February 17, 2018

Lisa Bunker | Movers & Shakers 2012 — Tech Leaders


Lisa Bunker Movers & Shakers 2012


Social Media Librarian
Pima County Public Library, Tuscon, AZ

MA, Information Resources and Library Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, 2001

SXSW 2012 panel

Accio Quote
“Catalyst Café”

Photo by Mickey Williams

In March 2012, Pima County Public Library’s (PCPL) Lisa Bunker will cast a Revelio spell at the “Potterize it! Sharing the Magic of Fan Culture” panel she developed for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference to reveal how to draw crowds with the power of butterbeer.

As social media librarian for the 27-branch system in Tucson, AZ, for the past seven years, Bunker has tapped into her own love of all things Potter to develop an influential social media brand for the library, with thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook fans. It’s part customer-service desk, library behind-the-scenes, book and movie world news, and community news.

“Lisa has single-handedly turned our social media presence into a powerhouse,” says Jennifer Maney, virtual library manager at PCPL. “Thanks to Lisa, our library now has 21 social media accounts, a Twitter score of 71.2, and countless reciprocal connections with people in power, people on the street, and a variety of community organizations.”

In 2004, Bunker discovered the communities forming online around the Harry Potter books. “Here were vibrant forums, podcasts, news-sharing, fan fic and filk-writing, and wonderful fan art–making communities that were book-focused,” she says. She studied them closely. “How did the Potter fans communicate? What kinds of posts got the best conversations going?”

She became so engaged that within five years she was owner of the largest archive of J.K. Rowling interviews on the web and had cultivated ­PCPL’s social media presence. She’s also throw n five Potter-related events, including one at the Hotel Congress that drew more than 3000 people.

What can libraries learn from Potter fandom? “One answer is that we library staff can communicate the joy of books as real people and not solely as an institution,” Bunker says. She’s taught library staff to avoid posting “calendar barf” in bland, neutral language. She’s also trained county staff and the public on what social media is and why it’s powerful.

Amazingly, she accomplished this working half-time at PCPL. She is also director of the research library at the Tucson Museum of Art.

“Social media is just one of Lisa’s incredible talents,” says Bonny Bruce, an administrator with PCPL. “Her magnetism and boundless energy draw people in, and they work happily with her to do something good for the community.”



  1. Tech leader!? Yessssss!
    Now how can we use technology to get people to spell “Tucson” correctly?

  2. Congrats! And to think I knew you when you were just a bookseller! What a wonderful peak for yor career, and how nice to be noticed!

  3. Who knew, when we were interning at the Himmel Park branch all those years ago, what wonders awaited ahead? Congratulations and more, my dear friend. You deserve every kudo coming your way. (((hug)))

  4. It’s been so fun to be honored in this way, but I also hope it helps when I have to talk to decision-makers who still don’t get social media. Thanks everyone!

  5. Fantastic Lisa! What’s a Twitter score of 71.2 mean and where can I find the 21 Facebok accounts?

    • Lisa Bunker says:

      Hi Dave,
      It looks like my earlier response was lost. Anyway, the score’s source was Tweetlevel — it’s actually higher now. More people know about Klout, where, the most recent scores are in the mid-40s. Scoring is problematic because they may not be valuing your goals for the site (for example, customer service, conversation and news at a community-level). It’s actually more important to me that people are talking to us, sharing our posts and that our following is steadily growing.

      All our accounts are listed here, but they’re not all Facebook: http://www.library.pima.gov/contact/social.php The number of accounts is fluid. We recently added several Facebook accounts, and allowed a couple Twitter accounts to go dormant. Branch-level accounts are especially susceptible to staffing changes.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Lisa Bunker says:

    Hi Dave, the scoring service we’ve found helpful is TweetLevel. Since we’re using Twitter for customer service (not selling something), it seemed to value the same things. http://tweetlevel.edelman.com/

    Our social media presence is listed here: http://www.library.pima.gov/contact/social.php Since the information was gathered we’ve added several Facebook accounts and let some Twitter accounts go dormant. Branch-level accounts are susceptible to staffing changes so we have to be flexible.

    If you only look at one, make it the Facebook page for the new Seed Library. Several library staffers write and photograph for it; I love what they are doing there.

  7. Sherry Luna says:

    Kudos, Lisa! Looks like all those fun times at the U of A Library School helped further nourish a person we always knew to be creative and inspirational, as well as super nice! We are so proud of you! Sherry