Maine done; on to Nebraska

Continuing the saga of expanding my state-by-state survey of public library use of social networks… (AKA “getting in the occasional post while I’m mostly doing other, directly library-related, stuff”)

Maine done

From Abbot Public Library to Zadoc Long Free Library, I’ve now checked the 269 libraries (that is, public library agencies that report to the state library and IMLS) in Maine for activity on Facebook and Twitter.

For anyone who read the previous post and wondered why my sense of alphabetic order is so bad: I’m doing the remaining states in alpha order by state code, so Maine (ME) does come after Massachusetts (MA). Just as, in a couple of weeks, Virginia (VA) will come before Vermont (VT).

What I see in Maine as compared to what I saw in Massachusetts also reminds me that, for public libraries sampled by full states as for many other wildly heterogeneous cases, you could make lots of different cases as being valid–depending on which states you choose. So, for example, I can use two states to support the erroneous claim that “almost all” public libraries are already on social networks (if you define “almost all” as “slightly more than three-quarters”) and I can use four states to support the equally erroneous claim that less than one-third of public libraries are on social networks.

I think the 25 libraries I already surveyed represent a reasonably fair sampling–but I’ll be even happier with 38 states, and I’m nearly certain the overall numbers will change somewhat.

Nebraska next

So now I’m on to Nebraska–which, as I already noted, has exactly the same number of reporting libraries as Maine (269). I’ll start with Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public (serving 961 people) and, in a few days, get to Yutan Public Library (serving 1,198)…

As always, it will be interesting to visit the websites (when there are websites), see what’s happening, and appreciate becoming more aware of America’s vital and wildly varied set of public libraries.

Chapter 5 of the draft manuscript is “done,” and given other deadlines next week Chapter 6 (the penultimate chapter before doing the four-month followup survey and completing the additional survey) probably won’t get started next week and certainly won’t get finished.

C&I? Not yet a formal hiatus, not yet at the point where the 2011 volume is effectively done…if anybody cares, that is.

4 Responses to “Maine done; on to Nebraska”

  1. Michael Sauers says:


    Just wanted to make sure you found (click on participating libraries) and If there’s anything I can do to assist with your work here in Nebraska just give me a shout.

    Michael Sauers

  2. walt says:


    I’ve run into the second of the two when doing Google searches for libraries. I hadn’t run into the first–not surprisingly, since I’m working on a library-by-library basis from the state library’s spreadsheet of library names and LSA population (and lots of other stuff). Thanks.

  3. You used one comment (it is actually just two words, a pair of adjectives) which for me sums up the “state of public libraries” in the US on a wide range of topics: “wildly varied.”

    I have worked as a degreed librarian in Arizona, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and now Louisiana. I have had library cards also in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Illinois. From my personal observation, “wildly varied” describes both the states and the libraries in them.

    I look forward to seeing the completed work.

    Oh, and I’ll publicly say that I care about Cites and Insights, and hope that you will continue to produce it.

  4. walt says:

    Yep. Wildly varied sizes, wildly varied political structures, wildly varied funding, wildly varied usage–although the last one seems least varied (that is, up almost everywhere).

    I see the lack of uniform national structure (and national funding!) as being a strength, although it can also be a weakness. Given stuff in the UK, I especially see a lack of Federal funding/control as a strength.

    And thanks for the final paragraph. You’re the first in a little while to say so publicly.

    So who was this Lied? The Carnegie of Nebraska? (I’ve gone through the Ls, and am now finishing up the Ms…)