The Warren County Public Library District endorses the use of carefully chosen social media tools as an important enhancement to the communication, collaboration and information exchange between library staff, patrons, and the public. Social media use by libraries can provide streamlined, cost-effective marketing and outreach, as well as foster a sense of community between the library and patrons.

For this policy, social media is defined as any web-based interactive platform via which individuals and communities co-create, share, and modify user-generated content. Examples of social media websites include, but are not limited to: Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

Social media tools employed by the library are selected to enhance or provide cost-effective means to deliver such library functions as:

  • Community outreach, marketing, and publicity.
  • Education of the community in the use of library resources.
  • Readers’ advisory services.
  • Information and reference services.
  • Book discussion groups.
  • Reading readiness activities for preschoolers.
  • Reading incentive programs for children and youth.
  • Cultural and educational programming.
  • Advertisement of volunteer opportunities available at the library.
  • Additional library-related uses that may be explored or expanded upon as deemed reasonable by the Library Director.

Library social media offerings are intended to create a welcoming and inviting online space where library patrons will find useful and entertaining information. In some forums, users may be able to interact with library staff and other library users, as detailed below.

For the library’s social media sites and online communities, staff participation shall be approved in advance by the Library Director. If user discussion and contribution is invited on a library social media site, it is subject to the Public Terms of Use found below. A link to these terms should be posted on the site.

The library’s social media accounts should indicate they are maintained by the library and display the library’s contact information. Where possible, the social media pages should include a link to the library website and this Social Media Policy.

Content posted to social media sites by the library is considered public record, and the library will make a reasonable effort to retain such content on the library’s computers. Content subject to Freedom of Information Act requests will be retained in accordance to the State of Illinois records retention policies and/or only posted to sites that maintain indefinite retention (i.e., Facebook).

Staff Responsibilities

When representing the library via social media, personnel shall:

  • Conduct themselves as representatives of the library and adhere to all associated standards of conduct.
  • Not make statements about patrons, or post, transmit, or otherwise disseminate confidential information in violation of the library’s Patron Privacy Policy.
  • Not represent postings as official library policy unless this has been clearly approved by the Library Director.
  • Not conduct political activities or private business.
  • Library personnel shall observe and abide by all copyright and trademark restrictions in posting materials to electronic media.
  • Present content in a professional manner and fact check, site sources, present balanced views, acknowledge and correct errors, and check grammar and spelling before posting.

The Warren County Public Library respects the privacy and freedom of speech of all library staff (including volunteers) and does not monitor their personal use of social media. While at work, social media use should be limited to work-related tasks such as following applicable trends, reading posts from other libraries, and other research activities. During breaks, employees may use their personal social media accounts. Noticeable overuse of social media for personal reasons may be cause for disciplinary actions.

Public Terms of Use

The Warren County Public Library has no affiliation with social media advertisements or material posted by third party sites and is not responsible for their content.

By choosing to comment on the library’s social media sites, public users agree to these terms:

  1. Comments are moderated by library staff, and the library reserves the right to not post or to
    remove comments that are unlawful or off-topic as determined in its sole discretion, including,
    but not limited to:
    • Plagiarized material.
    • Copyright violations.
    • Commercial material/spam.
    • Charitable solicitations or political campaigning.
    • Duplicate posts from the same individual.
    • Comments containing sexually explicit language or images, or statements that ridicule, malign, disparage or otherwise express bias against any race, religion or protected class of individuals.
    • Personal comments about individuals, including attacks, insults, or threatening language.
    • Unsolicited images, executable programs or any non-textual content.
  2. Persons who repeatedly violate these terms may be barred from further postings.
  3. All comments are public records, and as such, are subject to public records laws and the State of
    Illinois records retention schedule. Commenters are urged to protect their privacy and to limit
    posting of personal information.