I have chosen and compared three different types of libraries from Sydney, an academic library (University of Technology, Sydney), a public library (Sydney City Libraries) and a state research library (State Library of New South Wales) to help illustrate why all libraries should be using social networking tools to reach out to their users.
By comparing these three libraries I have been able to find both strengths and weaknesses in their use of social networking. The University of Technology and The State Library of NSW both use social networking tools in a positive and engaging way while Sydney City Council Libraries do not appear to use social networking tools independent from its parent organisation The Sydney City Council.
By using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, libraries are able to engage and create community with their users, market their collections, resources and facilities, update users with any service interruptions or change to opening times, receive feedback and even use these tools for reference and general questions.
Tools such as Instagram, Pinterest and Flicker can be used to promote and highlight the collection, facilities and little known areas of the library.
Video tools like Youtube and Vimeo can be used as tutorials for library instruction and how to access resources and databases.
QR Codes help users access library instruction on anything from Self-service machines, printers and even catalogue and database searching without the need of using a computer.
While Blogs and RSS feeds can be used to keep users up to date with the collection or new resources.
After exploring the different tools used by these three libraries I am even more convinced that libraries must adopt social networking tools in order to serve their users in a more effective and innovative way and to help ensure their survival into the future.
Comparison Chart of Web 2.0 tools used at UTS Library, Sydney City Libraries and State Library of NSW.