Original Research

Trends and issues relating to social media utilisation in academic libraries: Experiences from the University of Limpopo subject librarians

Mpho G. Mogale, Solomon Bopape
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 25, No 1 | a1580 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v25i1.1580 | © 2023 Mpho G. Mogale, Solomon Bopape | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 May 2022 | Published: 17 February 2023

About the author(s)

Mpho G. Mogale, Department of Sports, Art and Culture, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Solomon Bopape, Department of Communication, Media and Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa


Background: As social media tools spread across every aspect of human life, academic librarians were apt to be their early adopters to boost the service provision in academic libraries.

Objective: Guided by Technology Acceptance Model, this article examined a variety of social media tools used by academic librarians; usage and usefulness of social media; organisational support provided to academic librarians to use social media; and the factors that impede usage of social media in academic libraries.

Methodology: This article employed a qualitative research methodology through semi- structured interviews with 10 purposively selected academic librarians attached to the University of Limpopo library.

Results: The results showed that respondents were mostly familiar with WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which they used in their personal capacity. However, in their work environment, they utilised the library blog and Facebook to market and promote library services and to liaise with their users in schools or faculties. Restrictions of access to social media platforms during working hours, lack of skills, own social media policy and management support in the form of training were found to be factors that impede social media usage by academic librarians.

Conclusion: Social media have a great deal of potential to contribute immensely towards the delivery of information services in academic libraries, though they are neglected.

Contribution: Incorporation of social media in library work environment requires social media policies and subject librarians to be well equipped with different kinds of social media platforms for the advantage of academic libraries and their users.


social media; Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; library blog; subject librarians; academic libraries; University of Limpopo


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Crossref Citations

1. Social Media Capabilities In Academic Libraries: Influence on librarians’ agility and relationship quality (librarian-user)
Haslina Husain, Mad Khir Johari Abdullah Sani, Tamara Adriani-Susetyo Salim
Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal  vol: 8  issue: SI12  first page: 29  year: 2023  
doi: 10.21834/e-bpj.v8iSI12.5004