WHY IS SOCIAL MEDIA AN IMPORTANT TOOL TO LIBRARIES ?

   In developed countries libraries are using latest trends to market their services. U.S. libraries of all types are increasingly using social media tools and  applications to connect with library users and to make library programs and services accessible (ALA, 2001). Library of Congress is also utilizing social media for marketing its services and to interact with its online users. Library uses Blogging, Flickr, YouTube, Social Networking, iTunes and Twitter for its different services (Braziel, 2009). Social media provides more opportunity to reach your community, target specific audiences, and give them a chance to interact with your library. Statistics of Social media usage shows that there are nearly 700 million active Facebook users, over 100 million LinkedIn members, 5 billion+ images on Flickr, 24 million pages on Wikipedia, 300 million Twitter users posting over 7,000 tweets per second, over 2.9 billion hours of YouTube watching per month (Tortorella, 2012). The whole business of libraries is about connecting people with information and this is what social media is really all about. Social media helps in reaching out to our communities and providing them information that they need in a very accessible way. There are number of libraries that used Wikis, Flickr, or Blogs for publishing historical photos and ask people to identify people, places, or events pictured. Different libraries use Wikis for content creation and to create a collaborative relation between library and the community. Hence IM (Instant Messaging), SMS, Twitter and email are being for answering questions (Convertive, 2011). 

      Social media marketing of libraries is the way of advertising library, its brand product and services via  technologies. By using social media libraries can engage with their clienteles and enable them to participate in the production of library products. Social media includes networking web sites like Facebook, MySpace, microblogging web sites like Twitter and other media like blogs, podcasts, photos and videos. By posting library material via social media on library page, it can be used by the variety of locations on the Web (Tuten, 2001). Library portal should provide facility to the users to access library databases. It was concluded that libraries should provide web-based services to their user.Suraweera et al. (n.d.) explored that social networks are being used by teachers, lectures and students as a communication tool. Many students are using this tool in a very wide range. Teachers, lecturers and professors are using this tool for discussions to post assignment, tests and quizzes. Social networking sites are being used to foster the communication between teachers and parents. Chand, Suman and Nirmalendu (2008) concluded that adding studies to the curriculum may also serve to improve the position of LIS programmes. RSS is also very useful to library and information science education and research purpose. With the help of RSS library science students can monitor high school and college scholarship opportunities by using RSS feeds. Library and information science department can also use RSS to communicate departmental news with their students, announcing staff changes, new courses or any other news that is relevant and of interest to the student population.

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