Social Media in Libraries: A Review of Literature

The following is for my Preparing Instructional Media class.

University libraries across the country have adopted Web 2.0 technologies to enhance their websites, market their services, and to promote user feedback/interaction.  According to Mahmood and Richardson (2011), the most used Web 2.0 technology in libraries is RSS feeds, followed closely by instant messaging reference services, social networking sites, and blogs.  Using only member libraries of the Association of Research Libraries, their study showcases the number of academic research libraries in the US that use Web 2.0 technologies.  The uses for each of the most popular Web 2.0 technologies are shown in tables.  This article is a great overview of Web 2.0 technologies in academic libraries.  It has simple definitions of various kind of tech that make it easy to understand.

Mary Francis (2010) of Dakota State University’s Karl E. Mundt Library wrote about how they used Social Media and emerging technologies with their One Campus One Book event.  She talks about the libraries use of a website with an online discussion and ways to submit photos and videos relating to the book to enhance the program.  She then mentions the problems with the setup and how they revamped the program the next year for a more successful use of social media and emerging technology, and a more successful program.  Her idea to use social media and emerging technologies to enhance programs like this is an excellent idea.  College students are used to using this kind of technology already and using it in education and libraries is a great way to engage students in today’s world.

Deborah Lammers  (2012), manager of the Dumbaron Area Library, part of the Henrico County Public Library system,  writes in her article how her county system created a committee to create a presentation to tell the county manager why they wanted to start using Social Media.  She outlines their reasons for joining in with libraries across the country, how others use Social Media and how they will, and what precautions they took to ensure the safety of their patrons in order to convince their county manager to allow them to use Social Media to promote the county libraries.  This is a great article for those libraries that have not, so to speak, gotten on the band wagon.  It shows the importance of moving forward to a modern world and what we can do if our library has not started to use Social Media.

The uses of Social Media are seemingly endless.  Facebook pages can be used to promote events and new books.  Blogs can be used to not just promote events, but talk about them afterward, and they are great place to have readers advisory.  Flickr is a great site to show photos of the library, its staff, and events.  Both Blogs and Flickr have been used creatively to document renovations of libraries for the public.    Social Media is growing rapidly with every age group, especially senior citizens, and is a great way to reach all age groups of your community.  The drawback is getting people to visit your Social Media sites.  If you do not post them on the libraries webpage or make it known to the public that you have a presence in Social Media, they will not know.  You will also only reach those people that chose to follow or like you and those with accounts on your Social Media of choice.

Francis, M. (2010). Turning a one campus one book event into a web 2.0 experience: The first two years. College &  Undergraduate Libraries, 18(4), 399-408.

Lammers, D. (2012). Still facing obstacles to web 2.0 us by your library?  Try Henrico’s approach. Virginia Libraries, 58(1), 26-28.

Mahmood, K. & Richardon Jr., J. V. (2011). Adoption of web 2.0 in US academic libraries: A survey of ARL library websites. Program: Electronic Library & Information Systems, 45(4), 365-375.


2 thoughts on “Social Media in Libraries: A Review of Literature

  1. Isn’t it fascinating how social media has changed the face of how businesses and organizations communicate to consumers? It’s important in any field to evolve as technology and society involves or you risk becoming a fossil. Libraries are in a unique position as most people, including myself, tend to do my research online now as well as order e-books for Kindle and similar devices. You have to have programming to draw people in and use social media to reach out to them about the programming. A lot of libraries are also lending out E-book devices and the books themselves. I follow my local library on Facebook and I’d be thrilled if they had a Twitter account and a blog that was updated more frequently and consistently.

    • Exactly, Day, they have to put themselves out there to continue to draw people in, especially members of our generation and the next. Teens are even more connected than we are having grown up with all this tech being standard. I doubt they remember a time when a cell phone was just a phone or didn’t exist at all. I like the idea of them lending e-books, I know the county and city library do that and you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t realize that. When I told one of my coworkers, he as all “Damn, I need to let my wife no that so she stops buying them all the time.” Someone in my class asked if I could take over the blog! I think I’ll just give my suggestions to the person in charge of it, once I get up the nerve to “stick my nose in it.”

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