How to win the internet and influence people:

Improving the use of social media in ALCTS

The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) asked the American Library Association’s (ALA) Emerging Leaders Team “C” to analyze the current ALCTS presence on social media and how it can be reshaped to help the division recruit the next generation of ALCTS leaders.

We were asked to evaluate how is ALCTS currently communicating with its members. Is it leveraging the social power of the internet to connect technical services specialists with each other? What do members and potential members of ALCTS want from their professional organization?

Goals and Objectives

The goal of our project was to develop a plan on behalf of ALCTS that would help them maximize their social media presence, with an eye towards inspiring new professionals to connect with ALCTS and join the organization.

Our team took the following steps: scanning the existing social media use by ALCTS; performing a literature review of professional organization online practices; surveying technical services librarians, library staff, and MLIS students about what they want from ALCTS; and developing recommendations for using the most popular social media platforms as indicated by our survey results.

The survey had 850 respondents who self-identified as technical services professionals or library school students. The survey was promoted via a wide variety of email lists, professionally-oriented Facebook groups, Twitter, and Tumblr. The good news? Many users appreciate what ALCTS shares — from job postings, to trivia games, to webinars and other opportunities for continuing education. The bad news? Relatively few technical services professionals follow ALCTS.

Percentage of respondents who are social media users, and percentage who follow ALCTS

Percentage of respondents who are social media users, and percentage who follow ALCTS

While over 90% of our survey respondents use social media, fewer than 25% of them follow any of the ALCTS-related accounts. That can be improved. Our final recommendations can be broken down into four distinct strategies:

Do that? Win the internet. Influence ALCTS members.


Our team presented our research and recommendations at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. You can view our poster here.