I’m always on the lookout for innovative uses of social tools in libraries. This weekend I got an email from John Wohlers, Library Technology Assistant, Waubonsee Community College, detailing his experiences using Twitter at his library. John writes:
I thought you might like to know yesterday at the request of one of our librarians, I added a link to his twitter account on our library’s staff information page. Nothing big there of course… But then I decided that just the link was a big boring… So, I took a look at the API for twitter, and using it I then embedded the librarians twitter feed into the page.
A funny thing happened when I embedded the feed, other staff members felt left out, and a bunch (including myself) went and signed up for their own twitter accounts. Encouraged by their enthusiasm, I began to think a bit more. I then went out and created a twitter feed for the library itself. Now that we had a feed, I needed to tweet.
With staff often to busy to handle things themselves, and me having a basic understanding of the API, it occurred to me that I could actually make the library itself tweet on its own. An hour or so later, I had created a custom report for our SIRSI Unicorn system that automatically tweets once an hour if a book on our new book shelf gets checked out. (I figured check in would be pretty hit or miss as we are an academic library and most things stay out until the end of the semester anyway…)
Once that was working, I brain stormed some more, and decided to link twitter to our wordpress blog, a simple process. From there I tied it into our room scheduling program, so that now a tweet is automatically posted when a Library instruction is coming up. After that, I decided it needed something a bit more, and now every night at closing the library will automatically tweet about how much paper was used in our electronic research area. (I modified it a bit so it will now mention how many miles of paper were consumed too…) I hope that in the weeks to come I will be able to add on some more automated tweets.
This is ingenious – especially the automated part that sends message to the library’s Twitter account! What else could be automated? Links to new blog posts for all the library blogs? Notifications for new posts to Flickr? What would you add?
During the wait for all the updates to download, I added another twitter feature. There is now a “Tweet This!” feature on each record in our online catalog. Click the link, and it presents you with a login box for twitter, fill in your username and password, and click “tweet” and the current item you are viewing is automatically tweeted complete with short url to link to the catalog record. I can personally see this working well for a reading list, or even a quick and dirty method for making a list of items for a bibliography.
The catalog can be linked to at: http://library.waubonsee.edu/catalog/ and our main website is at: http://library.waubonsee.edu/
Thanks for writing John! Keep us informed when you update or add new innovations!
Take a look at the sidebar below for Marley & Me for the “Tweeet This” link.