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Twitter Basics for Librarians

February 17th, 2009 by

In honor of the librarians at the Highland Park Public Library


I have been telling the librarians at the library about Twitter. If you put in a little effort at first, you can later use Twitter to increase contacts and resources in whatever area interests you.

Step One: Sign up and pick a username. You are going to need to stick with the name you pick, so pick carefully. It can just be your first or last name with an initial, or you can choose an alias like this one: jedilibrarian. If/when you are ready to represent your library on Twitter, you can use a username that reflects your library. You should also get an identifying user pic (I use my little froggy), because you might stand out a bit more if you have a good picture. You can poke around on Twitter to see what others are using to get some ideas. It doesn’t have to be a photograph of yourself; just something that looks good tiny. You can change the user pic easily later, if you like.

Step Two: Find some people to follow. I’m going to make this easy for you.

And then I found this: Libraries on Twitter
And this: Tweeters Directory: Librarians

Librarians, Library Studies Professionals

Note: please leave a comment if you want to be added to this list.

Organizations, Book Lover Lists (ALA) (School Library Journal)

Step Three: You can find others twittering about any topic by keyword by using You don’t have to follow someone to read their tweets (unless they have them protected). You can also learn about hashtags.

Step Four: Write some Tweets. Tweets need to be 140 characters or less. It takes getting used to, but you can learn to shorten “you” to “u”, for example. If you want to Tweet a URL, just paste it into your tweet. Try to fill up your tweet with key words. Let’s say you are writing about teen films. You may want to use the words ‘animation’ or ‘movie’ or ‘film software’ or any other descriptive words. Hash tags can be useful, too; you can find lists of hash tags (key words with a # in front, such as #books or #library) on the hash tag site.

Step Five: Get others to follow you. You can’t force anyone to follow you. But if you provide Tweets with valuable information (valuable is relative, we all have different ideas about what’s valuable!), others might find you and decide to follow you. You will probably also find that if you follow others, they might follow you back. No guarantees.

Step Six: Reply to someone. Did someone Tweet something of interest? You can reply publicly by typing an @ sign in front of their username and then write your Tweet. Like this:
@leoraw Thank you for your post on how to get started with Twitter.


I’m leoraw if you want to follow me on Twitter.

Note my regular readers: if you see ideas that were repeated from old posts, thank you for being such an avid reader! I’m planning to write a series of How To Use Twitter type posts, and I hope to gear them toward different audiences.

Thank you to these Twitterers who helped with this post:
@tealan, @camdencclibrary, @jransom, @briankelly, @tripnmommy
Brian Kelly sent me this post of his: 14 UK Information Professionals to Follow on Twitter? I believe his point is once you get used to Twitter, you should use it to build community, not just to follow the “big” pearls of wisdom.

Questions? Comments? Ideas about how to use Twitter? All welcome.

13 Responses to Twitter Basics for Librarians

  1. Ilana-Davita says:

    May I suggest a Twittter Basics for Teachers?

  2. Leora says:

    Ilana-Davita: sure! Though wouldn’t that be rather broad? I wonder if one could do Twitter Basics for Jewish Studies, with a specialization in the Holocaust. Except I’m not sure humanists use Twitter as much as librarians, who are more into tech.

    Maybe you can come up with some ideas?

  3. I think you can change your user name pretty easily; I’ve seen people switch.

  4. Ilana-Davita says:

    You’re right teachers is too broad maybe English teachers and/or those who specialize in Holocaust studies.

  5. Joann Ransom says:

    Hi Leora,

    I loaded a companion blog post to your one today – and linked back to your work of course!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Cheers Jo.

  6. Trip'n Mommy says:

    What a great post! Thanks Leora. I found a whole bunch of new people to follow.

    I am not sure you’d find that much on Jewish Studies on Twitter, but there is tons of stuff on Israel!

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  10. Emily Lloyd says:

    Nice intro! And I’d love to be added to the “librarians to follow” list. I’m an Associate Librarian with Hennepin County and write a webcomic set in a public library, Shelf Check ( On Twitter at

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