Monday, 22 July 2013

@VoicesLibrary curation

Last month I was luckily enough to be a weekly curator of the @Voices Library Twitter account. This is a project allows different library staff to take over the account for a week and post library-related tweets to approximately 1000 followers. I’ve followed it for a while and when I saw an invitation to apply I jumped at the chance!

I used my week to tweet about the role of a Systems Librarian and what it’s like to work in a further education college library. Initially, I was quite nervous apprehensive that none of the followers would interact with my curation. If I’m honest, I feared my tweets would bore people to sleep! I need not have worried – it was a great experience.

The project is a great form of library advocacy and an interesting way to spark professional debate. I have often commented on other curators’ tweets and was pleased to find that people commented on mine too. So much so that at times it was actually quite difficult keeping track of the account. I wanted to make sure the people who had taken the time to interact, each received a reply or retweet from @VoicesLibrary. I chose a different topic to discuss each day, with libraries’ use of social media being the most popular. At the end of my curation when I saw the @VoicesLibrary stats for the week I was pleasantly surprised.

Tweet used with permission from @Kosjanka
The logistics of the curation was something which needed an element of planning. During the week I tweeted on various devices including my phone and tablet (depending on where I was), but the majority of posts were sent via my desktop. I didn’t want the curation to be overly time-consuming as I was at work, but as I still wanted to maintain my own account and the library’s account I needed a way of managing three Twitter feeds at the same time. I decided on Hootsuite as an aggregator. I find it useful for monitoring various social media accounts without the hassle of logging in/out of each one. It also saves time by allowing posts to be scheduled in advance or be posted across platforms simultaneously. It was a big help during my curation and I have continued to use it since. I have also since started using to provide weekly stats for my account - something else I learnt about as a result of the curation.

During this week, my own Twitter account gained 6 new followers and I found many interesting accounts to follow myself. I am currently going through chartership revalidation and hope to include it within my portfolio as evidence of library advocacy and interaction with the wider profession. I found it a valuable experience - I’ve learnt about previously unfamiliar online tools, connected with new people and hopefully raised awareness of how a systems librarian spends their working week. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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