twitterbrary review: kingston frontenac public library

The last of my libraries using Twitter is the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL), which serves an Ontario county through its 17 branches. This is a bit bigger than some I’ve looked at, but it does a good job and I wanted to end this off on a high note.

The KFPL website is not tremendously beautiful, but in the right-hand column there are two access points to the library’s Twitter feed. The top of the column has a small icon without any context, but further down the column is a large badge saying “kfpl twitter feed” which looks like it’s made from scratch but uses the Twitter logo and font in what I assume follows the rules Twitter has for such things. Clicking on that button drops down a box showing three recent tweets and the “Follow us on Twitter” text link. Again this feels custom made, and is a nice way to do it, since it rewards people for wondering “What’s this Twitter thing” by giving the user a bit of context in the form of information.

If a person had never used Twitter before and the library’s actual profile page confuses them, it’s hard to blame the KFPL, as it’s pretty much just the standard Twitter interface. The dropdown link from the library’s main page is still impressing me with its step by step bringing people into the idea of what Twitter is. Plus the badge they use for the library isn’t a building! It’s a person’s legs sitting on library shelves, which I think is good and clever and gives a more personal image than bricks and glass

The KFPL does a very good job of integrating its services into the Twitter feed. They post about book news often including links to how to place a hold on the book being mentioned, as they do here for the Giller winner, The Sentimentalists (though technically it could be better integrated by pointing directly to the book in the OPAC). They’re also listing a lot of new services, about books of the week and new e-books and other things. They’re posting basically every day, mostly about their own services. I’m not seeing a lot of retweeting or community building on that Twitter feed. In fact, they aren’t following any accounts at all, which seems to be missing the point of social media a little bit, treating Twitter like another way to do very short press releases. That makes it useful from the library’s point of view but not as much a “cool filter” as other libraries who embrace the social aspects of Twitter.

My main suggestion would be deeper integration of the Twitter feed into the OPAC since they’re making steps in that direction. There could be some technical issues preventing this, but I’m not entirely familiar with their system. I’d also like to see them using some hashtags and actually engaging the community in conversation on the feed. But I can’t get too mad at them with their clever “KFPL on Twitter” button dropdown thing on the main page.

(Origami Blue Bird image by Jacque Davis)

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