As I began to research my final project for LS 590, which revolves around the use of Instagram by academic libraries, I wondered just how many college/university libraries near me actively use social media. Since I live in a rural part of the country, would that make a difference? Would these smaller academic institutions have staff fluent in social media technology? And, if they had a social media presence, would these libraries attract many followers? Therefore, I decided to conduct an informal survey!
- Columbia State Community College Finney Library – currently does not appear to have any social media presence. None of the offsite branch library locations have social media accounts.
- University of North Alabama Collier Library – interesting because the library has a Twitter account that has been inactive for over a year, yet maintains a Facebook account with about 900 followers. The library’s Instagram account is infrequently updated, but has about 300 followers.
- Martin Methodist College Warden Memorial Library – this is a private, religiously-affiliated college, whose sole social media outlet appears to be Facebook. Their library page has 66 followers, and it was only created in 2015. I was actually very surprised to learn that this library had a social media presence.
- Athens State University Library – again, this library is only on Facebook in the social media sphere, although their page is frequently updated for its 500 or so followers.
- Northwest Shoals Community College Libraries – despite two locations for separate campuses, these libraries do not use social media to connect with students, which is somewhat disappointing to me but correlates to the lack of social media at the other community college on this list.
In summary, I learned several things from my brief, informal survey of academic libraries’ social media usage. First, the two community college libraries both lacked social media accounts for student outreach, which troubled me since social media might be a worthwhile tool to engage first-generation college students and enlighten them about the library’s importance to their educational success. Secondly, only one library which I included in this informal survey used Instagram. Third, I’m now following Athens State University Library and Martin Methodist College Warden Memorial Library on Facebook to see what these libraries are doing for students! Finally, UNA Collier Library’s social media strategy somewhat perplexed me. The library has a good number of followers across platforms, yet it appeared to be under-utilizing Twitter. Or maybe library staff determined it wasn’t worth the effort? Overall, I hope that the community college libraries near me don’t get left behind when it comes to using social media for outreach and communication with students.