Snapchat Explained: A 30 Minute Microlearning Event


I just wanted to announce another Snapchat workshop that I’ll be teaching in September for ALA’s eLearning series. This will consist of a 30 min online webinar where I’ll show you the basics of Snapchat: how it works, how to set it up, and how your library can use it. This is perfect for those who are not very familiar with Snapchat. I hope to see you all there! You can sign up at:


6 Libraries to Follow on Snapchat for Some Snapspiration

In 2015 I wrote the post 5 Universities Killing it on Snapchat since then, I have seen a of bevy brands harnessing the app in really creative ways. Coming from a library background, I naturally follow several libraries on Snapchat (see Libraries on Snapchat: A Directory for a comprehensive list) and I have been really impressed with a way a few librarians are promoting their collections, showcasing events, and engaging patrons with the use of emoji, GIFs, lenses, and filters. So today I thought I’d share a list of my favorite libraries on Snapchat to give you some “snapspiration” in your marketing endeavors:

Cape May County Library

Username: CMCLibrary

Standout Features: Not afraid to take a risk, CMClibrary is dipping their toes into Snapchat takeovers, allowing patrons to takeover the account for a day. They also are great about posting consistently and now appear on Snapchat Discover (which is an impressive feat in and of its on, as inclusion in Discover requires your public story to “reach a certain viewership threshold” (Wagner, 2017)).

The Webb Middle School

Username: libfeet

Standout Features: Hannah Byrd Little was an early Snapchat adopter is amazing when it comes to using lenses. I like this example with the Shakespeare bust because it shows her creativity and the fact that lenses aren’t just for people or even books with faces!

University of Limerick Library

Username: libraryul

Standout Features: This librarian has mastered the art of Bitmoji, GIFs, and all around engaging snaps. I also love how she keeps with the spirit of Snapchat and prioritizes communication components in her snaps.


Jacksonville Public Library Teen Advisory Board

Username: jpl_tab

Standout Features: JPL is fantastic at incorporating calls to action (CTAs) and using links in their snaps. Snapchat now offers users the ability to add URLs to their snaps, allowing users to “swipe up” to read more, or in this case, put a hold on a library book.


Commerce Library

Username: librarycommerce

Standout Features: This library is awesome at incorporating contests that organically fit into patrons’ day to day lives. They utilize free books, gift cards, and other tactics to get users physically into the library. They also make it personal with fun Bitmoji and pictures of librarians.


Cheshire Library

Username: cheshirelibrary

Standout Features: The librarian at Cheshire library is a master at capitalizing on “tentpole holidays” (national events that recur every year like Black History Month, National Limerick Day, #MayThe4thBeWithYou, etc). They are also great at promoting their library collection with features like “Book of the Day.”

I hope you find this list useful! I also recommend following @epircreads for somebookish inspiration. They are really effective at providing book synopses using images and text. If there’s any library you think should be added to the list please let me know in the comments!


New Session: Using Snapchat to Reach Library Patrons Workshop


I just wanted to send you all a quick note to let you know I’ll be teaching a Snapchat workshop for the ALA’s eLearning series. “Using Snapchat to Reach Library Patrons” will consist of two 90-minute sessions that will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2018 and Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 2:30pm Eastern. If you have any questions or want me to discuss anything specific please leave a message in the comments. I’m really looking forward to it and hope you all can attend!


Upcoming Workshop: Using Snapchat to Reach Library Patrons


I just wanted to send you all a quick note to let you know I’ll be teaching a Snapchat workshop for the ALA’s eLearning series. “Using Snapchat to Reach Library Patrons” will consist of two 90-minute sessions that will take place on August 24th and 31st at 1:30 Central. If you have any questions or want me to discuss anything specific please leave a message in the comments. I’m really looking forward to it and hope you all can attend!


Snapchat in the Library: Librarians Master an App to Reach Millennials- ALA Extended Article Version




I am very excited to announce my newest article that was published in ALA’s magazine: Snapchat in the Library Librarians: Master an App to Reach Millennials! For this article I had the opportunity to interview a variety of amazing librarians who are leveraging this app to reach their patrons. Librarians from K-12, public libraries, and academic libraries are all using Snapchat to communicate with their populations and are implementing really creative ways to do so. Due to the column space I was allotted I had to cut the last section out: Snapchat How Tos. I thought some of you might me interested in learning how to optimally create a Snapchat account in case you’re considering it for your library. So without further ado, here’s the full article (keep in mind it’s an earlier draft so it differs slightly than the one in ALA Trends). Enjoy!

