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Use of social media by the library

Social media can be a powerful tool for communicating and facilitating relationships with existing and potential customers, and is becoming increasingly popular with the library community. Over 70% of libraries are using social media tools, whether it be for promotional purposes, collection management, outreach, or for enhancing teaching and learning. But very little research has been carried out to identify such practices, and how institutions and individuals go about their social media activities in a library setting, or measures of how successful it is.

Taylor & Francis set out to identify current practices related to libraries and social media, for other institutions to benchmark their own practices and gain inspiration for new approaches. This white paper covers what was examined and discovered from carrying out our methodology using three focus groups of UK, US, and India based librarians. The findings are broken down into the following categories:

Current social media practices

This research highlights the current variation in how social media is currently being used within the library community, including details of early experiments with social media, as well as reasons to use social media and the challenges and opportunities it poses.

An overview of our surveys is given, with detail on how social media can achieve library objectives, and what channels and strategies can be applied in meeting them.

Social media policies & management

As social media usage increases, librarians are introducing policies to assist in the management of timing, tone and content. Here, we look at how this is being done at the institutions within our key countries in the UK, US and India.

Effectiveness of social media

But how effective is social media from the point of view of a library user, when it comes to the librarians attempts to engage using this method? With little evidence carried out on the subject, Taylor & Francis sought to investigate the tracking of social media activity by libraries, and what users they are reaching out to.

Promoting library social media channels

In our focus groups and interviews we explored how libraries promoted their social media channels, investigating popular practices, as well as how librarians go about promoting their accounts to users.

The future for social media in the library

With social media becoming more integrated into the daily role of a librarian, in this section we hear about the views of our focus groups on the future of social media as a communication tool for libraries, as well as what they are doing to adjust to it at present.


Download the full white paper for free by filling out our short form to find out more about what you can do to make the most out of social media in your library.

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