The COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact upon the expansion of social media usage in Trinidad and Tobago libraries. This was a consequence of the suspension of walk-in services by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) staff quickly adjusted to working remotely and became digital content creators and e-information disseminators to ensure that society continued to have access to reliable, accurate information.


What is social media?

  • Social media consist of “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking” (Social Media).
  • It is user-centric, multi-purpose and not bound by time and location.


Value of social media in libraries today

Social media usage in libraries has been dubbed Library 2.0 with the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as gateways to reach patrons. The increasing restrictions of the movement of individuals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has meant that online engagement has become the new way in which the present information users interact. 

Through the use of social media, NALIS continues to evolve with society’s changing needs and expectations. “Social media is playing a significant role in helping libraries stay relevant in the rapidly growing digital society” (Bacon). NALIS has embraced various platforms such as; Blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for content creation and building collaborative relationships between their libraries and citizens. Another great advantage of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic for libraries in Trinidad and Tobago was that patrons could source online tools on the NALIS website to provide accurate and relevant information-related news.


NALIS, the COVID-19 pandemic and social media


The COVID-19 pandemic allowed NALIS the opportunity to expand its online presence through the creation of multiple Facebook pages for library services. This initiative allowed library professionals to continue to attract users as well as advertise library services, events and collections.

Digital displays and infomercials on many varied topics such as information literacy, research ethics, and study skills were created to educate citizens on the use of digital information. Additionally, digital literacy programmes that teach senior citizens how to use social media such as, WhatsApp and Zoom were implemented.

There has also been a shift in programming by creating virtual events such as the Celebrity tale-a-ton, book launches, calypsonian and author of the month interviews, book club meetings, story-telling and virtual craft sessions. Virtual tours of the various libraries in Trinidad are also in the making.

The physical closure of schools meant that the Educational Library Services Division (ELSD) quickly adapted to move school libraries from the physical to the digital to meet all stakeholder (students, teachers, administration and parents) needs. Platforms such as e-mails, google classroom, Microsoft 365, WhatsApp and Facebook were used to circulate information and provide library services during the pandemic.  Consequently, the library staff in Trinidad and Tobago picked up the mantle to ensure that the collection of e-resources in support of academic and research activities at all levels of the education sector was well advertised through the use of various social media platforms.

Furthermore, NALIS used social media to promote public health awareness from reliable sources by disseminating information relating to preventive measures and the latest updates of COVID-19. Government press releases on local developments were also circulated and shared via the various digital platforms used by the organisation. NALIS continued to meet the core needs of communicating information to regular and prospective users.


How does NALIS use social media?

  • To market the library online services, events, programs and collection
  • To provide reliable, accurate news and health updates
  • To reach and interact with a wide range of patrons including new audience of potential users
  • To share other libraries posts



Bacon, Molly. “How Libraries Use Social Media.” TechSoup. December 2017.​.

Chakrabarti, Abhijit. “Social Media and Libraries: A Symbiotic Relationship for 21st Century Librarianship.” International Journal of Digital Library Services, Vol. 6, Issue 2, June 2016

Dadhe, Pooja P. and Manju N. Dubey. “Library Services Provided During COVID-19 Pandemic.” University of Nebraska. November 2020.

Jain, Priti. “Application of Social Media in Marketing Library and Information Services: A Global Perspective” European Journal of Business, Economics and Accountancy. Vol. 1, No. 1, Progressive Academic Publishing. 2013.

Skinner, Julia. “Libraries and Pandemics: Past and Present.” Politics and History. JSTOR Daily. April 14, 2021.

“Social Media.” Definitions from Oxford Languages. Oxford University Press. 2021.


Author: Petrice Lampkin-Bascombe, Library Assistant I, Public Libraries Division


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