The Friday Follow-up: And the Best Use of Social Media Goes to Prattsburg Free Library

And The Best Use of Social Media Goes To Prattsburg Free Library

Previous Prattsburg Library Director Karen Scott was interviewed by WETM local news after a video went viral through the library’s Facebook page. The library posted the video on its website and shared with community members via social media when an unexpected visit to the library brought much needed program resources.


In 2004, social media was not a thing. Most avid internet users connected with their family and friends through email or instant messaging.  One year later, Myspace arguably transformed the way people socially interacted online. Users created online personalities by sharing text, images and audio files.

In 2008, Facebook, and other internet giants, sought to become the largest virtual nations in the world by creating evolving platforms for anyone with a device and internet. Today’s social media landscape couldn’t be more ubiquitous. We have dozens of media types containing multiple vendors all competing for our attention.

I mention this abridged history because there was a time when libraries questioned our need for social media participation. Some libraries brushed it off as a timely trend. Other libraries couldn’t connect to its value. I recall STLS hosting workshops encouraging the use of social media. These informative sessions were met with mixed revues.

Fast forward to present day. Most member libraries have a Facebook page. Some members are using numerous social media sites like Twitter, Flickr, Instagram or YouTube. Even this Friday Follow-up you are reading is considered part of social media infrastructure.

I don’t think librarians still challenge the relevancy of community engagement through social media. We are aware Pew Research reveals 75% of Americans own and appear to be glued to a smartphone at some point in their day. What I do believe is all member librarians struggle with finding the time to do it. There is a reason well-funded libraries employ full time social media professionals.

The power of social media is apparent.  It is a permanent and influential element of every social, political, environmental, economic or cultural issue we try to tackle. If there is something happening in the world, we can be certain to find it in our feeds, message boards or comment boxes.

I wish I had an answer for how small libraries can manage it. There is only so much time in a rural librarian’s day. However, I can share with you the success of other member librarians, and hope their attempts at social media are helpful.

This year’s Best Use of Social Media Award goes to Prattsburg Free Library in Steuben County. Last year, the library used webcam technology and their Facebook page to record an unexpected visitor delivering much needed supplies for children’s programs.

The recording went viral throughout the greater Prattsburgh community and eventually was picked-up by local media. As a result, the library received a spike in library patrons who were eager to take advantage of the new resources.

It is also worth noting, the library was in the middle of funding campaign at the time. This had nothing to do with the social media campaign, but it was helpful in spreading the word about valuable library services. Last month, the library was successful in passing a new 259 funding referendum for the long-term betterment of the library.

STLS is excited to present this award to the Prattsburg Free Library at this year’s annual meeting and conference. We hope you can attend to celebrate their social media achievement?

Have a great September weekend, STLS member libraries!

Warmest Regards,