Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Use Instagram for Your Library

To say that I'm active on Instagram would hardly be true. I follow a few of my artist friends and a favorite band or two on this photo-sharing social media site, but that is about the extent of it. I do suppose that if I were a visual or musical artist, however, I would use Instagram to help get my name out there.
Providence Public Library's Instagram photo of its Rhode Island Postcard Collection, which it is currently processing.
Image via http://instagram.com/rhodeislandcollection

Because Instagram can be a good tool for self-promotion, it's a shame that more libraries aren't taking advantage of it, especially since it is FREE. I browsed a number of public library websites, searching for examples of those that use Instagram to mention in this blog post, and I largely came up empty. Nearly all the libraries whose websites I looked at have expanded their online presence through social media, usually through Facebook and Twitter. Many also have YouTube and Flickr accounts. Yet nearly none of them are on Instagram.

I did discover that Providence Public Library in Providence, Rhode Island, is now active on Instagram. In an announcement made just last month, Providence Public Library stated that it has made "cool photographs of items" from its collection available on Instagram and that its "account is updated several times a week and showcases interesting tidbits and images as [librarian Kate Wells] comes across them while working with patrons, processing collections or just poking around."

What Providence Public Library is doing is definitely a step in the right direction, and other libraries should seriously consider following suit. Unsure of how to make Instagram - a FREE app that's already popular with more than 80 million users - work for you? Ellyssa Kroski offers you "10 Interesting Ways to Use Instagram for Your Library." Some of her tips include:

● Show off your books! Take and share photos of your new release or most popular books displays.

● Go behind the scenes! If you've started an improvement on your library, show photos of your progress.

● Show your librarians! Introduce your fellow librarians to patrons by sharing photos of them.

● Show off your events! Have an author talk or book sale coming up? Spread the word about it by posting teaser shots.

Kroski goes into further detail about each of these great tips on using Instagram, and she offers six more in her article, which was published last year on the Open Education Database. Check out her "10 Interesting Ways to Use Instagram for Your Library" at THIS LINK.


  1. Cool! Totally worth checking out, and should fill the weekend with relevant reading. It always comes down to the marketing, and in mobilizing any avenues and means that would be available to us. As well as not hesitating on what it takes to absolutely get your stuff out there. Thanks for this again!

    Marta @ Canyon Marketing

  2. I completely agree, Marta! It's all about marketing and making the most of your available resources. Thank you very much for your comment!

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