Why should academic libraries bother with Facebook?

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I’ve recently developed a Facebook page where I work and some of the discussions I’ve had with colleagues have prompted me to write this post.

It’s very easy to just jump on a bandwagon as an academic library and start-up a Facebook page, Twitter feed, Youtube site, Flickr page etc etc and before long you’ll need a dedicated Social Media professional to keep it all up-to-date. Actually I don’t think it’ll be long before this is a familiar role for academic libraries, it’s already the case in many commercial companies.

But what’s the point? What’s it all for? And do students really want you invading their social spaces with details on the latest books and resources you have?

Well my response to it would simply be adapt or die. Facebook is the most visited site on the internet. End of. Anyone who works in an academic library will be used to seeing students log-in to a machine and then, almost by way of habit, log-in to Facebook. If you can at least put something about your services into that omnipresent medium you are improving your promotion of library resources and improving student’s access to information – which is surely what we’re here to do?

Other social media sites like Twitter and Youtube are worth considering but I would say Facebook is the one you need to nail first.

 

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