. My picture on the web enabled him to ID me in a lineup and he was able to initiate conversation. Athens is a pretty small town, and this sort of thing happens quite a bit. Small town or not, your picture on your website can make you (and your site) a bit more approachable.