Red Deer Public Library (@rdpl)

09Apr12

The librarians in charge of the Twitter feed at the Red Deer Public Library (@rdpl) in Alberta are fairly prolific, with several posts each day. Topics range across things like announcements about upcoming events, highlighting features of the catalogue or the library services, to tying in collections to current events or occasions, as well as general local community information or observations.

The RDPL website‘s link to its Twitter feed is one of the easiest-to-find links to the Twitter feed I’ve come across. Located on the left-hand sidebar midway down the page, users do not have to scroll down at all in order to see it, and it features a “follow us on twitter” button with the bright blue, very recognizable Twitter title logo.

Red Deer Public Library Website Screenshot

An easy-to-find Twitter link on the left-hand side

I like the creative uses of day-to-day engagement this Twitter feed has. For example, on March 15 one tweet read “Et tu Bruté? http://ow.ly/9uHAd Poor Caesar!”. The link, if followed, leads directly to a list of RDPL catalogue search results for “Julius Caesar”. This is very similar to what  a librarian would be doing in the physical library itself, but extended into the electronic realm.

Another way that this library uses Twitter, which I haven’t seen too much elsewhere, is in highlighting existing features of the library and catalogue. For instance, a March 25 tweet reads “Wanna remember what you just returned? Splendid feature in our new catalogue. – http://ow.ly/9NUus“. Another one from the same day reads “Did you know we have a Metis Collection? Got lots of other gems in Featured Collections! – http://ow.ly/9NUur“. I think it’s very easy for library users to develop habits in the way they use the library, and neglect to explore other ways they might do so. Little prompts and prods like these ones could be quite revelatory at one time or another. The Library and Archives Canada blog, which their Twitter feed often linked to, did a very similar thing but with more in-depth and instructional posts rather than using just the tweets themselves.

Occasionally, the RDPL posts items that are not related to the library at all. One example is a tweet from March 30, “If you have information about this missing #reddeer girl, please contact the Red Deer RCMP ph# at bottom of article.http://ow.ly/9Zu9F“. This shows how the  library situates itself as part of the larger community, and is not solely concerned with using Twitter as a self-promotion tool.

I am not going to continue to follow RDPL, as the posts are generally not relevant to anyone who is not a user of the RDPL or at least a Red Deer resident. If I did live there, I would have mixed feelings about it. The posts are quite frequent and might be enough to feel like a nuisance to me, as many of them relate to events I am not likely to attend. On the other hand, it might be worth it on the off chance I discover a whole new way to use the library that I’d never even considered, based on their feature-highlighting tweets.

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