Twitter in Library School

Last semester I took the class, User Instruction, as an elective.  For our final assignment we had to create a 15 minute tutorial on anything library-related for any type of audience.  Since over the last 6 months or so I have had a love affair with Twitter, especially since it is where I learned about Hack Lib School Project, I figured I would try to share my experiences with my fellow students; they would be my audience for the tutorial.

I started off my presentation asking for a show of hands of students who had Twitter accounts.  About a quarter of the audience raised hands. When asked how many actually used those accounts only a handful of hands remained raised.  We talked briefly about why they didn’t use it.  Most said they didn’t see the point.  That there wasn’t anything they could actually get out of it.  My goal was to change their minds.

Here is my presentation.  It is rather screen shot heavy but I wanted to give a quick overview of the application before I went to use it live (and in case for some reason the internet connection was down).  Also, the examples I give of librarians to follow just barely skim the surface.  I just wanted to give people an idea of the library universe on Twitter.

After the presentation I was shocked by how positive the reaction was from my fellow students.  Many had no idea about how many librarians were on Twitter and about how hastags were used to find people with common interests.  I had several students come up to me afterwards to let me know that they would be setting up a Twitter account to connect with other librarians and to follow conferences.  Success!

But what do you think about Twitter?  Do you use it? [would guess many of you do as that may be how you found this blog]  Personally?  Professionally?  Some of both?

Do you talk about social media in your classes?  Should it be a part of the LIS curriculum?  In which way?

You can catch all of the #hacklibschool folk on Twitter as well:

HackLibSchool @hacklibschool

Micah @micahvandegrift

Julia @BookishJulia

Heidi @hfkittle

Britt @BrittMFoster

Lauren @laurendodd

Nicole @lhrtobos

25 replies

  1. Awesome presentation Nicole! I am a more recent Twitter user myself, but I’ve used it to connect with other library school students around the country, as well a library school students and professionals in my geographic area. I think it’s a great tool for networking both socially and professionally.

    Follow @BibliosaurusRex


  2. Good job, Nicole. I hadn’t used Twitter before studying with Michael Stephens how librarians can use social media and cloud applications to do their jobs and facilitate connectivity. I wrote a little about it last year: I still think large metro systems like CPL stand to benefit from spreading around more autonomy and getting each branch involved on Twitter and other social outlets. Cheers.


  3. What a great presentation!

    I’ve had a Twitter account for about a year and a half and initially signed up so no one else could have my preferred handle. Then last summer, I started looking for other librarians (I was making it up on my own about how to use Twitter in a way that was meaningful to me). Within a short time, I found myself obsessed and have been sorely tempted to replace my RSS feed and rely on just Twitter instead. The crowd will tweet and retweet the most engaging articles, right?

    Since then, I have become a mini-force in my classes as I actively go, “Oh, yeah, I heard about XYZ on Twitter some time ago…” Then on Sunday, I was putting my capstone website together and realized that since October 2009, I’ve actually had direct communication with the authors listed on my wiki. Where did I talk to them? Twitter.


  4. I’ve been active on Twitter for over two years now, and I originally joined to explore if the nonprofit I worked for should use it. It took me about 8 months, but they started using it — and are very active now.

    I’ve always used Twitter for professional reasons, but I feel much more engaged now that I have a real focus on the library community. I also love that there are people on Twitter to satisfy any and all your interests. Twitter is a great resource, and it bothers me when people who don’t use it mock it.



  5. I hesitantly joined Twitter last year, after hearing my friend Rachel gush about how amazing it is. I was totally convinced that there wouldn’t be much value in it for me, but within a week I was connecting with librarians, students, and educators, and engaging in awesome discussions with people all over the world. Twitter has been absolutely pivotal in bringing readership to my blog and in keeping me connected to current events in LIS and beyond. Even more importantly, Twitter connected me with my fellow HLS folks–without it I never would have met any of them or heard about Micah’s awesome idea for this project! It really is one of the best tools a student can use for professional development!


  6. I hesitantly joined Twitter when I attended ALA 2010, much to my surprise were how many other librarians I was able to connect with. Initially I thought of it as a real time way to let folks know “hey rm 11 is standing room only” at conferences, but lately I am getting more involved and really connecting with folks in the trenches. I wish I had started using twitter at the beginning of library school!


