Maximising the potential of social media to deliver academic library services to students: A case study of The Technical University of Kenya Library
This study investigated how academic libraries in Kenya can maximise the potential of social media to deliver their services. The objectives of the study were to identify the various forms of social media utilised in academic libraries; explain how these social media are used to support the delivery of library services; ascertain the benefits academic libraries accrue from the use of social media; identify the challenges which hamper effective use of social media in academic libraries; and propose strategies which the academic libraries can employ to enhance the outcomes of their social media use. This research was a case study of The Technical University of Kenya library in Nairobi, Kenya. Primary data was collected from 23 knowledge ambassadors, who are student library champions, and three librarians selected through information-oriented purposive sampling. The findings revealed that academic libraries in Kenya are currently using Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter to facilitate the sharing of information resources, provision of reference services, formation of professional networks, and promotion of library services. The findings also indicate that the use of social media in academic libraries in Kenya has enhanced interactions between librarians and library users; saved the time for searching, accessing and using information; reduced costs associated with space; and enhanced the promotion of library services and products. Nonetheless, lack of adequate ICT infrastructure and human resources are hampering the effective adoption of social media in the libraries. Academic libraries in Kenya are advised to invest more resources in infrastructural development, capacity building and hiring of more staff to enhance their social media use outcomes. The findings of this study may be used by academic librarians to apply social media in the design and delivery of information services and products effectively.
Keywords: Academic libraries, Kenya, The Technical University of Kenya library, social media, social media marketing