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Social networking sites are changing the way that libraries engage their users. Sometimes called social networking software or social networking services, these Web sites are designed to let users share their lives with friends, family, and the general public. Many librarians immediately saw the possibilities in the proliferating social networks--by connecting with our users in "their space," we are making ourselves readily available and removing many of the obstacles to their information needs. As reference librarians, our first reaction to new technology is to "set up desk"--to provide the same services we have traditionally offered, only in a new medium. However, new technologies demand a new approach, and recent years have seen librarians offering reference, instruction, and other services in unique and innovative ways.


Originally published in: S. Steiner, & L. Madden (Eds.), The Desk and Beyond: Next Generation Reference Services. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries. Available at: