In the past few weeks, the Mount Royal University Library has made its foray (albeit a bit late in embracing the trend) into the world of Twitter. There are plenty of social media tools for libraries to use to communicate with and engage patrons. There are even more library-owned social networking accounts that fall into disuse. Being well aware of that pitfall (admittedly our blog can fall silent from time to time), a thorough plan was drafted, addressing concerns including who would monitor the account, how frequently it would be updated, what kind of content would be tweeted and how it would be promoted. Most importantly Twitter aligned with our communication goal of being able to share quick items of an immediate nature with patrons.
Some of the things we are tweeting about include:
• Library hours
• Service interruptions
• Library services
• New resources
• Return of high-demand reserve material
• Other bits of library-goodness
We also use it to monitor what others are saying about us, good and bad, and share it by re-tweeting or replying to users directly. We have already been able to help students we might not have otherwise. A couple of weeks ago, a student tweeted that a book she needed to write a paper was missing from the Library. She wasn’t posing a question to our account, but venting to the Twitterverse. We replied to her tweet that she might ask for help at the Info or Circ desk in locating another copy. She replied a few hours later that they had helped her track down the book at the Calgary Public Library… and that our staff are awesome (which they are).
While Twitter has not replaced our main communication tools, it is an additional way to engage patrons who will follow us (71 followers to date!) Taking the time to draft a plan for implementation and maintenance has made the implementation of Twitter a breeze.
If you’re using Twitter go ahead and follow us @MRULibrary.
by Barb Macleod