Why Libraries Should Care About RSS?

Having an RSS feed for the library’s site is extremely useful for those libraries that want to provide up to date information about events at the library, news that may be of interest to their patrons and other interesting posts.  As Reichardt (2005) points out “RSS removes the burden of having to do regular, static Web searching to keep current in your fields of interest” which is not only relevant to librarians wanting to keep up on their profession but also patrons who want to keep up with library news.  With the number of different blogs, websites, tumblr sites, etc. it is very difficult for many to actively go to each site to keep up to date on new posts.  By utilizing an RSS aggregator a patron can simply go to their reader and see that their library has updated their feed and read what is new.

As a library patron who likes to follow updates in the library world, book blogging, cooking, preschool activities and a few other topics I know it’s rare for myself to go directly to a site to see if they have posted anything new.  Instead I open up my Google Reader and browse through all of my feeds in one location.

By utilizing RSS a library increases its chances that their patrons will choose to follow the library’s updates and possibly utilize the library’s services to a greater extent.  It also enables the library to get this information to its patrons without flooding their email inboxes.  In my case my inbox is often overflowing and I will delete or keep non-urgent emails unread and come back to them later (hopefully!) and this means sometimes missing important updates that are contained within those email updates you can subscribe to from most sites.  By using an RSS feed I have more control over when I want to go check for updates from a certain site and am more likely to read the updates.

Another benefit that may be more subjective is that having an RSS feed can make a library seem more on top of the new technologies and “with it” to the younger or more techie patrons.  They may feel the library and the services it provides are more relevant and likely to be up to date and in formats that utilize the latest technologies.


Reichardt, R. (2005). Success story: RSS moves into the mainstream at the University of Alberta Libraries. Library Connect, 3(2)Retrieved from http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/librariansinfo.librarians/lc030208

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One Response to Why Libraries Should Care About RSS?

  1. K. Ritcheson says:

    I think the most important part of using a technology like an RSS is to make sure you’re providing relevant or interesting information to the user. I’ve seen some Libraries create more engagement by posting interesting factoids as well as information about the library and library programs.

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