Social media basics: Engaging your library users

For Immediate Release
Tue, 10/07/2014


Dan Freeman

eLearning Manager

ALA Publishing

ALA Publishing

CHICAGO — ALA Editions announces a new iteration of its popular eCourse, Social Media Basics: Engaging Your Library Users. Paul Signorelli will serve as the instructor for a five-week facilitated eCourse starting on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. This is a four-week course that has been extended an additional week to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Are you new to social media? Have you been intimidated by the idea of getting started with sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter?

If your library doesn't have a presence on these social media sites, you are missing an important chance to make vital connections with library users as well as with other libraries. And once you get the hang of it, social media can be the most fun you’ll ever have sharing your library with others.

In this eCourse, designed for new and inexperienced social media users, Paul Signorelli will take you through the basics of social media, showing you how you can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter to connect with a library audience for reference, library instruction, outreach and marketing. With his guidance, you’ll set up social media accounts that your library will actually be able to build upon and use once the eCourse is over.

eCourse outline

Week 1: Introducing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ for Library Staff

  • Social media offerings as tools rather than taskmasters
  • How library staff and other trainer-teacher-learners are using them
  • How each tool works independently and how they can work together
  • Getting started: branding yourself through your social media tools
  • Setting up your first account: Twitter
  • Case study: using Twitter to create a library social learning center at an ALA Conference

Assignments for Week 1 will include:

  • Completing introductory readings on the topic
  • Writing an appropriate Twitter profile that can be used in other accounts and putting it on the bulletin board for this eCourse
  • Establishing an account in Twitter
  • Choosing at least five people to follow
  • Writing your first tweets to colleagues in the course

Week 2: Building Upon Existing Tools: Combining Twitter with Other Social Media Tools for Reference and Library Learning Programs

  • How to deliver reference and/or learning opportunities 140 characters at a time
  • Expanding the virtual classroom: social learning centers without walls
  • Facilitating online discussions in Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Setting up Your basic LinkedIn account
  • Case Studies:
    • Reference and learning through LinkedIn discussion groups
    • Natalie Binder’s #libchat (facilitated Twitter discussions for library staff and students)

Assignments for Week 2 will include:

  • Completing introductory readings on the topic
  • Establishing an account in LinkedIn
  • Expanding your Twitter profile for LinkedIn
  • Writing your first LinkedIn postings
  • Linking your tweets to your LinkedIn postings
  • Locating and subscribing to at least one library-centric discussion group on LinkedIn, and posting the name of the group in the Week 2 bulletin board for this course
  • Contributing to the course LinkedIn discussion group by starting a discussion thread and contributing to at least one other thread
  • Exploring Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to monitor and manage your social learning accounts with hashtags (#)
  • Reviewing the Twitter feed that Natalie Binder facilitates at #libchat (username: @nataliebinder)

Week 3: Reference and/or Learning in Facebook and Google+

  • Training-Teaching-Learning 101: transforming reference and training into learning
  • Between tweets and blogs: moving beyond the 140-character limit without writing a full-length blog posting
  • Facilitating online discussions via social learning tools
  • Working through Google+ Hangouts
  • Beyond Hangouts: Skype, Google Chat/Talk, and more
  • Case study: providing reference and/or learning opportunities within a Google+ Hangout

Assignments for Week 3 will include:

  • Completing introductory readings on the topic
  • Establishing an account in Facebook or Google+
  • Establishing or updating your Facebook or Google profile so it is compatible with your LinkedIn and Twitter account profile
  • Creating a Facebook friend group or Google+ circle that includes at least five of our colleagues in the eCourse
  • Finding and following accounts of at least three users associated with libraries, including Sarah Houghton, Jill Hurst-Wahl, and Jeffrey Hamilton
  • Listing these users on the Week 3 bulletin board for this eCourse as a resource for your classmates
  • Writing your first Facebook or Google+ postings and exploring how they differ from what you write for Twitter and LinkedIn

Week 4: Bringing It All Together in an Onsite-Online World of Training-Teaching-Learning

  • Introduction to blended reference/learning—best practices
  • Mobility in reference and learning: augmentation, not replacement
  • Levels of engagement
  • Delivering reference and/or a learning opportunity via a social media tool
  • What’s next

Assignments for Week 4 will include:

  • Completing introductory readings on the topic
  • Bookmarking  at least five resources that you will use as reference/learning tools
  • Creating a post in one social media tool you are using and translating that into an appropriate post in another social media tool you are using
  • Designing and posting, in the Week 4 forum, a reference/learning activity you can use with your library learners, or organizing a synchronous or asynchronous discussion on a reference/learning topic using either Twitter, a LinkedIn discussion group, Facebook page or a Google+ Hangout

About the Instructor

Paul Signorelli has more than 20 years’ experience as a learning leader for libraries and other organizations and businesses. As director of staff training and volunteer services at the San Francisco Public Library system, he created, implemented and managed numerous training plans. He continues to serve as a writer,trainer, onsite and online presenter and consultant for a variety of organizations and remains active in the American Library Association Learning Round Table and with ASTD (the American Society for Training & Development), where he has held leadership positions at the local and national level. He can be reached at through his website, and through his Building Creative Bridges blog.

Registration for this ALA Editions facilitated eCourse, which begins on Monday, Nov. 3, can be purchased at the ALA Store. Participants in this course will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message board participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (MP3 files), and downloading and viewing PDF and PowerPoint files.

ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5843 or

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