A social media friendly library

The library conjures images of people quietly studying, surrounded by books. But one man plans to change the parochial idea of the library and usher it into the social media heavy 21st century.

Mario Macias, a librarian and recent hire at Pierce College, is spearheading a social media campaign on various accounts including Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to get the Library Learning Crossroads more active and involved on a platform students are more familiar with.

“I feel that it’s important to have that social media presence because if a lot of our students are coming and going, and they cannot be physically in the library,” Macias said. “People will feel like they can reach the library and librarians, can feel that we are here and we are alive and present, and we can serve them as a resource, so that’s what matters to me.”

With people accessing information more often on their smartphone and tablets instead of computers, social media platforms such as Twitter have become one of the main methods in which people digest information.

“I think social media can be a great point in which we can deliver instructional content,” said Macias. “Not just informational content.”

Library Department Chair Paula Paggi, picked Macias to manage the library’s social media campaign.

“We had about 75 to 100 applicants for our library positions and they all had to do a teaching demo and show something that they have created,” Paggi said. “I think his youth, exuberance, and his experience can help with those things [social media management].”

Macias, 26, is in the right age demographic to reach the social media savvy students that attend Pierce College.

“Nowadays social media can be continuous, on going and ubiquitous in every sense of the word because it’s just electronic content,” Macias said. “To me, taking up the social media management seemed like an exciting task. I was surprised nobody wanted that responsibility before hand.”

Many groups and organizations around campus have their own social media accounts such as Instagram, which currently has over 300 million active users sharing more than 70 million photos per day according to the company’s statistical data page.

One of the challenges Macias faces is getting the word out to students of the library’s social media presence.

“At this point, we are still working on getting people to follow us, mainly because before this semester it was non-existent,” Macias said. “So the culture among students is, I don’t think they even knew we had this social media presence and if we didn’t exist, how would they know to even follow us?”

Student engagement and old notions of what a library is are also challenges in which the library’s social media campaign and Macias faces.

“I don’t really go on Facebook. I just go to the library to study,” said Arleth Flores, an 18-year-old sociology major. “But students will probably come more because that’s where [social media] they get all their information.”

The library’s goal with its social media presence and campaign is ultimately to build a better form of engagement between students and the library.

“It’s all about really helping students succeed,” Paggi said. “So many students that come in and say ‘Well, it’s my first time in the library,’ because they don’t realize all the things we can do for them.”

With the social media presence still in its early stages, there is optimism by Macias that the campaign will succeed and change the old perceptions of libraries.

“Any library, not just our library, it’s not going to be the traditional type of what a library is,” Macias said. “This is not your grandma’s library anymore and libraries can do a lot of things.”