UBC Library (@ubclibrary)

10Apr12

The UBC library’s Twitter feed (@ubclibrary) is not accessible from the main library page, but is very obvious and easily found on the “About Us” page. Much like VPL’s, this feed offers quite a few links to external articles and news items from around the internet that might be of interest to followers. Something I have a bit of trouble in determining with this feed is exactly who those followers are.

Let’s look at a few tweets to illustrate what I mean:

Patrons of the library?

March 31: “Filming today @ikblc Limited access to main entrancehttp://ow.ly/9Wdex 10am-5pm”

April 5: “Easter weekend closure – A reminder that Rare Books and Special Collections, University Archives and the Chung Colle…http://ow.ly/1iB8Jg

General Vancouverites/people interested in education?

April 5: “The Future of Public Education in Vancouver – The Vancouver School Board is has an article on the public opinion’s e…http://ow.ly/1iB8Jf

March 26: “Teachers warn of new job action including full shutdown: ‘Our members are angry,’ BCTF president says http://ow.ly/1il5Fk

Other Librarians?

April 5: “Top Ten (10) Librarian Competencies in Evidence-Based Practicehttp://ow.ly/1iBi6z

April 2: “Contributions Librarians make to the R&D process – results of a survey http://ow.ly/1iwldq

April 2: “Read all about it: UBC Library Spring 2012 Update in the BCLA Browser http://ow.ly/a22MS

The tweets generally contain quite high-quality links, but the bulk of them relate more to librarians than to students or patrons of the library. That said, there is not a clear distinction one way or the other. While many Twitter users use the short bio section to describe and define what they tweet about, this one reads “UBC Library has 21 branches, with over 5.8 million volumes, more than 833,000 maps, audio, video and graphic materials in its collections. Explore your Library”. This doesn’t really clarify things at all, as it seems to be inviting students in while also explaining the library system to outsiders.

I think this feed would do well with a little Twitter mitosis. I think it is entirely valid and important for the UBC library to use its Twitter feed to situate itself within a larger community of libraries and librarians, but that is an entirely separate ambition from trying to engage and inform students and other patrons. These separate goals could do with separate feeds. Tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow Twitter users to manage multiple accounts simultaneously, easily posting to one or the other feed, or both if the occasion arises.

I do plan to stay subscribed to this feed as they post a lot of very valuable links, but I’m doing so more because I’m a library student than as a user of the library.

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