Libraries Jumping On Board With Snapchat

A lot has changed in the five years since Snapchat arrived on the social media scene. It’s no longer the fledgling “disappearing message app” used solely by teens. Instead, it’s now the poster child for message focused social media applications that are growing in popularity among young users. It’s a platform that focuses on interaction, and capitalizes on the playful side of social media, providing a way for users to send “ephemera” back and forth between friends (Chafkin & Frier, 2016).

“Snapchat isn’t a place to showcase one’s popularity, it’s a place for interaction. It doesn’t require a public identity and you can’t see how many followers someone has, you can only follow and interact with people you care about” says Alanna Graves, Snapchat guru and Teen Services Librarian at Cape May County Library. Sarah Meisch-Lacombe, who handles Loyola Chicago Libraries’ Snapchat adds “I wanted to start a Snapchat account because I thought it would be a better way for students to interact with our physical space.”

The ability to interact with one another, utilize filters, toss in an emoji, and showcase one’s lighthearted side (without having to worry too much about one’s digital footprint or online popularity) are some of the many reasons millennials have flocked to this platform. This mass migration of millennials to Snapchat has prompted librarians across the globe to take notice. Over the past year library Snapchat accounts have started to pop up, and the librarians behind these accounts are finding incredibly innovative ways to use it to reach library patrons.

What’s the number one reason why librarians are choosing to join the Snapchat Revolution? It’s where the kids are. Hannah Byrd Little, middle school library director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle, shared “I struggled with communication because kids don’t read email anymore and they’ve moved away from Facebook and Twitter. That’s why I decided to create a Snapchat account.” Librarians are using Snapchat across the spectrum of education, even in elementary school. Leon Springs Elementary School librarian, Jennifer Eckert, finds Snapchat to be “most popular with kids in fourth and fifth grade.” Academic librarians, public librarians, and school librarians alike are finding ways to get creative with Snapchat and communicate with their patrons. Here are just some of the ways librarians are discovering how to use this growing platform:

Readers’ Advisory

Alanna Graves, started using Snapchat for the library’s #TeenBookTuesday back in November 2015. “Since introducing #TeenBookTuesday we have seen our featured books get checked out within a week after our snaps. It’s also a great way to interact with patrons. My desk is a little hard to find because it’s in the back, and since we introduced Snapchat, patrons now make a beeline for my desk because they remember my face” Alanna shares. Alanna has also found Snapchat to be an efficient tool for highlighting lesser known books with edgier topics. She stated that the anonymity of Snapchat allows patrons to check out books with subjects they might not feel comfortable asking her about in person.

Zinnia Bayardo, librarian at Bernal Middle School, also uses Snapchat for Readers’ Advisory. “We have a ‘Teen Tuesday’ and ‘What Are You Reading Wednesday’ every week where I’ll promote new books. These have been pretty successful, over the summer (when I was lagging a bit on my posts) I had students asking me when I was going to start posting for Teen Book Tuesday again. I also had one student tell me that she read one of my book recommendations that I shared on Snapchat. Our ‘What Are You Reading Wednesdays’ have become particularly popular because students really like seeing themselves” Zinnia shares.

Event/Program Promotion & News

Snapchat is a great tool for event and program promotions many librarians have found. Alanna Graves Snapchats during events at the multiple Cape May County library branches. She recommends snapping objects rather than patrons if your library has privacy restrictions. Sarah shares that she uses Snapchat to promote upcoming events like the library’s book sale and Hannah states that she likes to snap videos during school assemblies. Librarians also like to use Snapchat during the school year to disseminate relevant news to patrons. “Social media is where students are getting their news so it’s important that I share information out on those channels. Every morning I take a snap of the school schedule because it can be confusing to students. I also promote national and fun/interesting holidays on Snapchat,” Hannah expresses.