  7. I never thought twitter would be at all useful until I took a web 2.0 class that forced us to make twitter accounts. She gave us a pre-packaged list of librarians to follow, and I quickly expanded the list to include fellow students and librarians. I was really pleased at how much more connected to the library world I felt. Being in online school can make it difficult to form professional connections, but twitter really does facilitate these connections. I’m also always pleased when a family member is watching the news and tells me about what’s going on in Egypt and I say, “I know.” and they ask, “How did you know, I just heard it right now?” and I can answer, “Oh, it’s been all over twitter for hours.”


  8. So great to read all these positive things about Twitter here! Been trying to think of a way all morning of how to reach out to people beyond Twitter and find those non-users. Hmm sounds like a library user/non-user issue!

    Heidi started a great conversation on Twitter and Facebook over at the Hack Lib School Facebook page ( Hopefully that will pull in some non-Twitter users into the discussion….

    In the meantime though, tell all your colleagues about the great benefits!


  9. Pretty sure you all know that I love Twitter. One thing I’ve been thinking about lately, and may write a post on in the future, is how easy it can be to get stuck inside one group in Twitter i.e. following only librarians, LIS students, etc. I’d encourage you, me and all of us to keep reaching outside of the profession and making connections with related and non-related professionals (for advocacy as well as keeping our horizons broad). Daily, I learn something new from checking in on Twitter, and I’d say its 50/50 from LIS folks and others. What to know where to start? follow @audreywatters (, @acarvin (NPR) and @briancroxall (Profhacker).


    • That’s a really good point, Micah. Twitter’s so BIG — it is easy to just focus on your specific area, but broadening our horizons and advocating for our passions is also essential and easy on Twitter.

      Lists were talked about on FB this afternoon. People mentioned following specific types of people through lists as well as following conference attendees and people who tweet about certain content. I think those are all great ideas for finding something new.


  10. Something must be in the water, because I just wrote a blog post about twitter today, too:

    I’ve only had my account for a week, and so far I love it. Unlike Facebook, I don’t feel like I’m over-sharing with my constant posting of links, because that’s exactly what twitter is there for. And it’s been great to connect with like minded people, and see what information they are sharing.

    I think twitter is especially helpful in terms of professional development. Not only to connect with others, but more so to keep track of what the new technological trends are.

    Some of my favorite tweets come from libraries, making me realize that twitter is an awesome tool to market your services. For example, I just learned that my public library is going to start offering 3 free music downloads a week for card holders.

    After years of staying away from twitter, I am now hooked…


  11. Like Julia, I was a somewhat reluctant Twitter user. I really wasn’t a fan of Facebook, which I joined four million years after everyone else, and I expected this to be the same. I discovered quickly how much I loved it! I’m still really surprised at how few people in my program use the resource. I’m currently working on the Yes on Measure L campaign to save Los Angeles Public libraries, and trying to get the hashtag and followers for the campaign on Twitter is really hard. It’s strange, because activism through Twitter can be so easy; just hit “retweet” and you’ve contributed to the cause.


  12. Great post. I have been on Twitter for a while now, but had not thought much about connecting with too many people in similar situations as me (e.g. library school) until recently. That is, I was mostly following local news, weather, sports, and some Tech Blogs.. Lucky for me, I started following lib-people just as this blog was getting off the ground, and have found many interesting people to follow on Twitter through it and the many that are affiliated with it – editors and those in the conversations alike. Another great way to find fellow libschoolers that I’ve been using has been the #libraryschool hashtag search. All in all, this opportunity we all have for networking and developing ideas through Twitter (and other social networking outlets) has been great. In the little while I have really gotten into my lib-following stage, I have learned a great deal about library school, the profession, and other related things.. Anyways, enough of my late night rambling — I hope to continue to build this network and continue connecting with you all (@jus10barbour).


  13. Awesome Post! I am new to Twitter so I haven’t got the hang of it just yet, but your slides were extremely helpful and a little lightbulb went off! 🙂



  14. No worries, Judith. I think a lot of us are in the same new-to-Twitter boat. 🙂

    I tried out Twitter a while ago right when it was just becoming popular, but at the time I viewed it primarily as just another social network site a la facebook or myspace, so since most of my friends hadn’t yet joined up, I got bored and deleted my account.

    I got back into it somewhat reluctantly, but I’m realizing more and more what an incredible resource it is not just for LIS but for breaking news, networking, and even just funny one-liners. I’m definitely looking forward to connecting with all the HLS folk, and seeing what else happens via Twitter!



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