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Libraries and the Social Web:
Developing the Next Generation of Youth Information Services

CCI Project Lead: Denise Agosto

Project Leaders: Denise E. Agosto, PI (CCI) Andrea Forte, Co-PI (CCI)

Funded By: The Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS)

About The Project

This three-year research project is studying how libraries can best respond to teens’ increasingly online information lives, especially when it comes to searching for information. Libraries and the Social Web: Developing the Next Generation of Youth Information Services seeks to create a replicable model and set of best practices that public and school libraries across the country can use to increase the reach and relevance of library services for today’s youth. Previous research conducted by the Project Research Team indicates that teens are increasingly interested in interacting online via social media, and that there are many benefits that libraries can derive by using social media for information service delivery. Libraries and the Social Web is addressing two main research questions:

  1. How do teens interact in online social search and other social media environments?
  2. How can public and school libraries leverage social search systems for improved reference and information services to youth?
The study procedures include a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods, including a national survey of U.S. public and school librarians and survey and qualitative work with 158 students in two U.S. high schools. The long-term goal of Libraries and the Social Web is to empower libraries to take advantage of youths’ interest in the social aspect of seeking and sharing information, while teaching youth to become more effective users of new and emerging social technologies. As such, this project will make public and school libraries better positioned to support youths’ academic, personal, and career success in the evolving information world of the 21st century.