Why should libraries be on social media?

Select three (3) libraries of your choice that use social networking to meet their goals.

Develop a comparative table which documents how each of the libraries use social networking tools to support information service provision, educational programs, conduct business etc.

Based on this comparison (and in no more than 350 words) develop your own list of “Reasons why libraries should be on social media”, and draw upon aspects of these three libraries to illustrate each point.

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YPRL (Public library)

Facebook Page

1057 page likes. Posts include events happening in the various libraries, updates on renovations, links to lists created in bibliocommons, links to reading related articles and external events; occasional posts to page from users, some asking questions which are responded to.


1082 followers. Links to Facebook page posts and occasional retweets. Some interactions with users


Rate and review books. A worldwide (200 public libraries in 4 countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US., wikipedia) service that is incorporated seamlessly into the YPRL site. Both staff and patrons review and create lists of books to share. Did not observe commenters interacting with each other/library staff but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen.In 2008, Library Journal called BiblioCommons “a revolutionary social discovery system for libraries”.I incorrectly noted in my review of the website that there was no option for users to share their books/reviews on social media – Bibliocommons does have sm sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, Tumblr and to email.

MHS (Secondary school library)


Reports on events held in the library, information about various websites and tools of interest to students, book reviews etc. No evidence of interaction by students through comments but various posts liked by other bloggers (from observation these were not students).

Facebook Page

186 page likes. Almost exclusively links to blog posts. Some evidence that post likes are from students.


49 followers. Different content to their blog/facebook. Tweets observing goings on in the library, links to articles and sites, general observations of school/library life etc. Tweeted 4 times in 2012 then nothing till September 2014.

CSU (Tertiary Institution library)


“Your Library@CSU keeps you up to date with new titles and DVDs, new databases, changes to services, as well as great new web sites. The Library blog has handy study tips, links to current reports and newspaper articles, and alerts you to any new Library podcasts.”Eclectic range of articles on library services, resources, advertising events, news – eg opening hours over breaks etc,, study support and so on.

Facebook Page

1859 likes. Less frequent but similar posts to tweets. More evidence of interaction through likes, comments and shares.


1497 followers. Links, information, RTs. Not much evidence of interaction.


Channel includes library tours and information videos (eg What is Endnote; Saving searches)


Only found this from the Youtube channel. Doesn’t appear to be anything shared here.

According to Farkas (2008) – our goal is to “do right by our patrons” by focusing on the users’ needs. That means that if users communicate using social media so should you.

Burkhardt (2009) gives four reasons:

  • Communication – it is the way that many younger people communicate (as opposed to email, phone etc)
  • Respond to positive/negative feedback – show that you care
  • Marketing/advertising
  • Understanding users better – have a conversation, learn stuff!

King (2015) lists 5 reasons:

  • listening
  • making connections
  • getting responses
  • taking advantage of mobile technology
  • extending reach

I think these can be streamlined into three main reasons:

  1. Communication – includes listening, responding and making connections. CSU and MHS use their blogs to keep users informed about new resources, new and changed services, study help and more. All three curate for their users by sharing links via Twitter and Facebook. YPRL users ask questions and get responses on Facebook.
  2. Marketing – social media is ideal for sharing virtual advertising posters promoting services and upcoming events making them available anywhere instead of just within the library building. MHS and CSU use their blog and Facebook in this way. YPRL promotes events and competitions through Facebook and Twitter links to Facebook posts.
  3. Extending reach (this incorporates taking advantage of mobile technology) – just as a website should provide multiple access points to get to information so should a library offer more ways for users to access their services than just a physical location. This is increasingly important in schools where one to one technology access is becoming the norm. The library should be providing services to teachers and students where they are and when they need it. A student might not think to go to the library website but if they connect with Twitter or Facebook they can be kept informed and involved. All three libraries use social media in this way.


Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Retrieved from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/

Farkas, M. (2008, January 24). The essence of Library 2.0? Retrieved from http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2008/01/24/the-essence-of-library-20/

King, D. L. (2015). Managing your library’s social media channels. Library Technology Reports, 51(1), 5. doi:10.5860/ltr.51n1

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