Teaching Information Literacy via Social Media: An Exploration of Connectivism

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Burclaff, N., & Johnson, C. R. (2016). Teaching Information Literacy via Social Media: An Exploration of Connectivism. Library Philosophy and Practice, 1-20.



College students increasingly use social media channels to access the information they need. Although search engines are still the most frequently used method of information retrieval, 95% of recent college graduates also use social media for this purpose (Head, 2015). Despite the common use of these channels, students rarely think critically about the information they read, “like,” and “share” on social media (Kim, Sin & Yoo-Lee, 2014). Librarians can play an important role in adapting information literacy skills to these non-traditional sources inside and outside of academic contexts. Libraries that already embrace social media can seize the opportunity to shift their focus from the promotion and marketing of library events to the development of information literacy skills. As noted in the 2014 State of the Libraries report, 76% of academic libraries use social media, with the top three purposes being the “promotion of library services, marketing of events, and community building” (American Library Association, p. 35). Notwithstanding those percentages, academic libraries seldom leverage social media to teach information literacy despite the fact that user education is nearly always present in their library mission statements (Johnson & Burclaff, 2013).