Can social media promote library?

In their mission to connect with library users, librarians have adopted social media tools as part of the Library 2.0 movement. Interestingly enough, people, upon first encountering these tools, haven’t always taken them seriously, writing them off due to the perceived silliness or frivolity of their names.

Social media offers libraries and librarians the opportunity to be more proactive in their outreach to their users. Just as businesses are using social media to develop customer loyalty, libraries are using social media to develop user loyalty. Considering that this kind of marketing is a growing phenomenon among libraries.

(Fernandez, A SWOT analysis for social media in libraries, 2009 )

Facebook is an extremely popular social networking site with college students. Many academic libraries have created their Facebook profiles to reach more users [example: Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member institutions, particularly academic ones]. The majority of these libraries maintain at least one Facebook page whose content typically focuses on library events, resource updates, etc.

(Wan, How Academic libraries reach users on Facebook, 2011)

As one of the fastest growing social networking sites, Facebook presents librarians with a prime opportunity to engage academic library patrons. A survey of 136 users at Western Michigan University (WMU) measured the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing, reference, and instruction tool. It also measured user comfort and satisfaction with a library’s presence on Facebook. The majority of respondents found Facebook to be a useful and engaging medium to learn about library resources and services. The results of this study indicate that an effective library Facebook page must maintain a balance between providing pertinent and useful information and preserving patron privacy.

(Sachs, Eckel, & Langan, 2011)

According to Dilara Begum, Head Librarian of East-west University, Bangladesh and Member of International Federation of Library Association, one of their most effective promotional activity for the library is popular social media Facebook where they post all news of publications and availability of new books/articles/journals through the library page.

In context of the textbook centric education system of Bangladesh, the question to pose here is whether we are ready to use social media as a tool to bring students towards library.

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