Social Media Made Simple

Reaching Your Library’s Community

May 17–June 7, 2017

Live Sessions on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM ET: May 17, 24, 31 & June 7

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Social Media

Learn tools and tactics to help you use social media to build your outreach to current and future patrons. This 4-week online course mixes live keynote presentations and hands-on projects in an online workshop setting. You’ll receive one-on-one guidance from an experienced social media library luminary.

By the end of the 4-week workshop, participants will

  • Set a target audience for your social media efforts
  • Decide what you hope to achieve through social media, who is your core audience, and what channels would reach them most effectively
  • Build a social media project to achieve a specific goal
  • Get prepared to offer a nimble social media response to surprise events that impact your community—whether that’s a tornado or a celebrity visit
  • Create shareable content that can “go viral” beyond your existing followers

Online course features

  • Instructor-led online courses feature personalized interaction over four weeks
  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)
  • Weekly homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums
  • Articles, videos and other resources

Who should take this course?

This course is relevant for school, public, and academic librarians, across all areas of the library—from front line-staff to management—looking to learn how to use social media as an outreach and engagement tool.

Now available! A separately bookable Week 1 primer.

Sign up for the Week 1 primer and get full access to the first session on May 17th from 1:00–2:15 PM ET. Attend the live session with a special keynote by Lisa Schneider, the Chief Digital Officer & Publisher at Merriam Webster Inc. Lisa will share insights and strategies behind some of the greatest hits of‘s social media efforts. Then hear from Library Journal contributor, Jennifer Koerber as she delivers  a social media overview to help you set goals, define your voice, and create a plan. Participants can engage in Q&A and live chat with the peers and presenters. Participants can engage in Q&A and live chat with the peers and presenters.

In this archived webcast, Edmaker’s Carmen Scheidel and Jennifer Koerber, an LJ contributor, instructor, and writer, gives an overview of how to develop a strong social media plan, tips for creating the right kind of content for different formats, and inspirational campaign examples from different libraries.

Register before May 12th to take advantage of our special advanced rate.

Group discounts are available!

Register in groups for a unique team-building experience and get everyone working together. Contact us to learn more.


Course Schedule

WEEK 1: Wednesday, May 17, 2017


1:00-1:30 PM ET

Our course advisor will lead you on a guided tour of the online classroom, explain how the assignments and homework groups work, and take any of your questions to help get you set up for our live keynote session.


Carmen Scheidel, CEO,; partner to Library Journal Professional Development

SESSION 1: ‘The Hot Dog Is a Sandwich’ and Other Ways Merriam-Webster Set Twitter on Fire. Literally.

1:30-2:15 PM ET

Before Lisa Schneider took over digital strategy for Merriam Webster, the American dictionary and reference book publisher had what she described as a “pretty scheduled and staid” approach to Twitter “…a Word of the Day tweet in the morning, and a quiz tweet in the afternoon.” Under her direction, the social media team she built has broken convention and earned a reputation for having a sassy, educational, and current voice that shows that language is evolving. (Surreal was the word of the year for 2016, but contenders included irregardless, bigly, and revenant, based on lookups.) As she told the Washington Post: “When I joined the company, I thought it was a shame that we were not engaging people with our love of language, and the cleverness and humor I experienced in the office every day. I convinced the powers that be to let me build a content and social media team, and clearly they have hit it out of the park.” In this opening keynote, Lisa Schneider will share the greatest hits of’s social media efforts and share the strategy and stories behind them. Follow her @Merriam-Webster.


Lisa Schneider, Chief Digital Officer & Publisher, Merriam Webster Inc.

SESSION 2: Social Media Overview

2:15-3:00 PM ET

As a start to developing your social media plan, we’ll review major social media platforms, the audience each platform primarily reaches, and how to tailor content to different styles. You’ll start to define your goals for using social media and learn ways to identify your specific audience. Finally, we’ll discuss developing style guides to find and keep a consistent online voice (with one creator or a team of contributors), including using humor effectively. Personal stories and library examples will give you ideas for your own work.


Jennifer Koerber, Library Journal Contributor; Instructor; Writer

WEEK 2: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SESSION 1: Nuts & Bolts: What You Need To Make It Work

1:00-1:45 PM ET

As digital services director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (KS), David Lee King plans, implements, and experiments with emerging technology trends. He is a prominent speaker and author of Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools To Create Great Customer Connections. In this how-to session, David will share his recommendations for free and cheap tools to help you make the most of your social media efforts, and advise on how to tell if your social media posts are working (and how to optimize them even more). He will cover social media guidelines for the team (such as determining who can post on behalf of the library and how to encourage various types of participation) as well as social media timing and scheduling. He will offer clear posting guidelines, like when to repeat posts within one channel or across multiple channels, how to schedule posts, and when to syndicate posts from one channel to another (i.e. Twitter to Facebook).


