facebook in the medical library

We’ve seen libraries doing a lot of great things with Facebook recently, whether it be the Springshare LibGuides, the new Librarian application that purports to put together a network of librarians to help answer student reference questions (has anyone used this?), online catalogs in Facebook, or Facebook outreach a la Brian Mathews.

I’m a big believer in communicating with students via Facebook–that’s where they are.  It’s where all the incoming students met each other for the first time–there’s been a Class of 2011 Facebook group for my school since last March or something.  I even told the students in this year’s orientation sessions that they could send me a reference question on Facebook (that was met with somewhat appreciative laughter).  But, in many ways, I lack assertiveness, particularly the assertiveness to send them all Friend requests.  I think I need to just do it.  Have any other medical librarians sent their incoming classes friend requests?  What has happened?

I know that the Medical Library Association is starting to go Facebook-happy, which is good, though I think a lot of hospitals block Facebook.  There are a couple of SIGs and sections that have their own Facebook groups, plus the MLA Task Force on Social Networking Software just put up a group that I came across.  I’ll be very curious to see what happens with the MLA presence on Facebook.  Is it a fad?  Does it do something the MLA really should be providing on its own web site, or is it something unique that can’t be replicated?  Are people actually accomplishing anything on it, or is it really just a place for people to affiliate themselves with one another?  Should the MLA start its own social network on MLANET?  (My answer is yes, yes, yes, and yes, by the way.)

Discuss, please.


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