Does your public library use Twitter or Facebook?

If your public library/library district currently uses Twitter, Facebook or both, I’d love to get some feedback to help me prepare a book on public library use of social networks, to be published by ALA Editions next year. Please send responses to, ideally by September 14, 2011.

Basic Information

Library/district official name
State, province or country
Service area population
Your name, title and email address
Whether you’re willing to have your comments used as direct quotations or only as background.

Comments on Twitter or Facebook (or both—indicate which):

Whatever you feel is worth saying about how your library uses the social network, how much time is spent preparing items and responding to items (if you do that), whether one person or many post, the feedback you’ve gotten from your patrons, whether it seems worthwhile—and whatever else you think is worth mentioning.

Comments on the relationship between the two (if you use both):

Do you use them for different purposes, or are Facebook statuses basically longer versions of tweets (or maybe the same)? Other comments on the differences and similarities as your library has used them?


I can’t guarantee your comments will be used—I’d expect that no more than 2,000-3,000 words of the book will be comments from these emails. I will list you in the acknowledgments (unless you ask me not to do so) and your comments will definitely help as I prepare the subjective portions of the book.

I’ll look up your library’s home page and go to your Twitter and Facebook pages, to pick up basic numbers (followers, following, tweets, likes, visits) and five recent items from each service as examples of trends and practices—unless you’re in one of the six or eleven states for which I’m doing full sweeps, in which case I’d do that anyway.


Walt Crawford

Clarification added August 2, 2011: While this message doesn’t name the “six or eleven states,” I did mention the six states (not the 11) in a FriendFeed note and may have mentioned them elsewhere.

The six states were chosen by population to give a good cross-section (that is, a very large state, a not-so-large state, a medium-sized state, a smaller state, a small state, and a very small state–all in terms of population, not physical size), since I can’t possibly study every single state.

While I’m retaining that principle, further investigation reveals the need to make slight adjustments for the sake of plausibility. In one case, a medium-sized state has hundreds and hundreds of libraries reporting, making it extremely cumbersome to evaluate; in another, a small state has only one public library with many branches. In both cases, I’ve taken an “adjacent” state instead–that is, the next higher-ranked or lower-ranked in population. If I go to 11 states or 16 states, I’ll use the same accommodation.

I can say for sure that California, New Jersey and Minnesota will be studied, since I’ve already done those, and Wyoming–the smallest state by population–will also be studied. It’s highly likely that the fifth and sixth states will be Mississippi and Idaho. That will mean I’ll have checked more than 800 library agencies…

In any case, all reports from public libraries, including those in Canada and outside North America, are welcome. They’ll be treated equally in terms of background comments, and I’ll do a special pass on all “non-studied” libraries come mid-September, treating them as a separate group.

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