Most Social Media Friendly State Libraries for 2013

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Do libraries need social media?

According to the American Library Association’s 2013 State of America’s Libraries Report, the answer is a resounding yes. Libraries have made many changes over the years as technology has evolved, and they continue to embrace new technologies that improve their ability to provide resources to the community, including social media.

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Librarians and staff members often have limited time and resources, so they must choose the social media platforms that will best serve the needs of their staff, patrons, and the community. Large platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are popular because they allow staff to get the word out about upcoming events quickly while reaching a wide audience. A newer platform that is gaining popularity is Pinterest. This photo-sharing site allows users to create multiple boards for different types of content, so many libraries have separate boards for new books, library events, films, and even book-themed art.

To determine which state libraries are doing the best job of managing their social media presence, we gathered usage stats for each of the 50 libraries on the top social media platforms. Points were assigned based on the amount of activity and number of followers and weighted to put more emphasis on the platforms that were used by the most libraries. The maximum possible score was 100, with 28 points possible for Facebook, 22 for Twitter, 21 for Flickr, 20 for YouTube, 5 for LinkedIn, 3 for Pinterest, and 1 for Google Plus.

If your library placed well on our list of social media friendly state libraries, feel free to let the world know by sharing the above badge on your website and social media accounts.

Here are all 50 state libraries, ranked from highest to lowest for social media friendliness:

#1) Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia partnered with Backstage Library Works to digitize their entire collection of legislative petitions to the Virginia General Assembly for the years 1776 to 1865. Now, work is being done to make the images available through Digitool.

#2) South Carolina State Library

The South Carolina State Library recently published a list of the most notable South Carolina government documents for 2012. They include Diagnosing Turfgrass Problems: A Practical Guide and the South Carolina Senior Citizens’ Handbook.

#3) Texas State Library and Archives Commission

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission used a tool called Mosaickr to create a mosaic of the Lone Star Flag from photos in their Flickr account and posted the result on their Facebook page.

#4) Connecticut State Library

The Connecticut State Library’s Flickr stream contains all sorts of treasures for history buffs, from old magazine ads from the 1950s to a collection of fine art paintings created under the WPA art project.

#5) Maine State Library

A recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 94% of parents think libraries are important. If you want to read the whole 92-page report, you can find the link on the Maine State Library’s Facebook page.

#6) Nebraska Library Commission

The Nebraska Library Commission has experimented with a lot of social media and web 2.0 services. Check out the social media page on their website to see what they’ve done with Delicious, Library Thing, Slide Share, and more.

#7) New Jersey State Library

The New Jersey State Library made good use of their Twitter account during their 2013 E-Summit. Updates were posted throughout the day using a special hashtag and made into a Storify roundup after the event had ended.

#8) Georgia Public Library Service

The Georgia Public Library Service recently shared an article containing pictures of the most playful libraries in the world on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. These libraries have features you might not expect to find in a library, such as slides and crooked bookshelves.

#9) Washington State Library

Can you imagine getting paid to kill flies? Believe it or not, there used to be a bounty on them. The Washington State Library published a blog post about it. You can find the link on their Facebook page.

#10) Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library has eReader kits that can be checked out by any Indiana library. There are 10 kits available, and each one includes an iPad, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Sony Reader, HansPad, Ematic, and Kyros 7.

#11) Delaware Division of Libraries

The Delaware Division of Libraries has some interesting Pinterest boards. My favorite is Book Sculpture, but also be sure to check out Maker Spaces & Activities, Cooking in the Library, and Posters about Reading.

#11B) Wyoming State Library

The Wyoming State Library provides plenty of training to enrich the lives of its patrons. Upcoming sessions include “The Truth About Social Learning,” “Worlds of Imagination: What’s New in SF/Fantasy,” and “How Senior Friendly Is Your Website?”

#12) California State Library

The Gold Rush board on the California State Library’s Pinterest account features photos of Sutter’s Mill, the California Gold Rush postage stamp, an 1848 Quarter Eagle coin struck from California gold, and many more bits of history related to the California Gold Rush.

#13) Mississippi Library Commission

The Mississippi Library Commission’s Abilify board features pictures of things that make it easier for people with physical, visual, or organic reading disabilities to read. Examples include Dr. Moon’s embossed alphabet for the blind and the OpenDyslexic font.

#14) Missouri State Library

Take a look at Jefferson City then and now on the Missouri State Library’s Facebook page. See photos of old photos being held up in front of the actual location where they were taken, so you can see how times have changed.

#15) Arkansas State Library

The Arkansas State Library shared a link to the Gold Star Dads of America website on their Facebook page. Gold Star Dads are the fathers of veterans who have been killed in the line of duty.

#16) Utah State Library

Utah State Library’s Facebook page provides the link to the story of a Salt Lake City Librarian battling Tourette syndrome. Josh Hanagarne calls himself “The World’s Strongest Librarian”—and has a book by the same name.

#17) State Library of North Carolina

This month, the State Library of North Carolina is highlighting agricultural resources. North Carolina is a top producer of flue-cured tobacco, sweet potatoes, Christmas trees, trout, turkeys, and pigs.

#18) State Library of Massachusetts

The Flickr account for the State Library of Massachusetts contains 82 sets of historical photos and documents. Some of the sets you’ll find are Firsts for Women in the Massachusetts Legislature, 1911 Atlas of Worcester, and Damage from the Hurricane of 1936.

#19) Colorado State Library

The Colorado State Library recently held a video contest to promote reading to teens. Teenagers were encouraged to create and submit public service announcements using the theme “Beneath the Surface.”

#20) West Virginia Library Commission

The West Virginia Library Commission is promoting the West Virginia Writer’s Toolkit through their social media accounts. The free event will be held at the West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, WV on May 11.

