Beyond the Buzz: Planning Library Facebook Initiatives Grounded in User Needs


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In 2007, the George Washington University's Gelman Library decided to take a step back from the buzz surrounding Facebook in order to ask a very important question: how do our students really use Facebook? Is there a place for the library in this social environment? This presentation will discuss the evolution of library Facebook initiatives in response to the results of this study, and will provide a framework for your own social networking campaign.

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Beyond the Buzz: Planning Library Facebook Initiatives Grounded in User Needs

  1. 1. Beyond the Buzz: Planning Library Facebook Initiatives Grounded in User Needs David Bietila Elizabeth Edwards The George Washington University
  2. 2. Facebook <ul><li>What is it? </li></ul><ul><li>Who uses it? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Facebook & Libraries <ul><li>Growing library interest in Facebook </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Friending students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Announcing events through Facebook messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publicizing new resources </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Our Library & Facebook
  5. 5. Our University
  6. 6. Our Library
  7. 7. Creating this Study
  8. 8. Research Questions <ul><li>What role does technology play in our students' study habits? </li></ul><ul><li>What role does Facebook play in the lives of GW students? </li></ul><ul><li>How can the library use Facebook to connect with GW students? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Methodology <ul><li>Ethnographic approach </li></ul><ul><li>Three phases: </li></ul><ul><li>Review of profiles and observation of student activity on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Survey of GW students </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews with Facebook users </li></ul>
  10. 10. Interview Questions <ul><li>How does Facebook as a recreational practice impact your study habits and academic life? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you feel if a librarian “friended” you? Under what circumstances would you feel comfortable “friending” a librarian or accepting a librarian’s friend request? </li></ul><ul><li>What sort of information would you expect/want to find on a librarian’s profile page? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Findings
  12. 12. Findings: Why do students use Facebook?
  13. 13. Findings: Students use Facebook to…
  14. 14. Findings: Use and Affects How frequently do students use Facebook for academic purposes? How do they feel Facebook use affects their academic performance?
  15. 15. Findings: Perceptions of Staff <ul><li>How do you feel about university staff having Facebook profiles? </li></ul>I don’t know I’m uncomfortable with it I’m comfortable with it I like it
  16. 16. Findings: Getting Help
  17. 17. Recommendations
  18. 18. Recommendations <ul><li>When developing a virtual presence, consider students’ actual perceptions of the library. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Recommendations <ul><li>Also consider how students view and interact with librarians in the real world. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Recommendations <ul><li>Provide resources, but don’t be surprised if students don’t use them. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Recommendations <ul><li>Recognize that Facebook may play a role in librarians’ lives too. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Thank you! David Bietila [email_address] Elizabeth Edwards [email_address]