In the Library and Online: Social Media & Civic Discourse

Primary Investigator: Samantha Mairson

This thesis seeks to design, implement, and analyze the findings of an interview-based research study of public libraries in the state of Connecticut. Specifically, it will examine these institutions’ use of social media to promote civic discourse online and on site with the purpose of producing guidelines for best practices. This new research emerges from my Spring 2016 Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts research Experience (SHARE) Award project, “Museums, Libraries, and Civic Discourse in Connecticut.” The thesis deliverables are a WHUS radio essay, photo essay, and magazine article for the American Library Association’s “American Libraries” magazine.

The curated interviews, photographs, and article seek to develop an understanding of and recommendations for the use of social media by public libraries, thereby analyzing and improving civic discourse practices in the librarianship field. The research addresses the need to better understand the influence of online information architecture, user experience, and the interplay of online and in-person engagement with libraries.

Dr. Clarissa Ceglio met with me on the morning of February 17, 2017 in order to finalize my thesis project summary. The “project summary” is a required portion of the Honors Thesis Plan, a form required by the Honors Program. We wanted to make sure it was perfect! We met in the space that belongs to the new “Greenhouse Studios” initiative at UConn.

We also discussed follow-up work for the Omeka Everywhere project, which was part of my Advanced Digital Humanities Curriculum (*the curriculum from which this blog was born). The project was featured in my presentation at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference (Atlanta 2017).

Check out the tweet!

After my meeting with Dr. Ceglio, I received notice that I have been admitted to the Master of Science in Library and Information Science program in the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University.