Many thanks to Alex Zealand from the Arlington Public Library for participating in the 7 Questions for Libraries using Twitter series!
1. What is your Twitter username?
2. Who is responsible for tweeting?
@ArlingtonVALib – Me (Alex Zealand, social media coordinator) and occasionally the public information officer.
@ArlVALibCC – The Business & Careers Librarian, and me (she does career, I do college with help of the Teen Librarian)
3. How did your library get started with Twitter?
The public information officer suggested that we should try it (I had been messing around with creating a facebook page for the Library). This was in part because our budget for printing events flyers had gone way down, but also because the Smithsonian’s various museums had recently launched new websites and was starting to use twitter in a (for that time) new and innovative way.
4. What Twitter (and related) applications do you use?
I mostly rely on Hootsuite to manage our accounts.
5. Do you have any formal or informal policies regarding how you use Twitter?
Our informal policy is “Library, Literary and Local” – I primary tweet info that fits into these categories. But I’m also always experimenting with question and conversations, in pursuit of community building.
We do have a formal comment moderation policy for our news blog, and that informs the way we deal with conversations on twitter as well.
6. How has being on Twitter impacted your library?
I’d like to say that it has given us a greater, more savvy online presence, and I hope that being on twitter has caused people who might not visit the Library’s web site to have a greater sense of our place in the community and all the resources that we offer. But since we’ve been here since the relatively early days of library twitter use, I don’t have anything to compare against.
We didn’t have a social media coordinator position until I created the role, so staying abreast of social media research (as a result of our twitter, facebook, flickr, youtube, etc use) has definitely contributed to the constant evolution of our digital branch.
7. What advice would you give other libraries on Twitter?
Find your own voice – the voice that your library patrons would most associate with you. Then remember that twitter is a community building tool, not an end in itself, and craft your tweets accordingly.