Current Research Projects

DEBATING DIVERSITY: HOW TWITTER FACILITATES PROFESSIONAL DISCUSSIONS

Principal Investigator (Funded by the SJSU Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Grant, 2019)

Project Overview: 

This project will examine how librarians use Twitter to negotiate the collective meaning of their core values using the debates over the ALA’s revision of its meeting rooms interpretation. The aims of this project are: 1) To explore librarians’ evolving understanding of their core values of diversity and intellectual freedom; 2) To understand how librarians use Twitter to debate and discuss issues important to the profession.

The debates that surrounded the revision of “Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” suggest there is disagreement among librarians about how these core values should be interpreted. By incorporating empirical evidence from practitioners, this project will bring added nuance to the discussions that already surround these values in the LIS literature. The practices and discourses identified in this study will provide insights for practitioners as they seek to improve their diversity-focused services and programs. LIS educators can also draw on this new knowledge as they develop programs that prepare librarians to provide these critical services and programs. By grounding curricular offerings in the evidence-based practices of the profession, they will better prepare librarians to deliver diversity-focused information services that more effectively meet client and community needs.

UNDERSTANDING PUBLIC LIBRARIES’
CONVERSATIONS: PROMISES AND CHALLENGES OF
MICROBLOGGING DATA

Project Team: Amy VanScoy and Mary F. Cavanagh

Project Overview:

The modern public library has long left behind its role of a warehouse of books and answerer of questions. Through outreach, programs, and other services public libraries now play a vital role as a community network. Recently, public libraries have been embracing social media as a way to connect to their clients and build community. Currently, one of the most popular social media applications is the microblogging service Twitter.

By combining two methods, content analysis and network analysis, this project probes further into the nature of the relationships libraries have with their communities online — exploring their interactions, how these interactions lead to relationships, and how these relationships can be characterized.

This project offers a methodology for studying public library engagement on Twitter. In addition, analyzing library social media feeds aggregated beyond individual libraries will provide context and direction for public library social media strategies.

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