New Social Media Agendas for Teaching and Learning in Libraries

New Social Media Agendas for Teaching and Learning in Libraries

Michelle Kowalsky (Rowan University, USA) and Bruce Whitham (Rowan University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7401-1.ch014
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This chapter reviews the current literature on the types of social media practices in college and university libraries, and suggests some new strategic agendas for utilizing these tools for teaching and learning about the research process, as well as other means to connect libraries to their users. Library educators continually hope to “meet students where they are” and use social media to “push” library content toward interested or potential university patrons. One new way to improve engagement and “pull” patrons toward an understanding of the usefulness of licensed resources and expert research help is through the channels of social media. By enhancing awareness of library resources at the point of need, and through existing social relationships between library users and their friends, libraries can encourage peer interaction around new research methods and tools as they emerge, while increasing the use of library materials (both online and within the library facility) in new and different ways.
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Social media as understood by libraries is a broad phenomenon intimately related to widespread use of wireless Internet and handheld devices. Boyd and Ellison (2008) define social network sites as “web-based services that allow individuals to

  • 1.

    Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,

  • 2.

    Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and

  • 3.

    View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (p. 211).

The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site, but their basic functions remain similar; people want to know what their friends and aspirant peers are doing, thinking, and deciding.

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