Behind the Scenes

Showcasing a behind-the-scenes look at the library is a popular way to engage the library community. This includes an inside look at spaces and objects in the library as well as a peek at what library staff and faculty are up to. Stacy Taylor, user experience librarian at Central Washington University, states “we do 10 second ‘elevator speeches’ with our library faculty.” Nancy Jo Lambert, librarian at Reedy High School Library, states “Students really like when we feature our teachers on Snapchat using filters, that’s the type of content that gets the most screenshots.” Sarah gives college students a peek at what academic library staff like to do after hours by taking videos of Loyola’s “Library Olympics” event. “Library Olympics is a staff event that we have every year. I like to take video of some of the events we do like ‘book on the head racing’ to give personality to our snaps, it’s better just posting static content.” Sarah also takes a “throwback Thursday” approach and highlights some old interesting books and magazine such as Vogue issues from bygone years.


To test the waters before they commit to an official Snapchat account, Nashville (Tenn.) Public Librarians Nicholas Tognoni and Josephine Wood created a Geofilter contest last summer. “We’re encouraging patrons to use iconic aspects of the library building and other local Geofilters as their design inspirations.” To ensure that their patrons were prepared for Geofilter creation, they held design workshops. “We took our traditional graphic design workshop that we hold every Monday and changed the focus to Geofilter design using Adobe Illustrator,” Tognoni said. “Using Illustrator and other professional software is a great way to teach teens skills that will later translate into jobs, and Geofilters work as natural marketing for the library.”

Teen Takeovers

An emerging trend that librarians are interested in are Teen Takeovers or Snapchat Ambassadorships. “This fall I want to start doing a Takeover Tuesday with our student workers” Stacy states. Niq and Josephine add “if we do start an account we’d like to allow teens to be content creators, maybe have them film a 3D printing session. Social media ambassadors are a great way to get community people to amplify your library’s message. We think it’s definitely a platform worth experimenting with.”

Snapchat How-Tos

Ready to start your own Snapchat account? The majority of the librarians I spoke to were Snapchat users before they decided to start one for their library. If you’re not a Snapchat native spend some time to learn how to use the platform. Stacy Taylor recommends really getting to know the platform before using it publically. Alanna (username: CMCLibrary) has offered that any librarians who want to test the platform out can add her to practice on. If you’re ready to jump in here are some recommendations from seasoned Snapchat librarians:

Administrative Buy-In: Most of the librarians launching a successful snapchat account cited having support from their directors, even if they didn’t completely understand Snapchat. Having a solid foundation of trust with their directors gave them to flexibility to implement and experiment with Snapchat. “I am entrusted with all our social media platforms so I didn’t really receive any push back from administration when I wanted to start a Snapchat account” states Stacy Taylor.

Account Promotion: Word-of-mouth was by far the most effective method for getting the word out about library Snapchat accounts. Signs/flyers, other social media platforms, and blog posts with the library’s username and/or snapcode were also popular ways of promotion. Niq and Josephine shared that they used social media promotion to target teen parents and word of mouth to target teens. On the K-12 level Hannah and Jennifer found assembly announcements to be effective. For high school students Nancy Jo conveys the need for a more secretive approach. “I have found the more ‘underground’ about promotion I am, the more interested students are. Students see me taking videos and photos around the library and ask what I’m doing. I very nonchalantly tell them ‘oh yeah, I’m just using snapchat.’ That really gets them intrigued.” No matter how librarians are promoting their accounts they all express the need to let patrons know that the library will not follow them back. Zinnia shares “In the beginning students were hesitant to follow us because they were worried I’d see their snaps. Once I told them I wouldn’t follow them back they were more willing to follow our account. Not following students back is my policy across all our social media accounts.”

Analytics: Currently Snapchat is a little skimpy when it comes to analytics. Alanna recommends counting screenshots, “I always take a still 10 second video of the book at the end of my video series, then I can see who takes screenshots of the book, I think this is a better metric than just relying on views.” Stacy states that she likes to utilize views across the entire Snapchat Story. “I like to see how many views our first picture gets vs our last picture; usually there’s a drop-off after the second or third which indicates that we might be posting too much about one thing.”

Overall librarians have found Snapchat to be a great tool for connecting with patrons where they’re at and sharing the story of what’s happening in their library. Sarah recommends that libraries “just go for it and experiment, don’t overthink or plan it out too much.” Zinnia shares that “there’s a trend of meeting students where they’re at, whether it’s regarding messaging, instruction, etc. and it’s important that we make it easy for students to get and learn information.”


“How Snapchat Built a Business By Confusing Olds.” Accessed September 7, 2016.


