Time Will Tell: Librarians on Yahoo’s Acquisition of Tumblr

Perhaps what’s most noteworthy about the Tumblr library community’s reaction to the blogging service’s purchase by web behemoth (and, well, dinosaur) Yahoo is the lack of one. Yahoo, which announced the deal on its own Tumblr blog with a kind-of-awkward gif, purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion and promised “not to screw it up.”

When asked how they thought the acquisition would affect them, most librarians on Tumblr were unsure, but few were upset.

Erin Shea, who runs Darien Library’s Tumblr (and who is also one of LJ‘s two memoir columnists), said, “I think it is too soon to tell if this will affect us.” Kate Tkacik, one of this year’s Movers & Shakers for her work on Tumblr, agreed. Her best hope was that “Tumblr can finally make a buck and keep creative/directive control.”

One LJ Tumblr reader, Union Metrics marketing specialist Sarah Parker, said, “I think it will just give Tumblr more resources.…I’m optimistic.” New Jersey librarian Dana Skwirut echoed “I hope the search feature gets better!”

Some were more hesitant. Long Island’s Brentwood Library Tumblr asked “What is Yahoo exactly?” and dredged up some ancient Internet memories: “Remember Geocities?” Referring to the popular term for librarians on Tumblr—Tumblarians—University of Iowa archivist Kelly McElroy noted wryly, “Yahoorarian doesn’t have the same ring…”

It’s clear that—although some librarians feel that Yahoo might be too stodgy or too willing to compromise user experience—the acquisition doesn’t inspire the same distrust that Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads did. Everyone, for now, is staying put.

(image via)

Molly McArdle About Molly McArdle

Molly McArdle (mmcardle@mediasourceinc.com, @mollitudo on Twitter) is Assistant Editor, Library Journal Book Review. She also manages the Library Journal tumblr.