Tumblarian No. 1
Bank Of Montreal Business Research Group
MLIS, Dominican University, River Forest, IL, 2012
Played rugby in college
Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images for Library Journal
While still in graduate school, Kate Tkacik, now a research analyst at Bank of Montreal, started posting (February 2011) on the microblogging social network Tumblr as “the Lifeguard Librarian.” She recognized Tumblr’s value to librarians in allowing members to “reblog” posts with added commentary for more extensive and in-depth conversations than those on other social networks like Twitter.
Coining the term tumblarian to tag her library-related posts, she encouraged other librarians to do the same. The list she maintains of fellow tumblarians numbers almost 300. Her blog has been so successful that it is one of 29 featured in Tumblr Spotlight’s “Books” category. Now Tkacik has 10,800 followers (as of early February 2013) and is read by publishers, booksellers, and media outlets (as well as fellow librarians and book nerds).
It is only natural for Tkacik to see Tumblr as a place to learn and connect. That’s her forte. In graduate school, she began a library in a residential program in Chicago for at-risk boys. She has posted that helping bank employees with projects isn’t so different from helping young people with homework.
Tkacik’s upbeat, intellectually curious attitude comes across in her posts and attracts other librarians to her, says tumblarian Daniel Ransom, librarian for research and electronic resources at Holy Names University in Oakland. “She consciously set out to create a community, and, very quickly, she succeeded,” he says.
It’s not enough for Tkacik to create community but to figure out how to interact with her many followers. “I’m not interested in thousands of passive followers. I’m hoping to engage with readers—and help them connect with others in turn.”