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:


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.



Promote Your Library With Snapchat Stories

This is probably the best way libraries can start implementing Snapchat for promotional purposes. According to an article published today by Business Insider, Snapchat Stories has increased 100% with over 1 billion stories being viewed a day! Since this app is so widely used by individuals under the age of 25 (traditional college aged students), it’s a great marketing tool for academic libraries and public libraries alike. Listed below is the Snapchat Stories promotional video:

Here’s How Snapchat Stories Works:

  • You take a series of snaps (photo and video)
  • From those snaps you select “Snap to your Story”
  • The photos in your story are then available for viewing by all your Snapchat friends for 24 hours.
  • Snapchat states that because your story plays forward, it makes sense to share moments in the order you experience them.

Snapchat Stories is awesome because it removes the cumbersome task of individually sending the snap to each friend, and it creates a fun narrative for your patrons to view. The ideas for a Snapchat Story are endless, here are a few:

  • A day in the life of a librarian
  • How books make it to the shelf
  • How digital records are searchable (the process of metadata)
  • The research process

I’m going to be playing around with this over the summer. Add umhblibrary on Snapchat if you want to view our story! Also if you have any Snapchat Story ideas please comment below. 🙂

Update 2/5/2015:

Business Insider recently published instructions on how to add music to your Snapchat Stories!

You Might Also Like:

Snapchat for Your Library

How to Create a Snapchat Contest

How to Create a Snapchat Contest



In the beginning of January I started hearing a lot of buzz about the privacy chat app Snapchat. From NPR to Mashable, everyone was discussing this new app. One fortuidious morning, during my daily Feedly perusal, I saw articles by both TechCrunch and Mashable reporting on a study that found that over 77% of college students use Snapchat every day. This started my wheels turning and I decided to launch a Snapchat contest for my library. Listed below are the steps I took to create the contest.

Step 1: Design 

In keeping with the National Library Week theme, “Lives Change at Your Library,” I created a contest that required participants to create  a video, in 10 seconds or less, explaining what book changed their world outlook and why. To enter, contestants had to:

  1. Add our library as a friend
  2. Snap the video
  3. Send us the video snap

Step 2: Promote

I created a Libguide with the contest instructions. I also created a terms and conditions section. I made it clear that we would be saving the videos and sharing them on our social media accounts. Because Snapchat is chat app with a focus on private sharing, it was important to inform students that the videos were going to be used publicly. We promoted the contest by:

  1. Email: I sent both an email to the student body and a separate one to the faculty. Faculty support is huge for the success of our contests.
  2. Social Media: We promoted the contest on our Twitter and Pinterest accounts. Our public services team made an awesome animated GIF that we used on Pinterest.
  3. Flyers: I worked with our public services librarian to have flyers made and distributed across campus and in the library

Step 3: View Submissions

If you’ve ever used Snapchat you know that once you view a snap, it self destructs in a matter of seconds. To avoid this, I used the free iOS app SnapSave (there is also a version for Andriod called Snap’N’Save). Snap Save allows you to view and save all the snaps directly to your device. The way you do this is by opening the snaps in Snap Save and not Snapchat. If you open it in Snapchat the snap will self destruct. Once contestants sent me their snaps I saved them using Snap Save and also sent them a reply snap thanking them for their entry.

Step 4: Post Submissions

I posted all video submissions on my YouTube channel and the Libguide.

Step 5: Judge

I asked faculty and staff members from the marketing, computer science, and education departments to serve as judges. I created a rubric using Google Drive and all submissions were sent electronically. Once the winners were chosen I sent them a snap letting them know they won. Below is one of the snaps I sent. You’re limited on text characters so you’ll have to get artistically creative (please don’t judge my wretched art work!). The first place winner won a $50 Visa gift card, and 2nd and 3rd place winners were awarded a $25 Starbucks gift card.


All in all the contest was fun to create and the students who entered had a lot of fun creating the videos. One of the faculty members offered her students extra credit for entering, which was  a big help for encouraging contest participation. I wish there had been more entries, but plan on doing a similar contest next semester with more promotion.

Has your organization used Snapchat? If so please comment below!

Want to read more? Check out:

23 Mobile Things: Snapchat

Promote Your Library With Snapchat Stories

Snapchat for Your Library

Snapchat For Your Library


Snapchat_logo Snapchat has been getting a lot of buzz as of late (Facebook offered to purchase it for $3 billion, but was turned down). It is currently valued at about $4 billion, and I think it will be the social media application of 2014 (here’s an interesting story of why teens use Snapchat by npr).

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo chat application developed by Stanford University student Evan Spiegel. What makes it different from Google chat, FB messaging, etc is the fact that the “snaps” (photos/videos/text) that you send are only viewable between 1-10 seconds, and then deleted permanently. It is known as the “next wave of private social sharing” (USA Today).

Who Uses Snapchat?

All Things D’s Liz Gannes reports that Snapchat is used by kids between the ages of “13-25 years old, with a growing contingent that’s aged 40 and over.” Business are also jumping on the Snapchat train. Mashable’s recent article 8 Brands Rocking Snapchat lists some awesome ways that brands are using this service.

How Can Libraries Use Snapchat?

Taking direction from the brands listed in Mashable’s article here are a few ideas I have:

1) 16 Handles Example: Ask your patrons to snap a pic of themselves with a roving library item/mascot. When I was attending TSMRI’s social media conference I attended the session 32 Flavors and Then Some: Creative Ways to Grow Your Social Presence. The presenters had the awesome idea of “steal this pen.” Students would take a specific university pen and take a pic with it wherever they were globally. They used Twitter for the sharing, but Snapchat is a great way to do this as well. As a library you could have students send a pic with a specific book, pen, mascot, etc. then in return they could be sent a 10 sec self destructing coupon code that they could bring into the library for a print of their photo.

2) Karmaloop Example: Karmaloop sends snaps of it’s brands new releases, office pictures, etc. You could do the same with the library. You could snap a “behind the scenes” video of the process of repairing a damaged book, a pic of new book arrivals, etc.

3) Taco Bell Example: Taco Bell used Snapchat’s Stories feature. This feature allows you to tell a story in a series of photos. You could do this in your library in several different ways: story of how a book is made, abridged version of a classic novel, etc. This might be one of the most useful ways for libraries to use Snapchat. These are just a few of my ideas. If your library is using Snapchat please comment below and tell us how your using it!


Here is another idea that I just discovered: The Snapchat Pitch. In this contest students have 10 seconds or less to pitch their idea to the ad agency DDB Oslo. If their idea is selected they will be flown out to DDB Oslo for an interview.

You could have students describe their favorite book or library improvement idea in 10 seconds or less.

**2nd Update:

This guy performed the most awesome song covers using Snapchat! You could do a contest having students create a video with visuals in Snapchat…Maybe reenacting plots from their favorite book or Shakespeare play?

**3rd Update

I just posted a new post: How to Create a Snapchat Contest. It describes the contest I created this last semester.

**4th Update

Madonna just announced that she will be releasing her new music video on Snapchat tomorrow. It seems like this platform is definitely becoming more of a mainstream marketing tool!