Social media has moved way past something only tech early adopters, or “the kids today,” are using. These tools are quick and easy ways everyone can find out what is going on in your communities (the profession, your organization, your school, your town, the library community you serve, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans…we’re not judging).
But you want to be sure you are not wasting your time on it. Social media does not generally have associated financial costs, but for most library people time is your most valuable resource. And, you want to be sure you are not violating any rules of your parent organization (town, university, school, corporation, etc.).
Start by looking around at the tools you might use. You probably already use some social media (I really suggest you do so!), and those platforms may translate over to your library. Think about what might fit the needs of your library:
- Facebook is very popular, gives you space to write an extended amount, and you can have multiple pictures to illustrate your posting
- Twitter is concise so you can add your material, and read through a lot of other material quickly
- Instagram lets you share photos with people
- Pinterest lets you collect photos and other kinds of images to share, and has a lot of opportunity for discussion
And of course there are more – and will continue to be more platforms for you to use! (Technology tools that lets us talk with each other will never stop developing!!)
If you do not already have a social media account, check to see what kind of policies are already out there that would apply to you. If there aren’t any, you might check with someone – a provost, a principal – to be sure it’s okay to start one. And I’d suggest writing up a social media policy for your library. (There are many out there you can use as models; or check in with CMLE Headquarters and we can help!)
Social media is such a good way to easily keep up with the things your patrons and your community are saying. And it’s so easy to share your information, your programs, to talk about big days in history, to recognize achievements in your community, and even to recommend books!
The days of library work being just you handing out books, or even just fixing computers, are over! Library work is service to the community, and a constant conversation. The world is an increasingly digital place; this is where your patrons already are talking and sharing ideas. You need to be there too!!!
As always, feel free to check in with CMLE Headquarters to talk about setting up your social media. It’s good to have someone to talk about new ideas with, or to help with getting started. We are here to support you!!