*Quotations in this article have been modified for article flow and clarity

Libraries on Snapchat: A Directory


A lot of you have reached out asking for a list of libraries on Snapchat. Due to the fact that you can’t search Snapchat the way you can other social media platforms, this task is a little tough. What I thought I’d do is create a crowdsourced directory. I have started a list of libraries I have found; what I need you to do is to provide the library & username in the comments of any libraries that you know of on Snapchat. I will then add those entries to the list and voila; we have our very own comprehensive Snapchat directory! I look forward to your entries!

Academic Libraries

California State University Northridge’s Oviatt Library: OviatteLibrary

Central Washington University Brooks Library: cwulibrary

Columbia College Chicago Library: ccclibrary

Edge Hill University Library: EHULibrary

Fayetteville State University’s Chesnutt Library: UNCFSU

Loyola University Chicago: luclibraries

Maynooth University (Ireland): mu_library

Muskingum County Library: muskingumlib

New York Institute of Technology: nyitlibrary

North Carolina State University Libraries: ncsulibraries

Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s University Library: bmhoya

Raritan Valley Community College Library: rvcclibrary

Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library: rooseveltuni

St. Francis College Library: sfclibrary

University of Alaska Fairbanks Library: uaflibrary

University of Limerick (Glucksman Library, Ireland): libraryul

University of Maryland Libraries: UMDLibraries

University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Library: UND_CFLibrary

University of West Florida Library: wuwflibraries

University of Wisconsin Marathon County: uwmclibrary

University of Wisconsin-Madison, The School of Library and Information Studies: slis_UWmadison

Public Libraries

Anne Arundel County Public Library: aacpl

Abbeville County Library System: abvlibrary

Bartlett Public Library: bpldsnaps

Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library: berkathenaeum

Betts Branch Library: BettsTeens

Bucyrus Public Library: bucyruslibrary

Cape May County: CMCLibrary

Carroll County Public Library: libraryccpl

Commerce Library: librarycommerce

Cincinnati Library: cincylibrary

City of Santa Ana’s Public Library: SantaAnaPRCSA

Cleveland Public Library: cleveland_pl

Community Library Network at Hayden: snaprecommends

CWU Brooks Library: cwulibrary

Darien Library: @darien.library

Edmonton Public Library: epldotca

Frisco Library: friscolibrary

Ferndale Area District Library: FerndaleLibrary

Glasgow Women’s Library: womenslibrary (UK)

Glen Rock Public Library: glenrocklibrary

Hastings Public Library in Nebraska: hplteen

Hooksett Public Library: hooksettlibrary

Lane Memorial Library: lanelibrary

Long Beach Public Library: lblibrary

New Milford Public Library: teensofnmpl

Pickering Public Library: teensppl

Pima County Public Library’s Teen 101 Space: pimalibrar

Piscataway Public Library: piscatawaylib

Ramara Township Public Library: ramarpl

Raritan Valley Community College: rvccLibrary

Rice Lake Public Library: therlpl

Saint Paul Public Library: stpaullibrar

San Diego County Library: sdlibrary

Sterling Municipal Library in Texas: baytownlibrary

Toronto Public Library: torontolibrary

Three Rivers Library: threeriverslib

William Jeanes Memorial Library: WJTeens

K-12 Libraries

Bernal Library: bernallibrary

Bullard High School: bullardlibrary

Carl Junction High School: cjhs_reads

Dartmouth Middle School: dmslibrary366

Dartmouth High School: dhs_lmc

Fremont Middle School: FMS_Library

Hershey Middle School Library: hersheymslib

Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate/Junior High: hijhpantherlib

Hume-Fogg Academic Library: hfalibrary

Irondale Community School: icslibrary

Leon Springs Elementary School: lselibrary

Ohio School for the Deaf: osd_library

Radnor High School Library: RadnorHSLibrary

Reedy High School Library: ReedyLibrary

Winkley Elementary Library: winkleylibrary

Special Libraries


5 Universities Killing It On Snapchat

Snapchat_LogoI am becoming convinced that Snapchat should become a library social media staple. Being a “cusper” (on the tail end of the millennial generation) I might not be as in-tune with what’s fresh in social as my younger counterparts, but the numbers don’t lie. Smith, from DMR, reports that Snapchat not only touts 100 million daily active users, but a demographic that comprises of 77% college students. In addition, Smith states that 71% are 34 years old or younger and 45% are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. Since so many users are the age of traditional college students, I think this makes Snapchat worth the time/money investment for libraries.

