If one were to stumble upon Bracebridge’s Library homepage without the benefit of a list of Twittering Libraries, it would be very easy to think they had no Twitter presence. On the home page there are hours of operation and contact information, but nothing indicating Twitter at all. There’s an icon at the bottom of the page with the familiar @ symbol followed by letters, a clear Twitter indicator, but that icon isn’t a link (in this case it says @yourlibrary, which would be a good Twitter account name). The “Wireless @yourlibrary” button in the left-hand navigation menu doesn’t point to Twitter either. It’s only when you go to the Events Calendar that you see the link to follow Bracebridge Public Library on Twitter. It’s a simple URL, that is, thank deities, clickable. It’s possible that this is the best place for Bracebridge patrons to have this kind of thing, if the events calendar is the most checked page of the website, perhaps. Otherwise it seems too hidden to be much good.
Since the actual Twitteriness is off on the Twitter site, any deficiencies in design over there belong to Twitter. They do have a user image, which is the outside of the building, and the background image is made up of tiled spines of leatherbound books. It looks very libraryish. There isn’t much direction on how to use Twitter, either back on the Bracebridge website or on Twitter, but the big Follow button isn’t too hidden. If someone just wanted to read about what’s up with the library, that’s certainly possible.
There is very little integration of Twitter into the main page of the library, but they do appear to use Twitter as a decent promotional tool. As of today they’re advertising their downloadable e-books and letting people know about an upcoming event, but you can also read about new resources in the library.
The biggest problem here seems to be the sporadicness of the updates. Before the two posts from the beginning of November, the most recent was in June. There’s also a bit of a sense of forlornness about a tweet saying Stumped? Curious? Have a question? We are here to save the day! For your information needs email us at … being the first post in months and the next one being a month later (and the fact that they’re using Twitter to ask for emails seems a bit like it’s missing some of the possibilities of the medium). So the usefulness to users is a bit lower than you might like.
My suggestions would be to make the Twitter account more visible on the home page. They wouldn’t have to do much, just add a link to their contact information, maybe use the actual Twitter icon for brand recognition. If there’s some problem with the userbase not knowing about Twitter, maybe some form of quick instructional page would be useful. That could be linked to off the contact page. Finally, more consistent posting is key to making any of these blogging or micro-blogging tools useful. There are some good bits up there but in my opinion Twitter seems to work better when it’s constantly dripping information.
I do understand that this is a tiny library and really, good on them for trying.