Both public and private libraries have important roles in society because they facilitate the publication of information that helps to educate and socialise their respective communities (Scott, 2012). The close educational relationship that libraries have with their communities necessitates the use of social media because it is increasingly popular among patrons. Local council libraries (BMCC Library, 2015), large city libraries (NSW State Library, 2015) and national libraries in Australia (ANL, 2015) have sought to develop their relationships with patrons via digital mediums such as social media. Facebook, Twitter, PInterest and Youtube are popular mediums for library information to be disseminated to audiences that can follow, search and share particular news of events, exhibitions, products, services and education topics.
The advocacy of increased technology use in schools by governments such as the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities’ Digital Education Revolution (2011) and the general widespread use of technology by students has been identified by Ahn et. al (2012) as an opportunity for librarians to share their knowledge through social networking platforms. Subramaniam et. al. (2013) have developed an internally controlled (externally accessible) social media application for science students to share and collaborate with school librarians in the co- creation of projects and curriculum called Scidentity. More specialised libraries such as the US National Library of Medicine, Alliance Library System (ALS) and Central Medical Library, the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) have further developed their approach to social media by utilising the second life virtual world platform to provide services for patrons (Boulos, Hetherington, and Wheeler, 2007).
The increased use of social media in our society has also resulted in issues of privacy and ethics that need to be considered by libraries (Griffey, 2010; Ahn et. al., 2012). Librarians can play a key role in role modeling the responsible and ethical use of social media thereby maintaining their significant traditional social importance. Farkas (2007) highlights the important role that social media can play in listening to and encouraging patrons to communicate with libraries so that services can be developed to address their needs more directly. Casey and Stephens (2009) suggest that Web 2.0 tools and social media can facilitate a cost effective vehicle for libraries and librarians to communicate with their communities. As economic difficulties threaten many library budgets and patrons turn to digital technologies, the use of social media can assist in addressing the needs of libraries and their communities.
Alliance Library System (ALS) (2015). The University of Illinois Library of the Health Sciences-Peoria. http://library.uic.edu/
Ahn, J., Subramaniam, M., Fleischmann, K. R., Waugh, A., Walsh, G., & Druin, A. (2012). Youth identities as remixers in an online community of storytellers: Attitudes, strategies, and values. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 49(1), 1-10. Retrieved from: https://www.asis.org/asist2012/proceedings/Submissions/89.pdf
Australian National Library (ANL) (2015). http://www.nla.gov.au/
BMCC Library (2015). http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/yourcommunity/library
Boulos, M. N. K., Hetherington, L., & Wheeler, S. (2007). Second Life: An overview of the potential of 3-D virtual worlds in medical and health education. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 24(4), 233-245. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2007.00733.x/full
Casey, M. and Stephens, M. (2009). You can’t afford not to do these things, Library Journal, 15 March. Retrieved from: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2009/03/future-of-libraries/you-cant-afford-not-to-do-these-things/
Central Medical Library, the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) (2015). http://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.rug.nl/umcg/bibliotheek&prev=search
Griffey, J. (2010). Chapter 5: Social Networking and the Library. Library Technology Reports, 46(8), 34. retrieved from: http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA244158910&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&asid=8a5789119ddb50c550d9b03998076fd3
Farkas, M. (2007_b). Social software in libraries: building collaboration, communication, and community online. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.
NSW State Library (2015). http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities. (2011). Digital Education Revolution – NSW. Retrieved from: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/digital_rev/
Subramaniam, M., Ahn, J., Waugh, A., Taylor, N. G., Druin, A., Fleischmann, K. R., & Walsh, G. (2013). Crosswalk between the” Framework for K-12 Science Education” and” Standards for the 21st-Century Learner”: School Librarians as the Crucial Link. School Library Research, 16.
US National Library of Medicine (2015). http://www.nlm.nih.gov/
Appendix A: Library Comparison
Table 1: Local, State and National libraries
Table 2: Medical libraries