Among the throng of brands proliferating Snapchat, I have not noticed a large number of academic libraries using the platform. Moreover I was also unable to find a substantive quantity of higher education institutions in general using Snapchat. However, I did come across a few gems in the postsecondary realm that really understood how to leverage this social tool. Listed below are the aforementioned institutions. I suggest that libraries follow them and monitor how they engage students online for inspiration, before delving into their own snapping endeavors. With features like Snapchat Stories, Live, and Discover, Snapchat is becoming more conducive for student engagement.

Before I list the exemplar universities, I wanted to share two content themes that arose during my Snapchat perusal, Campus Life and Media Reuse/Sharing. Campus Life involves promoting events on campus, taking users on “video tours” of departments or popular restaurants, and generally just communicating what it’s like to go to that university. Media Reuse/Sharing consists of universities sharing student photos/videos on Snapchat or other social media venues such as Facebook or Twitter. Users on social media generally love it when an institution will share their content and it allows the university to use it as organic promotional content. Ok…without further ado, here’s my list!

1) University of Michigan

Username: UofMichigan– I would have to say that this account is probably my favorite. UMich has one of the oldest university Snapchat accounts and the social team really knows how to leverage all types of media. In their Snapchat Stories they incorporate video, music, funny online clips, doodles, hashtags, and pictures. It’s clear that they know who their target audience is, and they are great at embedding themselves into the everyday activities of undergrads. Their current story on the freshman move in checklist and #selfie contest are prime examples of this.

2) MIT

Username: mitstudents – Most of the content I have seen from MIT centers on the “around campus” vibe. What makes their account fun to follow is the fact that they don’t display easy to access campus information, but rather provide you with a behind the scenes peek of what goes on at MIT. It serves as a sort of unofficial campus guide.

3) Colorado State University

Username: ColoradoStateU – Over the summer CSU initiated a #stateofsummer hashtag Snapchat contest. They encouraged students to share their summer pictures on social media for a chance to win a prize. This is a great example of utilizing user generated content to promote the university. Below is one contestant’s post that was shared on Twitter. You can see how students’ activities in the state where CSU is located, serve as a way to engage CSU’s current audience as well as advertise to prospective students.

4) Princeton University

Username: princeton_u – Princeton has caught on to their students’ social sharing tendencies. They not only share snaps on Snapchat but have a designated Facebook photo album entitled Snapchat Saturday. The album’s description reads “Featuring the week’s most fun and creative snaps to Princeton_U!” and promotes user content that exudes school pride.

5) Duke University

Username: @dukestudents – I attended Hootsuite’s webinar, Social Media in Education: Tips from 3 Pros, and got to hear some of the awesome social media efforts that are going on at Duke University. One platform they have found to be highly successful is Snapchat. They use it for outreach and to showcase student life at Duke. The snaps they post are funny and engaging and they have made great use of Snapchat Stories. If you have time I highly recommend you listen to the webinar.

Honorable Mentions

University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Username: unlincoln – Most of the content I’ve seen from UNL comprises of campus activities. Free events such as #Gradfest and Service Learning Fair are communicated from their account. It is a useful resource for students looking for interesting activities, but not highly engaging which is why they didn’t make the cut.

ucsf-snapchatUniversity of California San Francisco

Username: USFCA

Other Universities with Sanpchat Accounts

There are more and more universities joining Snapchat on a regular basis. Listed below are some that I have found interesting.

Chico State University – Username: chico.state

Coastal Carolina University – Username: CCUChanticleers

Eastern Kentucky University – Username: ekustories

Eastern Washington University – Username: ewuathletics

Illinois State University – Username: illinoisstate

Kent State University – Username: KentStateU

Liberty University – Username: sparkyflames

Mount Aloysius College- Username: MountAloysius

Northern Michigan University – Username: NorthernMichU

Northwestern University – NorthwesternADM

Shepherd University- SUstudents

University of Houston – Username: uhouston

University of Kansas -Username: jayhawks

University of New Hampshire -Username: UNHStudents

University of Minnesota: Morris- SCummorris

University of Washington – Username: uwstudentlife

Valparaiso University- valparaisou

West Virginia University – Username: westvirginiau

Wichita State- Username: goshockers

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania- Username: whartonschool

Let me know if you have any you want me to add to the list! I think that these trailblazers are perfect for some inspiration as you attempt your own Snapchat engagement.