You might think that running a library twitter account would be the epitome of boring.
What to say? You lend books, catalogue books and reshuffle books. Of course, that’s probably an insult to librarians and I apologise, but to the outside world, that’s what working in a library appears to consist of.
But not for Stewart Bain, bookmaster of Orkney Library, who has just secured his 15 minutes of fame after getting noticed by viral news website Buzzfeed, for his ‘hilarious’ workplace twitter account.
Here at Orkney Library & Archive we don't like to rest on our laurels. Quite happy to rest on our Laurells though pic.twitter.com/MvsfKrpmz8
— Orkney Library (@OrkneyLibrary) November 28, 2014
Here’s the Story Behind Orkney Library’s Hilarious Twitter Account – Buzzfeed
Buzzfeed picked up on Stewart’s knack for turning the mundane into fuel for laughter.
Faced daily with uninspiring books such as ‘The Business – An Action-Packed Thriller Set In The World Of Snooker’, ‘The Unofficial Guide To Everything Wills’ and YMCA’s ‘Fitness For Life’, Stewart has added a touch of humour to his tweets by posting the covers with amusing captions.
Maybe the life of a librarian is not as dull as we think, maybe behind the sombre seriousness, there’s pages of fun just waiting to burst out. Well there certainly seems to be in Stewart’s case.
Surrounded by content
But on the serious side, Stewart and Orkney Library have pulled a blinder. Sitting in his quiet workplace day in day out, he is surrounded by the very thing everyone needs as a social media resource – content.
Content has become a bit of a buzzword recently, but content is nothing new, and neither are books.
But Orkney Library doesn’t have a commercial model as such, but it does have something to sell, and I don’t mean the worn, overthumbed books that have reached the end of their lendable life.
Libraries are closing all around us and many are under threat of closure, and councils don’t have marketing budgets for things like libraries.
People love to laugh and Stewart’s engaging Twitter account keeps Orkney Library firmly on everyone’s radar.
[tweet “‘People love to laugh and Stewart’s engaging Twitter account keeps @orkneylibrary firmly on everyone’s radar.'”]
With 10,000 followers in a population of 20,000, its reach goes way beyond the boundaries of the Orkney Islands. Clearly people will not board a ferry and fly in just to borrow a book, but it’s also a sign that Stewart is doing the right thing when people outside of the islands are following his tweets so avidly.
And it didn’t happen overnight. Stewart told BuzzFeed: “After 18 months on Twitter we had over 1,600 followers and @OrkneyLibrary was already being used as an example of best practice in case studies and at conferences.”
But each and every business or organisation, has a problem for social media to solve. But there’s no simple formula that makes it easy for everyone.
Variety, creative thinking, and staying power are the key ingredients of social media success. And Stewart Bain could write a book on it.