Enhanced Library Services Through Social Media in the Age of Covid-19 Pandemic: An Anecdote of Academic Libraries in Zambia

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Zulu, Zachary
Chewe, Pailet
Chitumbo, Eness
Musonda, Yolam
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Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of using social media as a tool for promoting value addition and the enhancement of library services in the age of COVID-19 pandemic in two academic libraries in Zambia. Despite the growing mass of literature on social media usage in academic libraries globally, there is a dearth of research in Zambia on this emerging subject. The study used a survey method and the research instrument was an online questionnaire involving 22 academic librarians drawn from two public universities in Zambia, namely; the University of Zambia and Mulungushi University. Findings show that the use of social media for service delivery was nonexistent. Facebook and WhatsApp were the most prominent apps used for social networking among librarians. 86.3% of the respondents were of the view that the adoption of social media needed a cautious approach. 90% of the respondents had positive perceptions of the usefulness of social media in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, inadequate social media literacy skills, hesitancy among library staff, and poor technological infrastructure were perceived to be hindrances. The study advocates for social media literacy and the provision of a robust technological infrastructural base anchored on strong social media policies. This study provides library practitioners and students of Library and Information Science (LIS) with suggestions for how librarians, can use social media to improve audience engagement, create a community of users, and enhance the library's profile.
Social media , Academic libraries , COVID-19 pandemic , Library services