David Lee King
David Lee King
, Digital Services Director, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (KS), the 2016 Library Journal Library of the Year

SESSION 2: Social Channels in Depth: Twitter, Pinterest & Tumblr

1:45-2:30 PM ET

An overview of Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr with a special focus on the way innovative libraries use the platforms to promote their work.

An award-winning advocate for the romance genre, librarian Robin Bradford built her public reputation through her Twitter feed (@Tuphlos), where she tweets book covers, speaks about fiction from a librarian’s perspective, and helps authors understand how books are acquired. In this session, she’ll share the basics of using Twitter (including benefits and limitations), best practices for using hashtags (a favorite of hers is #collectiondevelopment). She’ll share tips on how to build a following and how that can vary for personal accounts versus institutional accounts (with examples). She’ll also cover customer service on twitter, RA/Reference on twitter, and when to syndicate content from Twitter to other platforms (and vice versa). She will also offer examples of how other libraries have successfully used Pinterest and Tumblr and how to utilize those platforms for inspiration.


Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian, Timberland Regional Library (WA),
2016 Romance Writers of America Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year

WEEK 3: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SESSION 1: A Deep Look at Marketing Creative for Everyone 

1:00 PM-1:45 PM ET

  • How to design effective social content for various platforms
  • Paid and organic marketing
  • The importance of interaction: customer service on social, balancing promotion and dialog
  • Readers Advisory/Reference by Social Media
  • Memes, user-generated content, contests, polls, etc.
  • Digital newsletters, house ads, and other promotional spots


Cordelia Anderson
Cordelia Anderson
, APR Accredited Public Relations & Marketing Executive, Charlotte Mecklenberg Library (NC)

SESSION 2: Social Channels In Depth: Facebook, Facebook Live, Instagram, & SoundCloud

1:45-2:30 PM ET

This session will give an overview of Facebook, Facebook Live, Instagram, and SoundCloud, with a focus on the way innovative libraries use the platforms to promote their work. Librarian and host of Q&APL Live, an episodic Facebook Live show from Austin Public Library, Meg Holle will share how her organization uses social media and taps into patron enthusiasm through the Social Media Ambassador program, a formalized but flexible, fun way for APL super-fans to feel connected and extend the library’s message.


Meg Holle
Meg Holle
, Reference Librarian, Austin Public Library (TX)

WEEK 4: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

SESSION 1: Unexpected Opportunities in the Face of Crisis: The Story of Ferguson Municipal Public Library

1:00-1:45 PM ET

Scott Bonner was in his fifth week as director of Ferguson Municipal Public Library in 2014 when the fatal police shooting of African-American teenager Michael Brown sparked unrest in his community and ignited national outrage. At a time when much of Ferguson, MO, closed, including the public schools, Bonner, along with his library team, kept the library open and turned it into a safe haven. He teamed up with teachers and community agencies to provide a range of services, including an ad hoc school for youth and Healing Kits—backpacks full of material to support emotional healing. Bonner organized a crew of volunteers through Twitter, but his reach extended far beyond Ferguson. His transparent and authentic voice on Twitter turned the library into a national symbol of hope and eventually garnered the library more than $450,000 in donations—more than its annual budget as well as Library Journal’s 2015 Library of the Year award. In this session, he will share his lessons on how to respond on social media when your library or community is confronted with an unexpected crisis.


Scott Bonner
Scott Bonner
, Director, Ferguson Municipal Public Library (MO) @scottybonner

SESSION 2: Social Channels in Depth: Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube

1:45-2:30 PM ET

The Special Collections of the University of Iowa Libraries are known for creating social posts about rare books and unusual artifacts that garner a wide public following and, sometimes, coverage by Buzzfeed and the Atlantic. In this session, outreach and engagement librarian Colleen Theisen will share an overview of how the libraries’ main social channels (currently Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook) work together to serve many goals for special collections. She’ll put a special focus on her team’s use of Instagram and Youtube to create original video content, and she’ll cover how Snapchat, a great new experimental channel for libraries, doesn’t play well with other social channels.


Colleen Theisen
Colleen Theisen, Special Collections Outreach & Engagement Librarian, The University of Iowa; 2015 Library Journal Mover & Shaker; @libralthinking