Thank you to all those who responded to my questionnaire on social media use in HE libraries. Below are a summary of the findings.
How many people work on your Library's social media contributing content and items?
* 6 or 7
How many people work on your Library's social media monitoring, eg interactions?
Similar to above
What level of staff (eg Library assistants / paraprofessionals / Librarians)?
In one case all levels of staff were mentioned as included. In others it was librarians
How much time is spent a week on collecting and adding new content and items
It ranged between 1 hour, to several hours
How much time is spent a week on responding to interactions?
There was quite a variation:
* 10 minutes for initial response
* 1-2 hours, varying with the time of year
* Several hours
The technologies used by the respondents' libraries included:
* 4 use Twitter
* 4 use Facebook
* 5 use blogs (all respondents)
* 1 use other (Pinterest)
The main benefits of social media are the ability to engage with your audience in an immediate way, to communicate and gain feedback, and as a way to 'be where the students are'. The instantaneous nature of social media was highlighted in many responses.
The major challenge encountered was a lack of staff time to exploit social media to its fullest. A lack of enthusiasm/support from colleagues was also a factor.
The methods of evaluating how successful social media were mostly number of followers or 'likes', but also to a lesser extent the number and type of interactions.
Many of the respondents are still developing their social media presence, or would like to plan something for the future. This was in the form of trials of technologies (such as Pinterest), developing how success is measured and recorded, creating/developing a strategy, and evaluating the value of current social media technologies, in particular subject blogs by librarians.
Many of the respondents did not have an official strategy when starting using social media, but have had to implement ad hoc policies when issues arise, i.e. adverts, offensive remarks. One model in place is having dedicated social media champions, who act as a conduit for others who wish to contribute content.
For some of the respondents, social media was a way to increase the exposure of the Library service, and feel part of the wider university. This was done through sharing content from other university departments and services.
Liaison Librarian (Education & History)
University of Reading Library, Whiteknights,
PO Box 223, Reading, RG6 6AE
0118 378 8782