Wednesday, September 3, 2008

LASSIE Case Study 5: Libraries and Facebook

LASSIE: Libraries and Social Software in Education

Case Study 5: Libraries and Facebook

Jane Secker /London School of Economics and Political Science

January 2008

Funded by: University of London Centre for Distance Education Teaching and Research Awards

This case study explores the use of the social networking site Facebook ( as a tool for libraries and librarians. The case study was launched some way into the project following the growth and popularity of this social networking site. Many librarians have now joined Facebook for
purely social reasons, however it can overlap into the professional world as it is being used by several professional library groups and for promoting library related events. Facebook also has a number of library related tools which the project team felt were worthy of further exploration.

This case study is slightly different to the four other case studies, because we did not set up a specific library-related initiative in Facebook for use with librarians or distance learners. The case study is largely based on the literature and our own experiences of using Facebook. The reasons for this approach were twofold: partly because the use of Facebook accelerated phenomenally during the period when we were undertaking our research (March 2007 – January 2008). Early on in the project and at the time of planning the case studies we could not have anticipated the level of interest that developed in this social networking site. This was specifically a UK-based phenomena and largely driven by the extensive coverage that the site received in the mainstream media during the summer of 2007. It also did not seem appropriate to set up a project-related initiative in Facebook for real distance learners as we felt this should ideally be undertaken and maintained by a Library. We therefore have tried to document the experiences of libraries and librarians who have used Facebook and drawn on our own personal experiences of using the site.

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