Social Media Applications as Effective Service Delivery Tools for Librarians

Social Media Applications as Effective Service Delivery Tools for Librarians

Ihuoma Sandra Babatope (Delta State College of Physical Education, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch456
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Abstract

In a bid to satisfy the growing needs of library users, the social media hype has gradually crept into the library profession with a wide variety of social media applications such as Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, Library Thing, Ning and so on being common tools for carrying out routine tasks within the library community. This paper will provide an overview of social media applications and identify those that are commonly used in libraries in Nigeria as well as explore the reasons for using social media applications in libraries and how they are employed in performing sundry library routines. The paper will also examine the future role of librarians with respect to the current realities as presented by these social media applications as well as the opportunities and the challenges of using social media applications in libraries. Recommendations and future trends in the use of social media applications will also be highlighted.
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Introduction

Social networking refers to a process of relationship building among a group with a common interest (Suraweera, Kahingala, Batepola, Punchihewa, Senevirathne and Kahandwaarachchi, 2011). The use of social media for information communication, information sharing, for pleasure, for dating, work related purposes and so on, is growing rapidly, therefore, their importance in academic libraries cannot be over emphasized. Academic libraries are libraries established in higher institutions (universities, polytechnics and colleges of education) by their parent institutions for the primary purpose of teaching, learning and research which therefore forms an integral part of the institution’s educational system. . With the exponential growth of the use of social media such as the Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, Flicker, Instagram, LinkedIn YouTube, Twitter, Blogs,Wikis, Delicious, Online groups/forums,, Library Thing, Ning and so on, it has also become inevitable that academic librarians around the world and especially in Nigeria, must learn to use these tools to be able to keep their ever growing and sophisticated patrons and also remain relevant in the society.

Adeleye (2015) noted that these sites can be oriented towards work-related contexts (LinkedIn.com), romantic relationship initiation (Friendster.com), connecting those with shared interests such as music or politics (MySpace.com, Twitter), or the undergraduates population (Facebook.com). Social media such as Facebook was used initially for social discussions, over time it evolved into the grouping of individuals into specific groups. Professional groups started to spring up and within time the library profession had its own group with the sole purpose of sharing ideas and gathering first hand information regarding the profession.

Beyond this, the different academic libraries in the country have felt the need to move with the times. The emergence of social media in academic libraries has changed the way information is delivered to the library patrons. Libraries have started to use these tools to interact with their patrons on real time. In fact, given the present economic scenario in Nigeria, where library budgets have been constantly on the decline, the social media have become a means for serving our patrons in a more specialized, interactive, and value added way without incurring undue expenses.

Hence, it has become very important for academic libraries to embrace these social media for effective service delivery to their library users and also to improve the library profession tremendously in Nigeria. Also, the previous top-bottom approach to service delivery where the library would pass information down to its patron without feedback will no longer suffice for our ever growing clients. Library users have been yearning to be a part of the services rendered to them, in essence being able to dictate what they need thereby making for a more interactive service delivery which will foster a two way communication pathway and provide the opportunity for more involvement. Undoubtedly, Nigeria which is still suffering from dwindling economy, are faced with diverse challenges amidst the opportunities derived from the intrusion of social media.

Consequently, a gap exists in literatures on the intrusion of social media in academic libraries in Nigeria. Hence, this chapter sought to bridge this gap by investigating the intrusion of social media in academic libraries in Nigeria as well as their opportunities and challenges for effective service delivery to their library users. Therefore this chapter will sought to identify the various types of social networking applications in academic libraries in Nigeria and how librarians use these social media for effective service delivery to their users, the opportunities accrued in using these applications, the various constraints in using these social networking applications in academic libraries, recommendations and the future trends will be succinctly discussed in this chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Delivery: This is the act of conveying information form one person to the other or from one place to the other.

Library Services: These are the various services rendered in the library to their users.

Academic Libraries: These are libraries established in higher institutions like universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

Nigeria: This is the most populous country in Africa otherwise known as giant of Africa.

Social media: Online networking tool for interaction, communication and sharing of information among group of people.

Socialization: The act of interaction, information or knowledge sharing among group of people.

Social Networking: This is the platform for people to connect, interact and discuss with one other.

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