Libraries Using Twitter: time-waster or effective tool?

[This post originally appeared on The Beekeeping Librarian blog]

I have been following a number of library and librarian twitter feeds and I have come to the conclusion that while in SOME cases libraries can make twitter worthwhile, in most rural libraries twitter is more useful for librarians than libraries. What I mean is that librarians in rural libraries (ie. most of Montana) can find all sorts of ways to use twitter to help them. It can help them communicate with one another and stay abreast of current information that is the lifeblood of our very profession. I like to know what’s going on in other libraries and tweets are perfect for link-sharing and short notes that would otherwise clutter the Wired feed (I know…an uncluttered Wired feed? What am I talking about??). I find it useful to know what books people talk about and about librarian-specific things but, again, that’s LIBRARIAN-specific.

What I notice from the libraries I follow that the primary use is in listing library events. Some also list library news, book reviews, links for patrons, or a fact of the day. However, the library news and links for patrons mainly have a local impact. If Bozeman is showing a movie tonight I probably can’t make it. And if WE were having a movie tonight in Lincoln County I am guessing we do not have enough people on Twitter to draw much attention from a tweet. It would be a neat test, though–since we are, after all, the adopters of new technology, should we not forge out a new path and tweet up a storm even though no one is listening?? If we twitter, will they come?

Until then, I do find twitter to be an interesting tool from my standpoint. Some libraries seem to be taking full advantage and i think that’s great. That’s the wonderful thing about new technology–there is so much of it that you have your choice of tools individualized for your needs.

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