Reference Through Social Media: Developing Standards, Guidelines, and Policies

Too often chat, social media, and text-based reference services operate without standards and policies. This eCourse will guide you in writing useful, concise, legally-sound standards and guidelines for providing reference through social media. Simply establishing basic greeting, closing, and tone standards that reflect user expectations will significantly improve user satisfaction. With a solid foundation of best practices, and practical advice on implementation and ongoing assessment, you and your colleagues will communicate with library users in a consistent and reliable way. 

Learning Outcomes


Learning Outcomes:
  • Adapting Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) standards and your own library’s reference standards to create guidelines for using social media in reference service
  • Learning how to communicate in a human, approachable, and professional manner via social media
  • Understanding key legal concepts that underlie virtual reference and social media policies
  • Ability to implement organizational practices that support high-level service


Sarah Steiner is the Social Work and Virtual Services Librarian at Georgia State University Library in Atlanta. For the past six years, she has been a leader in the library’s social media outreach, coordinating, assessing, and regularly staffing the library’s chat and text-message reference service. She is cofounder of the Carterette Series Webinars, which highlight trends, innovation, and best practices in Georgia libraries. As a 2011 Library JournalMover & Shaker, Steiner was recognized for creating networking and professional development opportunities for librarians. 


How to Register

Registration is available at