twitterbrary review: medicine hat public library

Medicine Hat Public Library (MHPL) has a flashy website with an automatic slideshow and also integrates Twitter into its offerings.

MHPL puts the Twitter logo up at the top of the home page. Since the background is green and the logo is blue it pops out immediately, making an exceedingly obvious access point for the social media service. Clicking on that logo brings you to the library’s Twitter account. That’s not all though. Below the main images of the page there is a box with four recent Tweets. This box is the standard widget, and includes the Twitter logo, along with the Join the Conversation link that takes you to the Twitter account. While there isn’t direct access to the Twitter account from the catalogue, there is from the Teen Services page, which says good things about their accessibility.

Usability here is good. There’s no hand holding about how to use Twitter, but having a few tweets directly on the main page means people who don’t know what Twitter is are able to get the information out of it. Clicking through to the Twitter account brings you to the standard Twitter interface. The background image is of the library building and the icon is the library logo. Any usability problems on that page are more Twitter’s problems than the library’s, but the Follow button is prominent.

MHPL has done a good job of integrating Twitter into their services. They’re using it to advertise programs, share videos, and be generally a part of the community. For the latter part of their mission it seems they use the hashtag #medhat, which is used by more people than just the library. That’s an important part of being part of the Twitter community, being able to see what else is going on in the town. There is some retweeting going on but not a huge amount. I also don’t see many @replies, but in general this feels conversational and not like a list of press releases, which is always good.

The library is very good about tweeting enough to make its information useful and timely. As a user I’d be glad to see the information that certain classes or programs weren’t full yet. I also like the linking to YouTube clips of storytimes and other local access TV spots about the library. There’s a lot of good stuff here. It’s very hard to suggest a better use of Twitter for this library, because they’re doing a great job.

(“Sideways” image by Kenny P.)

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