One of the (many) things I love about the library community is how active it is on social media. I use Twitter both personally and professionally and have discovered a wealth of information through library-related hashtags.
Hashtags were developed by Twitter as a means to build community. In technical speak, hashtags are a form of a metadata tag. When you put a "#" in front of a word, it gets tagged and is searchable on the platform in which it is used. Hashtags were started by Twitter, but are now supported by Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.
Whether you operate your library's official Twitter account or are looking to connect with and learn from with other librarians via your personal account, there's a library hashtag out there for you.
Do you work when others have the day off? Kvetch, support, and laugh with the #saturdaylibrarian crew. Or perhaps it's any day of the week and you want to relay the joy of signing up a kid for his or her first library card. You might use the #librarylife hashtag! But if you get one more question about the copy machine, you can gripe to the #librarianproblems tweeters.
Want to rally your followers to support libraries? Advocacy hashtags are a good way to get non-library people involved in spreading the good word for libraries. #LoveMyLibrary is pretty accessible for those not familiar with library acronyms. The #NLW15 (National Library Week) hashtag is another good one to keep up with if you're looking for advocacy ideas for your own library.
Hashtags don't need to be strictly for conversations. The #Bookface hashtag is used on both Instagram and Twitter for fun photos that blend book covers with people's faces. Most of the #bookface photos seem to happen on Fridays, but I've seen them on other days as well.
Another fun, end-of-week hashtag to follow is #Fridayreads. This isn't strictly a librarian hashtag, but involves readers who can't wait for the week to end so they can delve into a good book.
What did your library look like, say, 20 years ago? Join in on the Throwback Thursday fun and tweet a photo of it with the #tbt hashtag. This is also a great way to showcase your library's image archives or special collections.
Have you ever participated in a Twitter chat? Essentially, a Twitter chat is a pre-arranged chat that happens through a designated hashtag. There are quite a few weekly library-related Twitter chats out there, but here's a sampling:
- #inaljchat is a weekly chat (Mondays at 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time) from I Need a Library Job that crowdsources tips and articles related to library job hunting.
- #alscchat is moderated by the Association for Library Service to Children on all things children librarianship! It happens the second Thursday of every month at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
- #edchat is a great way to connect with the larger world of education — from librarians to teachers to parent volunteers.
Conference hashtags are another way to learn — whether you're attending the event or not. Some conference hashtags are busier than others (hello, ALA), but watching the online discussions might cure some people of the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) if you can't go.
#ts4libs is the TechSoup for Libraries hashtag for our monthly webinars! If you can't listen to our webinar live (say, if you're on desk duty), following our hashtag is an easy way to see what's happening and what people are talking about.
Make Your Own Library Hashtag
Your library is so awesome that it deserves its own hashtag! You can encourage your patrons, other staff, and city government officials to use your library's hashtag in their own social media use. This is a great way to track who's talking about your library and chime in. Or, perhaps, you'd really like to start a conversation about a specific library topic like #weirdbooksfoundwhileweeding or #adventuresinstorytime.
Over on the TechSoup blog, I wrote up some hashtag best practices. Ideally, you want to make sure your hashtag is easy to remember, simple to spell, and not super long. Go forth and hashtag!