Texas complete–and a small surprise

The Zula B. Wylie Library in Cedar Hill, Texas (up to the comma, that’s the name the library uses) calls itself the “Door to Discovery” and serves some 45,000 people.

It has both Facebook and Twitter accounts, both represented by icons on the clean & attractive homepage.

And that’s the last of the 3,555 libraries in Part 2 of my survey of public libraries on social networks.

But I’m only about 1/4 of the way through the four-months-later revisit of the 2,406 libraries n Part 1, so there’s lots more work to do…

The small surprise

In the first 25 states, as of this summer, it appeared that most libraries did not have a presence on either Facebook or Twitter (excluding teen & children’s accounts and “community pages”)–more than 40% did, but that’s less than a majority.

Given that small libraries are typically less likely to be on social networks than are larger libraries, and that the 13 states added in Part 2 have a lot more smaller libraries, I anticipated a lower overall percentage.

That’s not what I finally found.

Indeed, including all 38 states, it appears that most public libraries do (or did) have a presence on one of these two social networks–52%, or 3,108 out of 5,961. When I finish the revisit, the numbers will be higher, although not (I think) a whole lot higher.

“Most” in this case is a bare majority. If the other 12 states were included, there’s no way of knowing how the total would wind up.

The bulk of this activity is, of course, on Facebook, although I believe I found more libraries in these 13 states that have chosen to focus entirely on Twitter. I believe the total number of Twitter accounts is around 800, or less than 15% of the nearly 6,000 libraries.

That’s as much analysis as I’m likely to do at this point, until I get caught up and a little ahead on the 4-month scan.

Since my only real argument with some commentators was the claim that “all” or “nearly all” libraries were on Facebook, I’ll stick with that disagreement. Neither 52% nor 54% counts as “nearly all” in any version of reality I choose to honor. And when I say presence, that does include dozens of accounts that haven’t seen any new tweets or updates for six months or more…but not, as it happens, a handful of Facebook pages that are clearly library-owned but have no updates whatsoever.

2 Responses to “Texas complete–and a small surprise”

  1. sharon Says:

    I analyzed a number of public library websites in CT for my MLS research project a little over 3 years ago. I found that social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) tended to track the more traditional activities and measures–budget, reference interactions, FTEs, etc. I realize that the social Web is free, for the most part, but staff time is not free. I wonder if the average age of the staff is a big factor, where younger librarians are more comfortable with social media and in fact consider them as essential a marketing tool as we once considered the Ma Bell handset and the local newspaper.

  2. walt Says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    I wonder whether social network use has grown so much in the past three years that such correlations might be more difficult.

    Whether social network activity is marketing as such, or an attempt at actual engagement, is another question…

    In any case, I will not be attempting to correlate social network use with other library metrics other than population served; that’s just out of the question for this project. Not that it might not be interesting, but…


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