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Libraries, Social Media, and Politics: Do You Know What to Post?

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According to a recent survey, librarians frequently “self-censor” their posts about local, state, and national political issues more than is required by policy or law. If that self-censorship is getting in the way of libraries fulfilling their public education mission and civic engagement work, it has to be confronted and changed. This EveryLibrary webinar discussion with Dustin Fife and Mary Naylor Stephens on Thursday, February 15th was a deep-dive into their research findings, and was sponsored by Kixal.

Visit http://everylibrary.org/webinar-libraries-social-media-politics-know-post/ for more information and a link to the video archive of the event.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Libraries, Social Media, and Politics: Do You Know What to Post?

  1. 1. Libraries, Social Media, and Politics: Do You Know What to Post? Dustin Fife & Mary Naylor Stephens #thepoliticallibrarian
  2. 2. Tweeting? Use #thepoliticallibrarian Ask questions for panelists using the Q&A window Share ideas with other participants in the chat window This webinar will be recorded, archived, and shared via email. Send technical questions using the Q&A window and we will do our best to assist you. You do not need to raise your hand to ask a question
  3. 3. John Chrastka Executive Director, EveryLibary
  4. 4. ● First Nationwide PAC for Libraries ● Set up as a c4 rather than a c3 ● 75 Election Days for public libraries ● Dozens of school librarian / library direct actions ● $255+ million in stable tax funding ● Pro Bono Approach About EveryLibrary Building voter support for libraries
  5. 5. everylibrary.org - professional facing information about library activism action.everylibrary.org – petitions and email campaigns for libraries SaveSchoolLibrarians.org – direct action in schools and districts SaveIMLS.org – fighting to preserve IMLS funding in the federal budget One Million Americans for Libraries Building voter support for libraries
  6. 6. The Political Librarian is dedicated to expanding the discussion of, promoting research on, and helping to re-envision locally focused advocacy, policy, and funding issues for libraries. https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/pollib/ For questions and submissions: dustin.fife@everylibrary.org Building voter support for libraries
  7. 7. everylibrary.org | facebook.com/everylibrary | @everylibrary 312-574-0316 | info@everylibrary.org Building voter support for libraries
  8. 8. #thepoliticallibrarian Libraries, Social Media, and Politics: Do You Know What to Post? Dustin Fife Western State Colorado University Mary Naylor Stephens Utah Valley University
  9. 9. Brief introductions Two academic librarians with public library experience surveyed librarians about how frequently institutions posted to social media, if they knew their parent institutions social media policies, and if/when they did post did the post about: ● Events in the library ● Library initiatives ● Political concerns for the library ● Political concerns for the community ● Political concerns for the nation
  10. 10. Who Responded Libraries responding by type ● public libraries (61.79%) ● academic libraries (24.89%) ● school libraries (6.11%) ● special libraries (2.4%) ● archives (0.66%) ● prisons, military, independent consultancies, for profit companies etc (4.15%) https://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2013/08/ 19/the-library-in-lego-form-aka-the-absolute- last-post-i-will-write-about-lego-librarians/
  11. 11. Education and Job Duties Degree level and Job Duties ● 77.73% had a library degree ● 65.25% have direct access to the institutions’ social media ● 51.64% supervise staff in some capacity http://clipart-library.com/college-degree- cliparts.html
  12. 12. Poll #1 #thepoliticallibrarian
  13. 13. Findings: personal use of social media Frequency of use ● 59.47% use social media multiple times a day ● 33.41% use social media daily ● Only 0.45% never use social media ● 72% state that they post about politics on their personal account at monthly or more Social media platforms ● Facebook ● Twitter ● Instagram ● Pinterest ● Snapchat ● Linkedin ● Goodreads ● Reddit ● Tumblr
  14. 14. Findings: institutional use of social media Frequency of use ● 17.08% post multiple times a day ● 42.37% post daily ● 33.03% post weekly Social media platforms ● Facebook ● Twitter ● Instagram ● Less common but mentioned ○ Google + ○ Pinterest
  15. 15. Poll #2 #thepoliticallibrarian
  16. 16. Public Service Announcement WE ARE NOT ATTORNEYS AND THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE!!!!!! https://www.smithandeulo.com/smith-eulo- law-blog/criminal-defense-lawyers-seminole- county-florida/
  17. 17. The Laws that Bind US Two Questions ● Are we artificially creating hurdles for libraries and communities? ● Is it okay for us to talk about our own funding concerns if they are up for a vote? https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_cat egory.php?id=212731&name=Question+ Mark+Wallpapers
  18. 18. Federal, State, & Local Laws ○ Federal Laws / The Hatch Act: is it a gag order? ○ State Laws ○ Local Laws
  19. 19. Ambiguity Reigns Supreme Question 19 asked, “Does your library allow you to post on the institutional account about a local issue such as an upcoming ballot initiative for library funding?” ■ Yes: 26.95% ■ No: 29.91% ■ Maybe: 43.11% (which seems to be the catchall “I’m not sure”)
  20. 20. An important distinction There is an important difference between providing information and advocating for passage or failure Part of our jobs as information professionals is helping people learn how to use and navigate information provided ● Ex. Financial Planning Week ○ Books on display ○ Financial planners giving a presentation/workshop ○ Pathfinders for term definitions and valuable software https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/ news/2017/11/17/tax-proposals- state-treasurer-lafayette-parish- ballot-saturday/874789001/
  21. 21. Poll #3 #thepoliticallibrarian
  22. 22. Best practices First and foremost... ○ It is the responsibility of administration to know the legal framework and implications behind all activities in the library. ○ Policies should reflect all relevant laws. https://research-methodology.net/role-of- administration-in-management/
  23. 23. Best practices ● All people with direct access to social media posts should ○ Know about the social media policy ○ Where the social media policy is located ○ Know the generals and be familiar with the specifics of the social media policy ● Have a social media schedule and planning calendar ○ Include library priorities ○ Include patron community priorities ■ Which may include political topics!
  24. 24. Best practices ● Examples ● Specific Examples ● General Examples ● More Examples ● Lots of Examples ● Maybe one more extra Example http://nlpx.net/archives/404
  25. 25. Institutional and Professional Mission ● Missions vary among institutions But… ● We do all share similar professional goals and ethics What happens when we abdicate our professional and ethical roles? https://ropindreams.com/about- us/our-mission
  26. 26. The Political Librarian Libraries, Social Media, and Politics: Do Library Professionals Post about Politics on Institutional Social Media Accounts? https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/pollib/ The Political Librarian is dedicated to expanding the discussion of, promoting research on, and helping to re-envision locally focused advocacy, policy, and funding issues for libraries.
  27. 27. Questions? Dustin Fife dustin.fife@everylibrary.org Mary Naylor Stephens mary.naylor@uvu.edu #thepoliticallibrarian
  28. 28. Next Webinar: April 11, 2018 (2:00 PM EDT) An Organizer’s Tale: Mobilizing Allies for Union Negotiations in Libraries Emily Drabinski (LIU Brooklyn) will discuss lessons learned through fighting for a fair union contract. More than anything, making political change requires mobilizing people. http://bit.ly/TPLorganizer #thepoliticallibrarian
  29. 29. everylibrary.org | facebook.com/everylibrary | @everylibrary 312-574-0316 | info@everylibrary.org

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