The Edmonton Public Library has recently undergone a brand facelift. Colourful, engaging, and with easy access to the library’s Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube channel, the library’s main site is modern and inviting.
Feeling as if I’ve been a little too critical of the twitter feeds and podcasts of the libraries I’ve looked at, I wanted to examine the twitter feed of the Edmonton Public Library and complement it with an interesting article posted by the Social Networking Librarian on innovative ways libraries can take advantage of social media in libraries.
The article itself is entitled 40 Cool Ways College Libraries are Leveraging Social Media. I’ve picked a few of my favourite suggestions from the list, and thought I would compare these points to how the Edmonton Public Library uses its twitter account to highlight the library’s resources and services and foster community engagement.
1. Tuesday Trivia
The Agnes Scott College library in Atlanta has contests on the library’s Facebook page each week, offering prizes to the first correct answer. I think this is a great idea, and if libraries weren’t able to offer prizes, these types of intriguing trivia questions could be used to raise interest in a book or collection. The Edmonton Library does just this. I particularly love this invitation to check out what causes wind after some blustery weather forecasts for the city.
2. Facebook photo contest
During National Library Week, Fairfield University library in Connecticut hosted a library photo contest which bolstered their Facebook following. I couldn’t find anything along these lines on the Edmonton Twitter feed, so how about challenging users to tweet photos of how they use the library, their experience at an event, or their favourite item in the whole library?
3. Show off new acquisitions
The Utah Valley University Library uses the system Shelfari to show off new acquisitions, but this could be broadcast over Twitter or Facebook pages as well. On Fridays, a spotlight of new acquisitions (with photos!) could be posted to entice people to come by library on the weekend and pick up the new novel they’ve been hearing about or a new Indian cookbook that just came in.
4. Pointing out useful resources
The Edmonton Library definitely does this, by pointing out useful and interesting parts of the collection on pertinent days. I liked a link pointing to all of the libraries resources on J.Edgar Hoover to coincide with the release of the much-discussed movie. In another example, on the anniversary of Louis Riel’s death, the library tweeted about their collection of resources on the Canadian folk hero and encouraged patrons to come in and learn more about him.
5. “How do you use the library?
McMaster University library in Waterloo Ontario promoted Twitter participation by asking this question to patrons and asking them to respond via the twitter feed. The EPL feed encourages user participation through asking questions and encouraging users to provide feedback.
Overall, the Edmonton Public Library really seems to take advantage of social media platforms, asking questions to patrons, providing links to lists of useful resources, and highlighting events happening at the library. Further, they’ve really taken advantage of twitter’s ability to make librarians more approachable to make libraries inviting and exciting. I’ve included a couple of new ideas, but overall I think the library is doing a great job of adding value to their collections and services and engaging the community through these tools.