To read this content please select one of the options below:

Going social at Vancouver Public Library: what the virtual branch did next

Kay Cahill (Online Information and News Division, Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, Canada)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 26 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to follow up on the 2009 publication “Building a virtual branch at Vancouver Public Library (VPL) using Web 2.0 tools” and to explore the work that VPL has been doing in the social media space over the past two years.


Following the launch of its new web site in 2008, Vancouver Public Library has continued to expand its online presence, both via its own web properties and in the social media space. At the core of the library's approach to web services is the desire to take the community development model online, and engage with communities in the spaces of their choosing.


The Web Team has been active in moving into the social media space, and was an early adopter of popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The social bookmarking site Delicious also became an integral part of the new web site, being used as a management tool for the library's extensive collection of recommended web links. Since 2008 the Web Team has piloted a variety of other Web 2.0 and social media tools, pushing the library's online presence into new spaces while continuing to build on the successes experienced by its established accounts.


Libraries are very conscious of the need to leverage social media tools to engage with patrons, but are also facing the challenge of managing these tools with reduced staff and funding. VPL's success in this space offers a model of how to use these tools effectively to engage patrons, develop community, and maximize resources in a time of constrained budgets.



Cahill, K. (2011), "Going social at Vancouver Public Library: what the virtual branch did next", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 259-278.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles