Reasons why libraries should be on social media (OLJ – INF506)

Yarra Plenty Regional Library (, City of Gold Coast Libraries ( and Moreton Bay Region Libraries ( all use social media and/or social networking sites to meet organisational goals. In comparing how these libraries use social media (see table below), I created a list of (interrelated!) reasons why libraries should use social media.

Reason 1: Our customers are on Social Media. Young, old and everybody in-between uses social media to communicate and connect (Cowling, 2014). All three libraries are on Facebook ( the most widely used social networking service (Cowling, 2014) with Gold Coast utilizing the most platforms. As pointed out by Burkhardt, “You’re missing out on a lot of eyes if you eschew social media” (2009). (See Reason 2!)

Reason 2: People who aren’t our customers, are on Social Media. Sites such as Facebook and YouTube are becoming more frequently consulted for information queries (Lampe, Vitak, Gray & Ellison, 2012). If we want new customers we need to be where they are, offering the information services they need. Gold Coast’s GC Media Lab blog offers great information on how to use new technology in video and 3D art. (See Reason 4!)

Reason 3: Social media enables us to provide a more effective information service to our customers.  Farkas (2007) says the “mission of any library is to meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its service population.” One public library service admirably suited to SM is “Readers Advisory.” YPRL displays a “feed” of reader comments on new titles with links through to the catalog to enable reservations, tagging and ratings. MBRL uses Facebook postings and tiny url links to its catalog for the same purpose. GCCL’s BookCoasters ( blog provides extensive reader’s advisory information (also with catalogue links). (See Reason 1!)

Reason 4: Social Media enables us to market more effectively to our customersand our non-customers!  Marketing is crucial for libraries (Kenneway, 2007) and using SM tools like Facebook and Twitter “creates momentum of activity toward the organization’s web presence and strategic services” (Breeding, 2010). Gold Coast uses Pinterest to highlight access to databases and popular new novels; Facebook features library events. Yarra Plenty Library keeps information current by running a feed of its events blog on its homepage. (Rancourt, 2009). (See Reason 5!)

Reason 5: Social Media enables us to CONNECT more effectively with our customers. Web 2.0 technologies can enable our patrons to provide direct and informal feedback that assist us to understand them better and improve service delivery (Burkhardt, 2009. Casey & Stephens, 2009). MBRC has 2785 Facebook likes, GC BookCoasters has 770 followers and Yarra Plenty hundreds of shared comments on books. GC’s Instagram site has over 100 followers. (See Reason 3!)


  Library →Web 2.0 activity↓ Yarra Plenty Gold Coast City Library Moreton Bay Regional Libraries
Own website Yes – News and Blog feeds are displayed. Yes but strongly tied to council Yes strongly tied to council but has own look and feel.
Blogging Yes for news and sharing book related news, reviews and tidbits. Also branch blogs and special interest blogs including blogs for kids Yes – BookCoasters (see below in online book clubs) and GC Media Lab ( which highlights technology activities and training offered by GC Libraries No
Facebook, MySpace, Google+ Facebook – Used for promotional and sharing to promote brand – ie fun place to be activities related to reading eg National Simultaneous Storytime, news, reviews and tidbits about writers and readers (sharing links from news sources and blogs) Facebook – Used for promotional and sharing to promote brand – ie fun place to be activities related to reading eg NSS, news, reviews and tidbits about writers and readers (sharing links from news sources and blogs) Facebook – Used for promotional and sharing to promote brand – ie fun place to be activities related to reading eg NSS, news, reviews and tidbits about writers and readers (sharing links from Huff Post Books and other news sources and blogs)MySpace – Used for young peoples’ programming “Mash it Up”
Mobile apps Customised version of Bibliocommons app Bookmyne app (which is SirsiDynix LMS app) MBR Library app developed specifically for Moreton Bay Libraries
Twitter Yes No Only as part of council events such as disaster preparedness
RSS Uses eNewsletters Uses eNewsletters
Tagging etc customising catalogue Comments, reviews and ratings can be added by patrons SirsiDynix links to reviews – not necessarily local includes Library Thing etc Comments, reviews and ratings can be added by patrons on a local level and Library Thing reviews accessed also
Online Book Clubs Summer Reading Club for kids. Delivered via a blog called Bookcoasters located at Summer Reading Club online version (SLQ sponsored) for kids Summer Reading Club online version (SLQ sponsored) for kids
Pinterest Available from
Vimeo/YouTube Vimeo – Author talks and other information YouTube as part of Mash it Up program for young people.
eNewsletter General library newsletter only. Several available – general “What’s On”, Book Clubs Update, Writers’ Update, Out There (paranormal and/or urban fantasy readers) & Next Reads (which is Library Aware service split out into genres/categories)
Ask a Librarian/IM -Chat Email a Librarian is available in two places but not obvious from home page Not actually a chat facility; uses a web form A general “contact us” email address is featured on the library web pages


Breeding, M. (2010). Taking the social web to the next level. Computers in Libraries, 30(7), 28-30.

Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons Libraries should be on Social Media [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Casey, M. & Stephens, M. (2009, March 15). You can’t afford not to do these things. Library Journal. Retrieved from
Cowling, D. (2014). Social media statistics Australia – April 2014. Retrieved from

Farkas, M. G. (2007). Social software in libraries: building collaboration, communication, and community online. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.

Garoufallou, E., Siatri, R., Zafeiriou, G., & Balampanidou, E. (2013). The use of marketing concepts in library services: a literature review. Library Review, 62(4/5), 312-334.

Kenneway, M. (2007). Marketing the library: using technology to increase visibility, impact and reader engagement. Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 20(2), 92-97.

Lampe, C., Vitak, J., Gray, R., & Ellison, N. (2012, May). Perceptions of facebook’s value as an information source. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3195-3204). ACM.

Maness, J. (2006). Library 2.0 theory: Web 2.0 and its implications for libraries. Webology, 3(2). Available at:

Rancourt, L. (2009). Mashing up the library website. In Engard, N. C. (Ed.), Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc. (pp 73-86).


About kerrynwh

Library Assistant - Masters student
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