Saturday, April 2, 2016

Twitter and the Library

Social media is all of the craze lately, with patrons of all age ranges being obsessed with it. Often times, the library tends to shy away from social media, considering it an evil doer, and steering patrons away from library services only to dive more onto their smart phone screens. However, social media is not all that bad. Below are some ways that the library can use the Twitter platform in order to reach out to more patrons.

Report library happenings

If the library is closing early due to weather or if a printer is down, librarians can communicate via Twitter. If we are having events like an international photo contest or a chili cook off, we can let people know. It’s also helpful to let people know when new displays, art, or exhibits are put up. Posting an update every time libraries put up new book displays for the month as well as posting a picture of a particularly interesting cover can entice patrons who otherwise would not have come into the library in the first place.

Promote library resources/services
When libraries get new interesting resources, librarians can let people know via Twitter.  Libraries can also simply promote print collections at relevant times. For example, a tweet promoting Oscar Wilde’s short fiction could lead students to come up from the stacks with a James Joyce title due to being inspired by the library’s Twitter post.

Engage Users

 Twitter can be an active attempt to engage members of the community. Posting news articles of relevance and ask questions allows users to feel that their voice matters, and gets them thinking about the posts. 

Solicit feedback

Twitter is a perfect tool to ask for feedback on some service libraries are thinking about adding or some initiative the library recently implemented. Twitter is great for informally asking questions. When designing resources or services for users, it’s important to actually ask them. Twitter is one tool that could facilitate that. 

Create greater awareness of the library

Doing all the aforementioned things creates a greater awareness of the library and what it has to offer. Being active on social networking sites like Twitter makes the library more visible. Not every post gets noticed. And some that you think go unnoticed are actually effective. 
Facebook, email, and print are all important too and should be used accordingly depending on your community. But Twitter is great tool to have in your communication toolbox. It can be powerful in furthering your library’s mission due to its short and effective means of communication. 

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