The purpose of this paper is to explore the current characteristics and status of WeChat application in Chinese public libraries.
Using a sample of 46 sub-provincial and provincial public libraries in China, this study collected data from their WeChat official accounts. Statistical analysis and content analysis were employed for data analysis.
The results show that 82.6 percent of the 46 libraries had applied for WeChat accounts and offered services, of which the earliest created time was March 20, 2013. Differences were found among history information regarding their numbers, types and contents. Moreover, as for service mode, 84.2 percent of the libraries present custom menus, and 68.4 percent provide self-inquiry information. In addition, three types of reference services are revealed: real-time services (28.9 percent), services via telephones or e-mails (36.8 percent) and menu services (7.9 percent).
This study illustrates an overall picture of WeChat application in Chinese public libraries. Extant research has mainly focused on Web 2.0 applications in university libraries, and less attention has been paid to the application of mobile social media in public libraries. This study attempts to fill this research gap.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71403301). The author thanks Jiaojiao Zheng for her work on data collection.
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