Module 4: Making Web 2.0 work for your organisation


Select three (3) libraries of your choice that use social networking to meet their goals.
Develop a comparative table which documents how each of the libraries use social networking tools to support information service provision, educational programs, conduct business etc.
Based on this comparison (and in no more than 350 words) develop your own list of “Reasons why libraries should be on social media”, and draw upon aspects of these three libraries to illustrate each point.

Social Networking Tools in Libraries
Social Network Tool
Information Service Provision
Iowa City Public Library
Provide links to online catalogues
Upload videos, files, links to other URLs
Announce programs and events such as ‘Storytimes at the Library’ and ‘Crafternoons for Teens’
Ongoing dialogue between library staff and users

Links to RSS feeds, Flickr & Twitter
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Provides well written and witty literature reviews plus interesting and insightful articles on a variety of topics.
Blog about programs located throughout all branches and departments of the library.
Welcomes comments from users; provides a well written guideline to adding comments on blog
The Library of Congress
Photostream provides millions of photos with tags and comments
Ongoing program to tag and comment on archive of photos dating back to mid-1800s to present day.
Public invited to assist in tagging and identification of photos

Reasons why Libraries should be on Social Media

There are many reasons why libraries in the 21st century should be on social media. In a world where 'connecting' means more than playing with lego or joining dots together, the need to create a link and line of communication between oneself, i.e. or organisation, and the public (patrons, customers etc.) is not only good business but an extremely powerful tool. As seen in the above table, libraries all of the world are using social network tools to better serve the public in varied and innovative way. Libraries are becoming 'connected' in many different ways and using a variety of different formats, which according to Dempsey, creates 'multiple connection points which offer different grades of experience'. For these three libraries, Iowa City Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Library of Congress, the need to connect to the public is motivated by the provision of services and the idea that as people become more mobile in the devices they use then the information they are seeking must also be more accessible. It's what Dempsey refers to as 'diffusion of networking' when 'the network is always available, or always potentially available,[and] the boundary between ‘mobile’ and fixed dissolves into multiple connection points, each with its own grade of experience'.



  • Photostream capability
  • use of tags
  • various import methods
  • search options
  • RSS
  • variety of sharing methods
  • privacy levels
  • geotagging
  • Picnik - built in editor

The following is a list of reasons why libraries should be on social media
  1. Library 2.0 is here to stay
  2. Ability to develop communities and personalize interactions virtually
  3. Increased participation and interaction between library and users
  4. Ability to create a visible profile online
  5. Remain relevant in the information community
  6. Provide programs and services that go beyond the walls of the library

Check out this Slideshare created by Elyssa Kroski which clearly defines the the best practices and some of the pitfalls when creating a social media site for an organisation: