Greater Victoria Public Library (@gvpl)


The Greater Victoria Public Library uses their Twitter account (@gvpl) to connect with users in a variety of ways. They use it to make reminders about upcoming events and annouce general library news. It has been used to promote April as poetry month, not only announcing events but recommending particular poems every couple of days. They also engage directly with users who ask them questions on Twitter. This has provoked a bit of a mixed reaction for me as I have been following them. On one hand, it does clutter up my feed a bit with things that are totally irrelevant; I have no need to be privy to these little personal conversations, and overall I find them a bit annoying.

But the advantages are twofold: some of the conversations I overhear contain relevant information (or what would be relevant if this was my library). For instance, one user complained about a technical issue, and the library repsonded that it was a widespread issue and they were working on resolving it. They later tweeted when the problem was fixed. This is the kind of up-to-the-minute information dissemination that Twitter is great for. The other, less tangible, benefit to overhearing these little interactions is that it if I ever wanted to ask the library a question, I would feel like the ice is broken. It puts me a bit at ease to have seen several questions and responses already go by, and makes me feel a bit more like I know the person behind the tweets than I would from just announcements.

Follow us on TwitterOn the library’s website, the link to the Twitter account is in the bottom left-hand corner of the main page. It is fairly big, and displays a “Follow us on Twitter” title, the bird icon, and the most recent tweet from the feed. However, there are a couple of obstacles to optimum usability. First of all, it’s at the very bottom. Secondly, the colouring is grey and white to match the rest of the site. I understand this choice from an aesthetic perspective, but when scanning the page for a Twitter link, it didn’t stand out. Another factor contributing to this same problem was that they chose to use the bird icon rather than the “t” that is commonly used elsewhere. Both are reasonably recognizable, and I suppose this is really Twitter’s problem for essentially having two logos, but it did trip me up momentarily. Lastly, the only part of the whole section that is actually linked to the Twitter feed is the bird icon itself, something else that tripped me up a bit. I did really like that it contained the last tweet, which would make it a little more accessible to people who are new to Twitter – giving them a taste of what’s inside.

The Twitter feed fits into the library’s services as both a newsletter/reminder service, much like the library’s home page, and also as a way of contacting the library. I found it a bit odd, since it seems to be used this way so much, that the Twitter feed was not mentioned on the “contact us” section of the library’s website. I think that I would stay subscribed to this feed if I lived in Victoria and was a frequent library visitor or knew that I was particularly interested in their programming.


2 Responses to “Greater Victoria Public Library (@gvpl)”

  1. 1 gvplapi

    Thanks for the great article! I’ll keep your ideas in mind 🙂

  2. Glad you saw it! The post was getting a bit long, but I meant to add that I really liked your use of Twitter as reader’s advisory with poem recommendations for National Poetry Month.

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