The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library

Technology as an Advocacy Tool

Technology, especially social media, have significantly changed organizations’ abilities to connect with members of their communities. Listed below are strategies for utilizing technology for the benefit of the library.

Website

Perhaps one of the most basic but useful technology tools for libraries is a basic library website. In addition to providing access to collections, information on upcoming programs and directions to the library, the website can serve as a link to other social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.) The essentials for any website—a phone number, address, contact names (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses where applicable), a calendar of events, a list of services and hours of operation.

For some small libraries, simple is not only better, it’s essential. For a simple but effective library website, consider WordPress (http://wordpress.com/) to create a library blog which can be enhanced to create a more robust site for your library. WordPress is easy to update and can be enhanced with plugins for a calendar, submit a question form, request a book form and more. WordPress can even incorporate content from libraries’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Content you may consider for your library’s website includes:

  • Book recommendations from staff
  • Calendar of events
  • Links to library newsletters
  • Blog posts on upcoming celebrations (ie: Pride Month, Black History Month, etc)
  • Hours of operation address
  • Contact form
  • Staff information page
  • Welcome from library director

Social Media

Social media platforms come and go and there are new ones every day! Additionally, not all people use all platforms. For instance, when it started Facebook was primarily used by college-aged users, but by the mid-2010s there were more middle-aged users on Facebook and young adults had moved on to other platforms. With so many different social media accounts out there, how do you know which to use, which to ignore? The important thing is finding out what social media platforms your community uses, and then to use those. Additionally, know and make peace with the fact that this will continue to change. You may have a vibrant account on one social media platform, but if it becomes less popular, don’t be afraid to pull the plug on it and move to whatever platform has replaced it in usage and popularity.

Here are some tips for using social media as a library:

  • If you choose to use multiple social media platforms, make sure you are sharing different content and not duplicating content.
  • Post content that your users may be interested in, not all posts have to be library-specific. It is recommended that social media content is 80% related to the interests of users and 20% should be active promotion.
  • Twitter allows you to schedule your posts in advance.
  • Have an image or graphic accompany posts.

Tools to use:

  • Canva.com - Free platform that allows you to make graphics
  • Tweetdeck.com - Free platform that helps you organize Twitter feed

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