Dispatches, by Joanna M. Burkhardt

Social Media Bots

March 1, 2018

In social media, bots collect information that might be of interest to users by crawling the internet for specific information and sharing it on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Bots use keywords and hashtags in their searches. Some social bots were developed to behave like a human—using emojis in their posts, only posting at reasonable … Continue reading Social Media Bots




Some of the entries in Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library's Geofilter design contest for teens.

Snapchat in the Library

November 1, 2016

The ability to chat with your friends, use filters, toss in an emoji, and showcase your lighthearted side are some of the many reasons millennials have flocked to this platform. This mass migration of millennials to Snapchat has made librarians sit up and take notice. Library Snapchat accounts have begun popping up over the past … Continue reading Snapchat in the Library


New Routes to Library Success

New Routes to Library Success

March 1, 2016

I’m director of Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine. As the result of being a worrywart and wanting to make sure that the library makes a successful transition to a technology-driven, digitally dominated future, I spend a great deal of time identifying and evaluating new library programs, processes, and management methods. After years of struggling … Continue reading New Routes to Library Success


Los Angeles Public Library patron Dennis Levin returned The Story of Scotch, a book he checked out in 1950, during the library's recent fine amnesty campaign.

Fine Amnesty Campaigns Bring Rewards in Chicago, L.A.

February 23, 2016

CPL’s “Welcome Home” program ran from February 4–18, while LAPL’s campaign, “LAPL Misses You,” was held February 1–14. The libraries waived late fees on all materials during the campaigns. CPL’s 80 branches received at least 20,000 items, worth about $500,000. This was CPL’s third time holding a fine amnesty program—the first was in 1985 just for … Continue reading Fine Amnesty Campaigns Bring Rewards in Chicago, L.A.


ALA members attending the Annual Conference in Montreal made a side trip to McGill University, where they posed for this photo on June 9, 1900.

Things You Didn’t Know about ALA History, 1876–1900

February 11, 2016

Throughout 2016, American Libraries will be adding images to the ALA 140th anniversary Pinterest board in reverse chronological order, starting in 1876 with ALA’s founding and ending up with 2015. This blog post includes some of the imagery from the Association’s first 25 years of existence. In 1899, Melvil Dewey, a founder of ALA and … Continue reading Things You Didn’t Know about ALA History, 1876–1900


Colleen Theisen, Susie Kirk, and Richert Schnorr

How Do You YouTube?

January 9, 2016

Theisen’s online video series, Staxpedition, tries to break down these barriers. “We have a will and an enthusiasm, but none of us knows anything about video, and we just really wanted to make them,” she said. Joining Theisen on the panel were Susie Kirk of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and Richert Schnorr of … Continue reading How Do You YouTube?


Digital ephemera

Saving Digital Ephemera

January 4, 2016

Larger institutions also got involved in attempting to preserve digital ephemera. That includes the Library of Congress (LC), which reached an agreement with Twitter in 2010 to build an onsite research archive. “Archiving and preserving outlets such as Twitter will enable future researchers access to a fuller picture of today’s cultural norms, dialogue, trends, and … Continue reading Saving Digital Ephemera


New York Public Library posted this image on Twitter on October 29 to signal comeback hopes for the New York Mets in the World Series. The friendly social media exchange among several New York and Kansas City libraries has caught the attention of several mainstream media outlets.

Libraries Take Part in World Series–Themed Twitter “Battle”

October 30, 2015

Some #bookspinepoetry for our friends @BlueJays & @torontolibrary #TaketheCrown #GoRoyals #ALCS pic.twitter.com/Zj5ZvhFljv — KCMO Public Library (@KCLibrary) October 20, 2015 Toronto Public Library responded, saying, “Warning.” “Kansas City.” “It Ain’t Over till It’s Over.” Well played @KCLibrary but we’ve got a way with words too. ‘Til tomorrow! @BlueJays #ComeTOgether #GoJaysGo pic.twitter.com/qED5PFp95t — TorontoPublicLibrary (@torontolibrary) October … Continue reading Libraries Take Part in World Series–Themed Twitter “Battle”


ALA’s Facebook Account Was Hacked and You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next!

September 8, 2015

For almost 31 hours over Labor Day weekend, American Library Association’s Facebook page was controlled by a hacker who posted decidedly un-library-like content and removed all ALA admins. While ALA’s Social Media Team scrambled to find a way to regain access to the page, new spam posts were going up every 20 minutes like clockwork. … Continue reading ALA’s Facebook Account Was Hacked and You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next!


Yik Yak logo

Ignite Session: Outreach, Yik Yak, and Reality TV

July 1, 2015

Mary Abler, project manager of the Southern California Library Cooperative, says when it comes to outreach, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Librarians need to think about outreach differently. Outreach traditionally takes money, time, materials, and permission. And even though it’s important to do, most librarians have maybe one hour a week to devote to it. So … Continue reading Ignite Session: Outreach, Yik Yak, and Reality TV