Image: J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:
My goal is to foster engaged communication between users and library administration at San Francisco State University (SFSU). I propose to introduce an Instagram account for the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University as way to better connect and acquaint the users and the administration. My underlying goal is to make the users aware of the resources at the SFSU library as well as to open a dialog between them and the library administration in which the users actively communicate what they like or do not like about the library. In turn, this feedback assists the library administration with understanding and direction on where to consider making and implementing changes.
As a social media platform, Instagram is accessible and easy to learn. Through Instagram, users may post pictures, short videos, memes, or even quick notes. Instagram is primarily visual with some text and, like Twitter, Instagram incorporates hashtags as a way to follow conversations. I envision the library promoting a program through Instagram to inquire what students, faculty and staff want from the library, how they use the library, and what they would like to change as well as see for new ideas, collections, space, events and happenings at the SFSU library.
The SFSU library could launch the program with a series of hashtags such as: #whattheSFSUlibrarymeanstoMe #SFSUlibrary #SFSULibraryChange #SFSUlbraryResearch #SFSULibraryevents #SFSULibraryNow.
Description of Community you wish to engage:
The community I wish to engage is primarily the users – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and San Francisco Bay area residents with an interest and stake in the SFSU library space and collections.
I am also invested in having the SFSU library administration and staff engage with these users in a productive and more egalitarian and transparent way in order to promote and foster the SFSU library and community. My goal is to address and incorporate aspects of the participatory library that Michael Casey discusses as he writes “The community should be involved in the brainstorming for new ideas and services, they should play a role in planning for those services, and they should definitely be involved in the evaluation and review process.”
Action Brief Statement:
Convince library administration at San Francisco State’s J. Paul Leonard Library that by creating an Instagram account for the library and emphasizing specific hashtags they will understand their users’ and stakeholders’ needs better, which will create an opportunity to incorporate these findings into concrete changes that make the library even more essential and necessary for its students, faculty, and staff by opening a dialog because engagement with the community will foster the library’s mission and highlight its resources, ultimately connecting the library administration more integrally and dynamically with its community’s needs.
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
Instagram is a fun social media platform that allows participants to be creative and expressive. In her recent visit/discussion-lecture for our current Hyperlinked Library class on October 16, Stacie Ledden emphasized the experience model, in which she highlighted the importance of “play” and how this can be applied to our spaces in libraries, our programs, curriculum and resources. The notion of play is an important tool to foster in library spaces and can assist in developing other academic tools such as research and inquiry through an environment that builds on exploration, inquiry, and curiosity.
Robin Camille Davis promotes the idea of using Instagram as method to informally measure students’ assessment and experiences of the library in her “Using Instagram for your library: 9 strategies.” Additionally, Davis places a focus on the promotion of photos and the image as a way to begin conversations and the ease of employing Instagram.
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:
Determine SFSU’s protocol and policy about using social media. Reach out to the Communications department, Instructional Technology department, the Provost and President’s Offices for guidelines on implementing an Instagram account. Since the university already has an Instagram account, I recommend following established precedent, protocol, and legal suggestions governing this account as well as adhering to the guidelines of use for the proposed Instagram account.
Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: Action Steps & Timeline:
While the J. Paul Leonard Library at SFSU already has Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts specific for the library, they do not have an Instagram account for the library. One option is to link the proposed library Instagram account with the SFSU’s already thriving university Instagram account, which has over 10,000 followers (roughly a third of the current student enrollment). Forge a partnership with the SFSU Communication department and discuss options that might include inclusion of the library into the existing account. Work with Academic Technology and the IT department to assess options for a new Instagram account.
Timeline: Ideally the new library Instagram account would be launched for the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester. It would be necessary to gain approval from the library administration for the new Instagram project and to develop a strategy for short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Meet in November to propose implementation of project. If approved, launch project in January 2018. Determine whether one semester trial is enough time to assess the initiatives progress, or if we should extend to the fall 2018 semester.
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
Since there is already a social media presence within the library – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, I would propose to determine if the existing staff and resources could handle the proposed new Instagram account. However, a cursory glance at these accounts suggests that they are not frequently updated, certainly not on a daily basis. The most recent Tweet was posted in August, the last YouTube video uploaded was last month, and Facebook requires a sign-on to see the library page. It is paramount to remove barriers from communication between the SFSU library and its users. I recommend meeting with library administration, the director and managers of the library in an effort to convince them that the new Instagram account along with an active social media presence will only assist the library in its mission and could have potential positive feedback, a happy and engaged stakeholder will assist in fighting for resources.
- Hire a student worker or workers to implement and staff the new Instagram venture
- Seek volunteers among the university community – students, staff, faculty, alumni to commit to academic year volunteer positions to implement and promote social media and the new Instagram initiative.
- Work with library administration and the provost’s office to seek funding for a new position in the library that specializes in social media and recruitment and enrollment.
- Look across campus and to other colleges for similar positions as a leveraging tool.
Training for this Technology or Service
All library staff, student assistants, managers, and directors get trained on how to use Instagram. It is essential that everyone learn this simple, fun, social media app as a way to promote the initiative and empower the entire library staff – it encourages buy-in and community investment. The current social media library team, Academic Technology, or IT department may all come together to provide the training. However, this will be determined by staffing demands and the ability to implement in the work-flow of the library.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:
In order to spread the word of the new library Instagram account I recommend the following:
- Promote through the existing SFSU Library website and main SFSU website.
- Announce through the SFSU news page through the Communication department and through the weekly email sent to all SFSU students, faculty and staff. Promote on the current and popular main SFSU Instagram account.
- Connect with the local SFSU newspaper, The Gator, and try to arrange an interview about the project. Contact other local newspapers: SFGate, Oakland, San Jose.
- Promote on large screen LCD’s throughout the campus, probably through the SFSU Communication department.
- Contact the SF public library to inquire if they want to promote this on their website and through their branch network.
- Contact local television news stations about the new initiative to see if they want to interview the library staff or place on their websites.
The metrics and evaluation of the library Instagram account are important but it is important to remember that it’s a tool to communicate more effectively with the users/stakeholders of the SFSU library. Positioning a mechanism for feedback on the main SFSU library website inquiring and encouraging feedback to “better serve you” would be one evaluation tool. The feedback could be emailed, or through any of the social media streams that the library already uses. Additionally, measuring the amount of Instagram followers with other college libraries and the SFSU Instagram account would be one method for determining the success of the program. Another successful benchmark would be users seeing some of their suggestions implemented and promoted within the library. A potential rotating user advisory board could be created through this library Instagram account, which would include users and library administration!
Image Credit: https://cpdc.sfsu.edu/completed/library08_09new
Casey, M. (2011). Revisiting participatory service in trying times.
Davis, Robin Camille. (2015). https://emerging.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2013/09/using-instagram-library/
Ledden, Stacie. (2017). https://sas.elluminate.com/drtbl?sid=2011274&suid=D.EED6F2AC6DC8E17D70FDBB0C68F1B3