Emerging Technology Planning-Helping Students Study

The library has 4 study rooms which can be reserved by students. Starting with this school year those rooms have been booked most of the time. However students don’t always show up and sometimes leave early. If we could find a way to let students know that rooms are available or become unexpectedly available we would help them find reserved study space. The question becomes how to let the students know. Announcements made in the library only reach those students physically in the library. Email is intrusive and students don’t always check their school email. Using social media to let the students know could be a possible solution but would take some groundwork

To increase student knowledge about availability of study rooms.

Action Brief
Convince 1st and 2nd year medical students that by checking the library’s Facebook page they will find out when study rooms are available which will save them time because they will know where they can study.

A frequently quoted 2010 study by MacDonald, Sohn and Ellis states that 65% of recent medical school graduates in New Zealand have Facebook accounts.

We are currently surveying our 1st year students. 57% of those responding so far use Facebook “all the time” with another 18.6 percent saying they “use it sometimes.” 83% said they use it for instant messaging.  Very few students responded that they use Twitter.  Facebook is the best social media for our users at this time.

MacDonald, J., Sohn, S. and Ellis, P. (2010), Privacy, professionalism and Facebook: a dilemma for young doctors. Medical Education, 44: 805–813. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03720.x

The library already has a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rowan-SOM-Health-Sciences-Library/309502532466110  One staff person is responsible for it and no published goals exist.

The page and all other social media usage is guided by the Social Media policy of our institution, https://www.rowan.edu/copyright/2011_socialmediapolicy.pdf

Currently there is no Facebook use guideline at the library level. To create guidelines both for staff and students who post would require the input of all staff.  This would include librarians and library support staff.  All staff works the circulation desk for some portion of the day. Guidelines for others who post would also need to be created. Student workers would be asked for input on posting guidelines.

Funding considerations

Facebook is free to use at this time.  Funding is not a consideration.  Staffing is already required for the circulation desk.

Action Steps

The Facebook page already exists.  Project planning would be in two parts.

Part 1(staff)

  • Staff would have to be educated on the Facebook page and around using Facebook to communicate with students
    • Meetings would be held to see if staff thinks this is a good idea and to get buy in. Scheduling rooms is a pain.  As part of that it would be explained that we are trying this for a short time to see if it will help.
  • If staff agrees then standards for room announcements would be created.  A schedule for posting would be created.
  • Posting would start and would go for a predetermined amount of time to get everyone into the flow


Part 2(students)

  • Facebook page link would be posted onto library home page
  • A poster would be created at the circulation desk to let students know about the new service
  • Staff would remind everyone reserving a room about the new service
  • See below for more promotion ideas


Staffing consideration and staff training

The librarian who is currently running the page would train staff on using Facebook

All staff would be involved in the project.  The best model would be if staff on the circulation desk posts the updates.  If staff feels that is a burden the second model would be circulation desk staff let one person know the update with a phone call and that person posts it to Facebook


Facebook page link would be posted onto library home page (currently it isn’t there)

A poster would be created at the circulation desk to let students know about the new service

We would ask the Education Technology staff to place an announcement in all Blackboard classes

The school has a Facebook page; we would ask them to link to our page and to post regarding the new services

An article would be written for the library homepage and posted.

We would also ask when someone calls in to reserve a room, “Did you see it on Facebook?”  We would ask when someone comes in person to reserve a room, “Did you see it on Facebook?”


Today we have 99 likes on Facebook.  Our school has about 200 per class so that isn’t awful but it isn’t great.  We would start our marketing campaign and start counting to see if that number goes up.

Hopefully we will get stories about how knowing what rooms were available helped them plan their day better.

Possible future

If this works I would hope that we can expand our Facebook page to create an online calendar so students can see what is available.  Also eventually enable them to message the library to reserve a room so they don’t have to call.  The stories they tell may be able to help the library make an argument for money to reconfigure the library space to provide more rooms. I would like to add posting about library resources and services and staff skills. Facebook could become an additional outlet for information about the library.

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2 Responses to Emerging Technology Planning-Helping Students Study

  1. Mikaela says:

    I think this would be a good way to both get the best use out of the study rooms and create a more participatory facebook page.

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