Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Using Memes in Academic Library Communications: Home

Thanks for Checking Out My Libguide!

Scope and Purpose

Internet meme popularity has seeped into some part of every internet user's life. Even if they're not aware that they've come across memes, if they're part of social media, they definitely have. Memes are humorous online images and videos that drive online conversations, bring diverse groups of individuals together, and express ideas in a few words that might take much longer if written out in text alone. Sometimes am idea might not even be translatable without the image component. This modern form of communication may seem simple, but Erhan Aslan, a TESOL and Applied Linguistics lecturer at University of Reading, claims that "from a linguistic point of view, they’re surprisingly sophisticated. Meme creators use “multimodal grammar” (in other words, images and captions) to express and share ideas and opinions. By tagging their friends in memes shared on social networks, people add their own personal meanings to the content" (Aslan 2018). The importance of promoting internet language and allowing for a place to practice internet literacy is beneficial to students currently and soon-to-be enrolled in an academic institution. 

Because internet communication and literacy translates into college and university settings, academic librarians can use this site to determine if memes are appropriate for their marketing style and brand. They can also find authoritative web and academic journal resources with origin and contextual information about memes. 

While the use of memes may be outside of the comfort zones of some academic librarians, the continued development of skills and ways to reach patrons will help them better connect and establish the library as a collaborative community. Effective meme use in academic settings will allow librarians to reach their patrons on a level the patrons will be comfortable with, understand, and hopefully positively react to. When properly executed, these image+text jokes can encourage patrons to use various library and campus resources or even reach out to reference librarians with their research questions.

This libguide is limited to covering the basics of what memes are and how one can get started using them, but the research must continue down the pathways of where their jokes may take them. Because each library's needs are different, their types of posts will be varied as well, therefore, they will need to keep up with individualized research on popular memes relevant to their interests, the meme's origins, and how to manipulate them for their social platforms. 

Poll: What do you think?

Should memes be used within academic libraries or are they better left to personal social media pages?

Take this poll and let your voice be heard!