Twitter is a social media platform known as a ‘microblogging’ site. It allows users to post short ‘tweets’ of up to 140 characters. Many librarians are very active on Twitter and as such it can be a fantastic tool for both formal and informal professional networking, raising professional awareness and keeping up to date with the latest news and job roles appearing in the sector. You can see one of our tweets below:
Fancy writing something for us? Perhaps you’ve just been to your first conference, or started an LIS qualification? Get in touch!
— FLIP Network (@FLIPnetworkUK) November 22, 2015
Even if you aren’t keen to tweet much yourself, it is still worth considering setting up a twitter account. Tweets from all the accounts you follow appear in a feed which you curate personally. As such, you can easily access a large bank of up to the minute knowledge and information relevant to the profession. The brevity of Twitter is especially useful in this instance as it is easy to get a quick overview of what is happening in your feed by scrolling through, and often this leads on to the discovery of interesting blog posts, articles, hashtags and people that you may find it worthwhile to pay attention to in future.
— Sarah Arkle (@SarahArkle) July 21, 2015
— Suzannah Bridge (@suzannahbridge) November 15, 2015
There’s an incredibly vast number of librarians or LIS related accounts you can follow, but here we’ve put together a selection of ones that may be most useful to those who aren’t already familiar with the LIS Twitter-sphere.
CILIP and various offshoots @CILIPInfo
- CILIP is the main professional body in the UK for LIS professionals. @CILIPInfo is their main Twitter account but many of the special interest groups and regional CILIP branches have their own twitter accounts which will tweet information more relevant to their location or subject area.
IFLA and various offshoots @IFLA
- IFLA stands for the International Federation of Library Associations. It is the main global network and voice for the LIS profession. It has various offshoot accounts relating to the different areas of work and interest within the organisation.
- RLUK is a consortium of UK based Research Libraries.
- SLA Europe is the European chapter of the Special Libraries Association (not to be confused with the other SLA, the school libraries association). SLA covers a wide range of libraries across different sectors and host a graduate open day annually where new professionals can learn more about working in ‘special’ libraries.
- The New Library Professionals Network was set up by four MMU graduates. They offer advice and information to new library professionals on career development and also put on CPD events on a budget which are perfect for those just starting out in librarianship.
- LISNPN are another network for new professionals who often blog about the various aspects of being a new professional.
And of course, @FLIPnetworkUK !
- #uklibchat is a monthly Twitter chat based around an area of the LIS profession. previous chats have included LIS degree programmes, ebooks, marketing and more. It is a really useful means of engaging with other LIS professionals and also expanding your own professional awareness. Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident enough to participate yourself, just keeping an eye on the #uklibchat hashtag can be very informative
Library Jobs and News
we would recommend following these accounts for up to date information about jobs and news affecting the sector.
@VftL_UK – Voices for the Library were a group founded in order to speak up for libraries and their enduring importance and relevance in society. They tweet a lot about the issues facing public libraries in the UK as well as acting as a platform by which to champion the work done by libraries in the UK. VftL sadly disbanded in 2017, but their timeline is still well worth reading.
@SpeakUp4Libs – This is a coalition of organisations which campaign for libraries and library workers. They are a good source for news about what is going on in UK Public Libraries.
@RadicalLibs – The Radical Librarians Collective are a group which offer solidarity to those working in libraries who are critical of the marketisation of the profession and the commodification of information. They have annual gatherings in the UK.
There are, of course, many other excellent accounts and interesting individual librarians worth following but listing them all would take a very long time. The best way to discover people is to keep an eye on your feed and follow accounts which relate to your professional interests. Don’t feel too much pressure to be tweeting constantly – often twitter is great just as a tool for developing professional awareness, but it can be a great place to network and find your place within the library community.
I love Twitter, I love librarians, I love librarians on Twitter #radlibs15
— Sarah Arkle (@SarahArkle) June 3, 2015