Social Library, Volume 75

Jennifer Peterson /

Image courtesy Austin Public Library on Facebook

We're kicking off the new year in our Social Library series with five examples of outstanding community engagement from libraries we follow on Facebook. Learn how libraries are leveraging Facebook Live, hosting TED-Ed Clubs, collecting community donations and serving homeschoolers. Thank you to all these libraries for their great work, and if you'd like to see your library featured in future Social Library editions, please let us know via or find us on Facebook.

  • Austin Public Library in Texas innovatively uses the Facebook Live feature to connect with their community. We read about this work in a Tech Success Story published on the Texas State Library Developments blog. In the post, Amy Mullin, Electronic Resources Librarian at the Austin Public Library, shares that they've hosted eight Facebook Live session so far, covering a variety topics, library programs and collections. The videos of the sessions have been viewed nearly 7,000 times, and they've heard great feedback from patrons about the videos. Mullin reports that there are one or two scheduled each month far into 2017, including more hands-on technology demos and others will be provided in Spanish. "We've identified several advantages to this format. Q&APL Live is interactive, not static. Viewers type their questions in the video's Comment box, and we answer them on the spot. The video is posted on APL's Facebook page after the broadcast, allowing people to view it at any time." Be sure to read more about this fantastic social media service in Amy's post, and check out last week's session which was all about keeping your New Year's resolutions. We also noticed that the Washington Post was live at the Library of Congress for a Facebook Live reading of A Visit from St. Nicholas, known more commonly as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Why not host a weekly virtual storytime on your library's Facebook page? Perhaps with just one book, to inspire families to read a few more books at bedtime? You could invite them to engage with the post, perhaps by sharing the other books they enjoyed reading at home.
  • Ouray Public Library in Colorado announced their newest program opportunity for kids, TED-Ed Club. The TED-Ed Club "supports students in discovering, exploring and presenting their big ideas in the form of short, TED-style talks." Ouray's Club will help each child create their own TED talk, and is open to kids in 3rd to 8th grade. We were curious to learn if other libraries are hosting TED-Ed Clubs and we found that the Markham Public Library in Canada hosted a Club a few years ago. The event description provides some helpful information, and you can also explore more directly on the TED-Ed Clubs site.
  • Palatine Public Library in Illinois is hosting a Winter Reading Challenge, inviting the community to read a total of 5,000 books. In a post shared at the end of Week 1, the library announced that the community has already read 620 books! The challenge includes registration gifts, entry into a grand prize drawing, and most important, "when you take part in the Winter Reading Challenge, you help the community!" When the community reads a total of 5,000 books, generous partners will each donate $1,000 to a nonprofit agency that serves the homeless in the region. "JOURNEYS - The Road Home provides shelter, social services and housing to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in 37 towns in north/northwest suburban Cook County." The library outlines the reading requirements, depending on the reader's age, with birth-2nd grade reading 15 books, 3rd-6th grade reading five books, and those in grades 7-12 and adults, reading two books each. Could your library engage with community agencies and partners in a reading challenge like this one, that could help sustain services to those in need?
  • Image courtesy Hedberg Public Library on Facebook
  • And with another example of community partnerships, Hedberg Public Library in Wisconsin shared the post from Teen Central at Hedberg Public Library, announcing the generous donation by local Knapton Musik Knotes of a brand new keyboard for their Teen Central area. Teens in grades 6-12 are welcome to try it out. We love to see music happening in libraries!
  • Red Hook Public Library in New York shared about an upcoming series for local homeschoolers. The library hosts a weekly gathering in their Homeschool Libratory for students and parents to explore "all things science with our resident mad-scientist John." For more ideas on serving your homeschooling community, check out this Programming Librarian article from last year, Public Libraries Welcome Growing Homeschool Community.

Thanks to all of this week's featured libraries for such outstanding service to your communities!