Social Networking Software

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Social networking software is a new approach in some academic and public libraries today in order to make libraries not only "cool" in the public's eyes, but also as a third space in which potential library users can participate in an collaborative exchange with their libraries. It also may allow users to build relationships with the library staff and other library users.

Examples of social networking software include,, and These sites allows users to create pages in which others (potential library users) can view and provide feedback. Some academic and public libraries have created MySpace or Facebook pages in an attempt to promote and extend their library services such as reader's advisory, and third party applications can add increasing usability to to pages.


Examples of libraries using social networking software include:


While most libraries have switched from MySpace to Facebook, the libraries listed have kept their MySpace pages active by connecting it to both their Twitter and Facebook pages.


3rd Party Facebook Application for the Library

Increasingly, applications are being developed by third party software companies which add greater functionality to Facebook pages. For the library, these applications can create legitimate research portals out of their Facebook pages, transforming what was once a marketing tool into what can now be a research tool.

  • San Francisco PL has created a Widgetbox to allow users to search their OPAC through Facebook, and other libraries are following suit.
  • Sirsi Dynix has created a fully integrated Facebook solution for libraries for a fee.
  • Apps for Fan Pages is a list all of the generic apps that are available for installation on a library's fan page, including Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. A few apps worth noting for libraries include RSS (to import any feeds from the library, such as a blog or new additions to the collection) Google Maps (for location of the library and events), Feedback and FAQ (to encourage interaction with patrons and improve service). Apps for presentations and file sharing may also be useful for libraries.

Many potentially useful apps are only available for profiles, not for pages. Here is an app that might be useful for librarians with profiles:

Some apps still work in Facebook but are no longer tied to a profile or fan page. Two such apps include:

  • CiteMe for generating citations using information in the WorldCat database.
  • WorldCat for finding items at a nearby library.


See: Twitter

link title== Flickr ==

Not all libraries, however, use social networking software to promote their services, some libraries view social networking software as too new, too trendy. Some libraries even have the websites for and banned in their libraries. This may be due to funding issues or it may be due to a library's management. See the ALA's information about the role of DOPA



Libraries are not just on social networking websites but are also using them themselves. Librarians are using pinterest as a way to get ideas for events, crafts, SRP, and programs.




Libraries can have profiles on LinkedIn

It can also be used for job or candidate searches, and collaboration through professional associations:

Social Media Aggregators

As seen above many libraries are using social media networks to keep their patrons informed, however trying to manage all of them becomes increasingly difficult the more services you subscribe to. One solution is to use a third party aggregator service to manage the all in one place.

  • Alternion Manage over 220+ platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, etc.
  • TweetDeck Manage your Facebook and Twitter in once place.

Related Articles

Wiki links relating to social networking:

Articles about Facebook and libraries:

Articles about YouTube and libraries:

Articles about Pinterest and libraries:

Reports relating to Social Networking in Libraries

Blogs/Websites to Watch

For more information, opinions, and links about social networking software and libraries, please see the blog Information Wants to Be Free's May 10th 2006 entry at

LibraryStream Steve Campion

The Ubiquitious Librarian Brian Matthews at Georgia Tech

Social Networking Librarian AnnaLaura Brown's blog all about social networking in libraries and library 2.0

Social Media at the Mudd Library Seeley G. Mudd Library at Lawrence University has created a web page where all official social networking accounts are listed along with the library's social media mission statement.

Will Richardson's blog - Great information/ideas from an educator's perspective. Will did a recent article in Technology and Learning 2005 called Blog Revolution on the educational benefits of blogging for/with students. Richardson, W. (2005). Blog Revolution. Technology and Learning, 26(3), 48. Retrieved July 1, 2007, from the Wilson Web database.

This webinar, entitled 10 ways to make your library great in 2008 – Using web 2.0 focuses on the basics of social cataloging sites and along a professional development theme. It also has a 10 ways Blog associated with it.

Public of Library Science Blog focuses on taking a lead on transformation in research communication. The topics that this blog focuses on is science and medicine. Their mission is to promote greater understanding of the breakthrough technology that is emerging.

Florida International University Libraries Blog FIU Libraries News & Notes...database news...library products...research tips & tricks