Reasons Why Libraries Should be using Social Media.

Comparison of Three Libraries

Type of Library Public Library School Library State Library
Type of usage Yarra Plenty Regional Library (Melbourne, Australia)[1] Brisbane Grammar School Library [2] State Library of Western Australia[3]
Information Service Provision Links to catalogue Links to catalogue, E-books, audio books. e-resources, quick links, subject guides
Web 2.0 applications used Facebook, Twitter Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, RSS feeds, Live traffic and visitor feed Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, RSS feeds
Mobile Apps yes Yes Not easily findable if any
Blogs yes 3 with dynamic names to meet different user needs Not easily findable if any
Educational programmes Technology lessons Web 2.0 application PD in conjunction with Syba Signs
Business/ Marketing News feed of upcoming library events News feed of upcoming library events News feed of upcoming library events
Easy use resources Very easy to navigate and find Very easy to navigate and find, but front page too long with a lot of scrolling Clear set up, but not very visual in terms of pictures and icons

Dynamic library websites incorporate the following four web 2.0 elements (Johnson and Lamb, 2012, p. 67).

1.      Dynamic Element– the website should be constantly changing and updated through RSS feeds, calendars and blogs

2.      Social Elements– Patrons are able to interact and express their ideas through blogs, micro -blogs, discussion areas and sharing with others.

3.      Participatory Elements– Patrons can rate articles, feedback on books, add comments and data.

4.      Interactive Elements- inclusion of audio, video, animation, text, and graphics.

We live and learn in a highly digitalised world. Technology is accelerating at an exponential rate. The mission of any library is to meet the educational, informational, or recreational needs of its population (Farkas, 2007, p. 233).

Reasons Why Libraries Should be using Social Media.

 1.      Relevancy

Social media is now mainstream and is expected by library users and client groups (Choi, 2012).

 2.      Communication.

This involves user participation and user feedback (Stephens, 2011). By entering into a two-way, collaborative and participative dialogue with patrons, libraries are able to build relationships, their credibility and brand (Choi, 2012).

 3.      Connection

Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter can be used to build relationships and rapport with client groups giving libraries a personal feel and facilitates community (Miller, 2005).

 4.      Engagement in Learning

Libraries are uniquely positioned to play a central role in digital learning (Peterson, 2013). Social media allows users to engage in learning in a playful way.  Johnson and Lamb (2012, p. 67) examine six roles that library websites can help fulfil as shown in the table below:


Old way

New Way

Searchers– finding quality information Enter a key word on a static page Enter a picture, word or sound. Use Instagrok to access content
Curators– organising, storing and accessing information Create static pages with links Organise information with, Pinterest
Inquirers– building personal learning networks Create bookmarks and take notes on word processor Develop personal learning networks
Socialisers– building online community Use email, post projects, discussion Participate and collaborate in the cloud
Organisers-processing and organising information Spreadsheets Exploratree, Inspiration
Storytellers– sharing information Powerpoint, Moviemaker Multimedia tools

 5.      Marketing

Libraries can use social media to market their services, collections and events (Burkhardt, 2009).

As O’Connell ( 2012, p.4) points out, school libraries and teacher librarians can have a major role in today’s interactive knowledge environment with a strong strategically planned and maintained website.


Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four Reasons Libraries Should be on Social Media. Information Tyrannosaur. Retrieved from

Choi, C. (2012). Is Your Library Ready For a  Social Media Librarian? Presented at the ALIA, Sydney. Retrieved from

Farkas, M. G. (2008, January 24). The Essence of Library 2.0? Information Wants to be Free. Retrieved from

Johnson, L., & Lamb, A. (2012). Technology swarms for digital learners. Teacher Librarian, 39(5), 67+. Retrieved from

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new Library. Ariadne. Retrieved from

O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4–7.

Peterson, K. (2013). Libraries Play A Central Role in Connected Learning | The Digital Shift 2013. School Library Journal. Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2011, February). The Hyperlinked Library. Tame The Web. Retrieved from


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