Building Communities: Social Networking for Academic Libraries

Philip Calvert (Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 2 February 2015



Philip Calvert (2015), "Building Communities: Social Networking for Academic Libraries", The Electronic Library, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 153-153.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

There is currently much interest in the use of social media by libraries, so naturally there have been several titles on the subject published in recent years. This book is about developing a plan for the use of social networking for an academic library. It follows this with suggested ways of evaluating the success of a social media campaign. The author is a librarian at a US college and is a regular writer and presenter. She has done a good job of making the subject of social media in libraries approachable for the less technology minded reader.

One of the more important parts of the book lies in the first chapter when the question is asked “why social media in academic libraries?” The answer lies in communication, promotion, advocacy, visibility and other aspects of work that some librarians have traditionally shied away from. One good point made here that is well worth remembering is the need to align any campaign with the parent organisation’s strategy and brand. Chapter 3 contains several case studies from North American academic libraries; the end summary of their experiences is valuable. A key lesson to emerge from this is the need to have staff willing and able to use social media well, and if there are none in the library then students must be used.

The chapter on evaluating the impact of social media in libraries is limited, simply because our present knowledge of how this can be done accurately and effectively is still incomplete. There are some useful references to data that can be collected using the available tools, and this will be enough for most libraries that use social media. One problem with a book on social networking is that it can age very rapidly. This book needs to be read now, for surely the detail given in Chapter 5 of Facebook and Twitter functionality will be redundant in a short while.

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