College libraries gravitate to social media in fight for relevancy

The video has been viewed more than 45,000 times after Harper library officials posted the YouTube clip to the library’s blog at the start of each academic year.

“It is a way of reaching the students where they are,” Ukleja said.

Academics have published studies on the growth of social media use among college librarians, along with the resistance many library officials have faced from other staff members and officials.

In research published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association, the two most common reasons campus libraries did not launch Facebook and Twitter accounts were a lack of time and “the belief that Facebook would be of little or no use in an academic setting.”

The researchers found that instead of using social sites to interact with students, faculty, and alumni, campus libraries used Facebook primarily to market the library, distribute announcements to library users, post photos, and provide chat references.

College students might hesitate to interact with librarians on Facebook because they would consider eMail a more appropriate way to communicate with library staff members, researchers said.

Elizabeth Bagley, director of library services at Agnes Scott College in Georgia, disagreed, saying students rely on the immediacy of social media far more than eMail.

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