Sep 102010

At the start of the year, Jean Hing Fay and I (who job shared at the Grove Library) did a lot of reading of social media policies and came up with one for the library.

We based it on on the Intel social media policy and a very useful list at the High Tech Dad blog, Crafting your company’s social media policy .

We included the section on moderation as we wanted staff to be able to show the guidelines if anyone wanted to know why particularly material was on any of the library’s online sites.

We released it under Creative Commons and I thought that I had put a copy here on my blog, but looks like I hadn’t. I did put here the digital strategy that is part of…

Anyhow, here it is…

Joseph, P. (2009). 09-jun-10. Retrieved from

These are guidelines for use of social media by Library staff.

“Social Media.” includes community created content sites like Blogs, Forums, Flickr, YouTube, Wikis, Social Networks, Twitter and other content sharing sites. It includes:

  • material created by you on sites hosted and created by the library
  • material created on other social media sites when  acting as a library employee.

When you use social media your behaviour  and content is not only a reflection of you but also of (our) Library. This policy complements, rather than overrides, any existing requirements that you act professionally, respectfully and honestly.

If you don’t know how you should act or communicate within Social Media, ask someone who does.

If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, discuss it with your manager.

Social Media Do’s

  1. Be Professional – Talk the way you would talk to real people in professional situations.
  2. Be Courteous – Be sure to listen & ask questions.
  3. Be Accurate – Check your facts before you post and provide supporting sources if necessary.
  4. Be Useful – Add content because you have something interesting to say, not for the sake of regular posting.
  5. Be Intelligent – Provide some value. Don’t talk down. Offer insight.
  6. Be Conversational –  Avoid overly pedantic or “composed” language. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality.
  7. Be Non-confrontational – If you disagree, do so respectfully
  8. Be Prompt – If you need to moderate or respond to a comment do so as quickly as possible
  9. Be Identifiable – Use your real name and do not post anonymously.
  10. Be Transparent – Disclose that you work for the library if this is relevant and be honest & truthful.

Social Media Don’ts

  1. Don’t Share Secrets –If you aren’t sure you can disclose something, just don’t do it. Think about privacy, confidentiality and permission to use other people’s content.
  2. Don’t Bad Mouth – Keep the language clean & avoid slamming people or companies.
  3. Don’t Complain – If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  4. Don’t do Stupid Things – If it doesn’t help the Library or our community, don’t do it.
  5. Don’t Defame – Show everyone respect.
  6. Don’t Forget your day job –Social Media can consume you so don’t forget your other duties. Moderate, balanced use is essential.

Responsible moderation

Moderation is the act of reviewing and approving content from others. Our aim is to promote community conversation, so we will only remove content that:

  • is abusive
  • is off-topic
  • contains personal and/or cultural attacks or insults
  • promotes hate of any kind
  • is offensive in nature or contains offensive language
  • is spam
  • is potentially libelous
  • contains plagiarised material
  • contains commercial content
  • is detrimental in any way

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  14 Responses to “A social media policy for a one branch public library”

  1. Oh this is great! Will definitely be stealing some of your ideas for my library. Thanks!

  2. Feel freeeeeee!

  3. Looks like a great Social Media Policy! Glad I could be of some inspiration to you!


  4. I am in yr blog, stealing yr ideaz.

    Thanks Kathryn, this is great and exactly the kind of low-key document I need to form the basis of a policy for MPOW – I can easily adapt these ideas & words to my entire organisation (we are very small) & then the library gets bonus points for value-adding (again!).

  5. Kathryn, what are the specifics of the Creative Commons license you’re using? Attribution (to whom)?

  6. Thanks very much for asking Cindy. For the policy itself, the Grove library. All our material like this was released under a CC A-SA 3.0 Australia License… But I did not make it clear in my post. The blog content itself is attributable to me, Kathyrn Greenhill….

  7. Thanks, Kathryn!

  8. […] plagiarized material, or private information provided without consent). As well, the blog Librarians Matter presented a compelling reason for formalizing policy relating to patron use of the library’s […]

  9. […] what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, discuss it with your manager (via Librarian’s Matter […]

  10. […] Excellent example of a one library’s social media policy. […]

  11. Thanks for putting this up !

  12. […] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 4:54 […]

  13. […] Excellent example of a one library’s social media policy. […]

  14. […] Hing Fay and Kathryn Greenhill, who job shared at the Grove Library, did a lot of reading of social media policies and came up […]

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