Thursday, September 27, 2012

5 Reasons why libraries should be on social media

I have chosen 3 libraries from the literature that have been suggested being early adopters of Web 2.0 technologies and looked at how they are using social media to support their collections, programs, events and services. The table below summarizes my findings.

Based on this table I have come up with 5 reasons why libraries should be on social media.
1. Libraries should be on social media because there is an audience.
Libraries are choosing to use social media technologies such as Facebook Twitter and Pinterst because they are popular so there is an audience that they can potentially interact with. For example Worthington Libraries has a presence on 9 of the most popular social networking sites

2. Libraries should be on social media to promote their collections, services and programs
Social media allows libraries to promote themselves in new ways. Kansas Library uses Pinterest for visual promotion of the collection that is reminiscent of themed book displays. Worthington's photo promotion of events gives users a glimpse into the excitement. Ann Arbor gives more people access to events such as author talks via podcast/vodcast.

3. Libraries should be on social media to improve their services
Social Media makes it easier for patrons to ask information related questions. For Kansas City library has added IM to their reference services which allows patrons to ask library related questions over the internet. Ann Arbor regularly answers ready reference questions via Twitter.

4. Libraries should be on social media to provide information
People are going online for their information rather than visit their libraries. By being in social spaces libraries can share their information online. Worthington Libraries use Facebook and Pinterest to link to their finding aid and Kansas City Libraries use Facebook video and YouTube to instruct patrons on finding information at the library.

5. Libraries should be on social media to engage with patrons
This engagement can be active or passive on the part of the library. Each of the social media used by the library have features that allow for dialogue, usually though comments of posts. At anytime users can choose to enter into a dialogue by commenting on library content. Worthington Libraries is actively engaging users on Facebook where during July Worthington libraries asked users for feedback and input into their strategic plan.

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