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40 Cool Ways College Libraries Are Leveraging Social Media

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July 13th, 2011

Social media is no longer a novelty in college libraries as almost every campus library has a Twitter or Facebook account to keep students updated and involved. But there are some college libraries that are really doing creative things in social media. Read on to learn about their great ideas.

  1. Tuesday Trivia:

    McCain Library at Agnes Scott College has contests on the library’s blog and Facebook page each week, offering prizes to the first correct answer.

  2. The Incremental Project:

    This researcher at Cambridge University Library used YouTube and social media as a source for research on Iraq.

  3. Broadcasting live events:

    Some college libraries broadcast live events, like game nights and author speakers on social media.

  4. Facebook photo contest:

    Fairfield University’s library sponsored a library photo contest for National Library week that built their Facebook following.

  5. Displaying new acquisitions:

    Utah Valley University’s library uses Shelfari to show off new acquisitions.

  6. Rebranding:

    The University of Missouri Kansas City used a variety of social media tools to rebrand their library system, raising visibility and putting a face on library services with a human touch.

  7. Creating a connected presence:

    Bryant University Library uses feeds, widgets, and simple code to connect their social networking presences and save precious library employee time.

  8. Real-time meeting feedback:

    Libraries have used Facebook status updates to ask for feedback that they can use right in the middle of meetings.

  9. Working collaboratively:

    This paper was written by two university librarians who have never met in person, but using social technologies, were able to collaborate and co-author a paper.

  10. Tracking social media involvement:

    Universities are aggregating information to judge their impact on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

  11. Reference questions:

    @KoernerRef at the University of British Columbia highlights good questions that come to their reference desk, which is shown on the library’s home page.

  12. Tweet upon checkout:

    With Symphony, libraries can automatically tweet when new materials are checked out, which can be used to generate interest in library items.

  13. Homepage IM reference service:

    Many university libraries are moving IM reference services to their homepage, allowing students to get quick, interactive service.

  14. Pointing out useful resources:

    Many colleges keep students in the loop by posting events and information that are relevant to the library and college community.

  15. How do you use the library?:

    McMaster University Library promoted ideas for using the library with a Twitter contest.

  16. Student worker training wiki:

    Tarleton State University’s Dick Smith Library uses a student worker training wiki that saves time and frustration, as well as a staff-only wiki.

  17. First Year Experience:

    McMaster’s library created a wiki that assists students in their first year at the school.

  18. Giving the scoop:

    Libraries often offer students on Facebook or Twitter information before it’s available otherwise-like a fresh new stack of romance novels that just came in, announced first on Facebook.

  19. Zombie comic:

    McPherson’s college library made a zombie comic tutorial, which became a popular social media feature.

  20. Library Minute:

    Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ uses short videos on YouTube to share information about what’s going on at the library.

  21. Qwidget:

    The QuestionPoint Qwidget is available on the Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX) Library’s website as well as Facebook, which helps students find information.

  22. Librarians do Gaga:

    Librarians rocked out in this fun library music video.

  23. Foursquare specials:

    Libraries have set up specials and special events for students who checked into the library on Foursquare and other location-based services, such as free movie rentals for the “Mayor.”

  24. Remote apps:

    Using apps like those provided by Gale, students can log on to the library or media center with current journals, magazines, and more.

  25. Poll Everywhere:

    Champlain College (Burlington, VT) Library is using Poll Everywhere to get poll votes via text, Twitter, and more to make classes more fun and engaging.

  26. Text a librarian:

    Middleton Library offers a feature that allows students to text questions to librarians and get an answer at any time of day.

  27. The Amazing Library 101 Challenge:

    The University of Ottawa YouTubed a Survivor-style challenge for learning about the library in a fun way.

  28. Finals hashtags:

    The University of Wisconsin Madison College Library unveiled a Twitter hashtag, #studystrong, which students used to discuss their experiences during final exams.

  29. Second Life sculpture garden:

    McMaster University Library’s Second Life island has a sculpture garden, which Digital Games students created as part of a class assignment.

  30. BiblioCommons:

    Universities and public libraries are using BiblioCommons as a social discovery system, allowing advisory, recommendations, social tagging, and more.

  31. Parody videos:

    Brigham Young University parodied the popular Old Spice social media marketing to encourage students to use the library.

  32. Getting feedback:

    Libraries are using social media to find out how students really use the library, and responding to negative feedback.

  33. Tour the library:

    The Harper College Library took YouTube viewers on a tour of the facility.

  34. IM widget for unsuccessful searches:

    When a student searches the catalog, but doesn’t find anything, libraries can offer an IM chat to help.

  35. Delicious tag bundles:

    Libraries like the Chattahoochee Technical College Library use tag bundles on Delicious, allowing for organization of recommended websites by subject on the CTC library website.

  36. Uploading visiting authors and lectures:

    College libraries have uploaded special talks from authors and lecturers to Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.

  37. Libguides:

    Libraries can share guides on Facebook with the Libguides app.

  38. Connotea citations:

    Duke University Libraries allow students to use OpenURL to link to Duke University Library online resources through their Connotea account.

  39. Retweeting new material:

    College library Twitter accounts often retweet posts made by authors and other artists to highlight items in their library collection.

  40. JSTOR:

    College libraries offer patrons the ability to search the library’s JSTOR account on Facebook.

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