Assessing the appropriation of social media by academic librarians in South Africa and Zimbabwe

Keywords: Social media, Technological Acceptance Model (TAM), academic libraries, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), University of the Western Cape (UWC)


Research into the appropriation of social media by academic libraries in countries with growing economies is scarce. There remains an empirical and theoretical gap in the literature about how librarians, particularly those in Southern Africa, are deploying social media in their work routines and in their personal lives. Based on one of the researchers’ experiences at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Library and both researchers’ use of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Library, the researchers aimed to examine the way librarians deploy and appropriate social media platforms as part of their service delivery. Using data derived from a questionnaire survey among librarians at UWC in South Africa and NUST in Zimbabwe, this study examined how librarians use social media for professional and personal purposes. The findings suggest that UWC librarians are more proficient social media users than NUST librarians. They further reveal that UWC librarians themselves are managing social media, while at NUST, the Information Technology department is directly responsible for managing the platforms. The study found that UWC Library utilises social media to promote its services more widely, whereas the NUST Library uses social media for reference services.

Author Biographies

Rangarirai Moira Mabweazara, University of the Western Cape
PhD student in the Department of Library & Information Science, University of the Western Cape
Sandy Zinn, Department of Library and Information Science University of the Western Cape Belville
Dr Sandy Zinn is the Chairperson of the Department of Library & Information Science, University of the Western Cape.


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Research Articles