APU Careers & Learning Online Learning

Social Media Helps Online Students Connect with Library Resources

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library-apusBy Beth Cook
Senior Online Librarian at American Public University

The American Public University (APU) library is active on various social media networks. Social media is an increasingly important way for students and faculty to keep in touch with each other and also to connect with organizations in which they have an interest. APU librarians actively post content on Facebook, Google +, YouTube and Twitter. The libraries use these tools to communicate information and share news with our students, faculty, and other interested parties.

Since APU is an online university, our students keep in touch with us and each other virtually and sometimes the best way to keep in touch with them is to have an established online relationship with them via social media tools. They may not be actively thinking about the library or research when they check into Facebook, for example, but they will see our updates there when they do.

The library Facebook page promotes APU resources and services to our followers. For example, we have posted content about new journal subscriptions as well announcements about our new digital commons. We have also posted information on how to use a style guide in research. When students use our Facebook page to post library or research-related questions, we promptly respond. We also post book recommendations.


In addition to Facebook, librarians use Twitter. Twitter allows for only very brief postings, so we make the most of that by keeping our content short and to the point with links to more information. We also post content to Google+.


Some people prefer one kind of digital media tool to another, so it is important to have a visible presence on as many different tools as we can to make sure we are available to everyone who uses these tools, no matter which one or ones they prefer.

For students that prefer watching videos rather than reading text, we offer short and helpful videos on YouTube. For example, there is an 8-minute video on how to evaluate information and another on how to look up books in the catalog. There is also a video about the alumni library. We will continue to add new video content.

APU Library Social media Accounts:

About the Author

Beth Cook is a senior online librarian with APU and has worked in several different academic and research libraries. She got her master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky and her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia. She is an active user of social media.

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