Using Social Media to Expand Your Reach and Advocate for Your Library

Hi, friends! Today’s blog post is a guest post from Karina Quilantan, sharing with us how you can use social media to expand your reach and advocate for your library. I’m so glad she wrote about this important topic for all of us!

text for Librarians Using Social Media

“You need a Masters to check in and out books?”

“Do we really need a certified librarian in the library?”

“But you can find everything on the Internet.”

“Do kids even read anymore?”

If any of these questions or statements have ever made you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut, then chances are you ARE a librarian. As inaccurate as that is, we find ourselves looking for opportunities to reverse the stereotype that all librarians love to shush, are boring, and are over 100 years old. So how do we market ourselves in an industry that people think is dying?

We document. We share. We market. We transform. We expand our reach.

Luckily, we can depend on social media to help us target all of these objectives.

Although social media seems like an opportunity to share cute photos and project a seemingly perfect aesthetic, the reality is we need to document and share a visual documentary of how our services reach and support our communities. If done successfully, we can take the lead in advocating for not just our patrons, but the viability of our careers. So, with that being said, how do we begin?

First Steps

Every library is different, but you might want to begin with getting approval from your administration, checking your district’s social media policy, and providing media release forms if necessary.

Decide on Your Platform

Once you’ve met the social media policy requirements, decide on your platform. Platforms may include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or even YouTube! Personally, I chose Instagram because it seemed like the easiest way to share photos and encourage discussion with my students. You can always get campus input by having your students and staff complete a survey on which platform they prefer. Remember that audience engagement is key.

Best Practices

Highlight your patrons as often as possible. Your library is doing AMAZING things and this is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of everything your library has to offer! Take as many photos as you can, or assign someone to take them for you. I often have my Library Ambassadors or teachers take photos for me if I’m busy giving a lesson. Model digital citizenship by keeping your posts positive and encouraging, checking for errors, and being concise. If your district, campus, or clubs have accounts–TAG THEM! We’re all in this together!

Content Creation

I love the following apps for content creation. They’re all user friendly and have great templates if you need a quick design. The best way to learn about these tools are to explore them. Start off with one and once you feel like you’ve gotten the hang of it, then move on to the next one. Save templates for future use.

app icons

Social Media Launch

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Your social media launch! Create your brand and plaster it everywhere. Fliers, bookmarks, buttons, stickers, your library’s web-page, EVERYWHERE. Encourage your audience and offer reading or tech challenges, contests, and promotions. Use your elevator pitch and include them in your library newsletters or create a simple bulletin.

app icons for content creation
Click the image to see the Adobe Spark video.

Don’t Worry About Perfection, Be Authentic

In a world where libraries are becoming underfunded and understaffed, with social media we can create dialogue of what we consider to be necessary to aide in the process of a well-functioning library. We take for granted how unique our stories are. For those of you asking how social media can do that, I think the real question is–how can it NOT? Don’t doubt yourself, GO FOR IT. It’s time the world knows who you are and what your library can do! Reach OUT, be HEARD, AND LET’S GET LIBRARIED!

Cue the Librarian photo and social media icons

Author’s Bio:

Karina Quilantan, or Mrs. Q as her students like to call her, has been an educator for nine years and is currently a library media specialist in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. She loves her rescue dogs, playing Magic the Gathering with her husband, and is a Hufflepuff. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and has a blog with her current reads, favorite tech, presentations, and more.


Facebook: @qthelibrarian

Twitter: @cuethelibrarian / @rgvlibrarysquad

Instagram: @cuethelibrarian / @libraryjems

Pinterest: @cuethelibrarian

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Karina!

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