#21) State Library of Kansas

Simon & Schuster, one of the few large publishers that has not been selling its ebooks to libraries, has announced a pilot program to make its full line of ebooks available to three New York libraries.

#22) State Library of Ohio

The State Library of Ohio is offering free webinars for librarians that are open to anyone who works in an Ohio library. Upcoming sessions include “LibraryYOU: Library as Content Creator” on May 7, “Broadband Adoption Toolkit” on May 22, and “Arm Up Your Technology Training” on June 4.

#23) Alabama Department of Archives and History

The YouTube account for the Alabama Department of Archives and History contains several 45-minute to one-hour long videos showcasing historical times in Alabama. The latest example is “Virginia Durr and Lillian Hellman, Two Uncompromising Women and Their Alabama Families.”

#24) Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

There are plenty of fun kids’ activities on the KDLA Children’s and Youth Services Pinterest account. The boards are divided by category, including Alphabet, Apple, Art Theme, Baby/Toddler Crafts/Activities, Birds, Counting, Fall, Fish, and a whole lot more.

#25) New Hampshire State Library

The New Hampshire State Library’s Flickr account contains two sets. The first set includes pictures of features such as the skylight in the old courtroom and the fireplace in the main lobby. The other contains pictures of recent restoration work.

#26) State Library of Florida

The State Library of Florida shares links to posts on FloridaMemory.com, a site run by the Division of Library & Information Services, on its Facebook page. This site contains digital versions of photo, audio, and video exhibits, such as a photo exhibit of the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901.

#27) South Dakota State Library

Do you want to be a librarian? You may want to read the article the South Dakota State Library recently shared about 73-year-old librarian, Betty Baloun, who works at the Redfield Carnegie Library. The article tells a little bit about what librarians do, the sort of training that’s required, and how Betty got her job without a library science degree.

#28) Oregon State Library

The Oregon State Library keeps patrons up-to-date with local Oregon news through its daily eClips posts, which it promotes through its Twitter feed. Most of the stories included are legislative updates.

#29) Hawaii State Public Library System

Subscribe to the Hawaii State Public Library System’s Twitter feed for announcements about upcoming events at the library. Recent events included a free comic book day and a free mini-concert by the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association.

#31) Montana State Library

The Montana State Library is running a display contest through their Facebook page. Staff members at Montana libraries can enter by creating a “Discover It!” display and uploading a photo of the display from the contest page. The library with the most votes for their display at the end of the contest will receive a prize package that includes an iPad 2.

#32) North Dakota State Library

An article shared recently on the North Dakota State Library’s Twitter account talks about the guidelines Facebook, Twitter, and Google use to determine whether content posted on their services crosses the line between free speech and hate speech or other types of inappropriate content.

#33) Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services

In addition to Facebook and Flickr, the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services has a Delicious account, where it bookmarks articles related to books, authors, publishing, and other topic related to library services.

#34) Alaska State Library

The Alaska State Library is helping promote digital literacy through the “Everyone On” program, which encourages everyone to try to learn how to do one thing better online to increase their ability to use technology to create, find, and distribute information.

#35) New Mexico State Library

Where is the biggest library on earth? On an Internet server! The New Mexico State Library recently shared a Wired article about Brewster Kahle, the guy who created the Wayback Machine, which houses copies of the Internet from days gone by.

#36) Tennessee State Library and Archives

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has an exhibit titled “The Saloon and Anarchy: Prohibition in Tennessee.” The exhibit is open Tuesday through Saturday each week through the end of September, or you can view it online.

#37) State Library of Iowa

Check out the newest books at the State Library of Iowa. They include Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, and War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism.

#38) Maryland State Archives

The Flickr account for the Maryland State Archives features a set of old photographs of the Maryland State House and a set of stereo views of Baltimore. Most of the stereo views were produced by American painter, W.M. Chase.

#39) State Library of Louisiana

According to a bulletin posted on the State Library of Louisiana’s Facebook page, the state of Louisiana’s tourism industry exceeded pre-Katrina benchmarks in 2012 for the first time since the hurricane devastated the area.

#40) Idaho Commission for Libraries

A video that the Idaho Commission for Libraries posted on their YouTube account features photographs taken at 30 libraries in Idaho for Idaho Library Snapshot Day 2013. The video showcases some of the photos, accompanied by some funky music.

#41) Library of Michigan

Carol Fink, curator of the rare book collection at the Library of Michigan, was recently interviewed on a WGVU program. A recording of the interview is linked to from the Library of Michigan Facebook page.

#42) New York State Library

In honor of the library’s 195th birthday, the New York State Library published a brief history that includes a timeline, a list of state librarians from 1818 to present, and a link to an article that originally ran in Capital Neighbors, which provides more information on the library’s history.

#43) Nevada State Library and Archives

Follow the Twitter stream for the Nevada State Library and Archives to stay informed about webinars and other events offered by the library.

#44) Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records has two sets of photos on its Flickr account. There are 24 photos from a training program held in February 2012 and 29 photos from the 2012 Arizona Library Snapshot Day.

#45) Oklahoma Department of Libraries

It looks like the Oklahoma Department of Libraries started experimenting with social media but didn’t get far. They have a LinkedIn account with 32 followers and a Pinterest account with just one board and one pin.

#46) Capitol Area Library Consortium (CALCO)

The Capitol Area Library Consortium (CALCO) is a group of government libraries in Minnesota that serve both the public and government employees. CALCO has a LinkedIn group with 22 members.

State Libraries with No Social Media Presence

Not every state library has made use of social media. There were four states we couldn’t find Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts for. The four state libraries with no social media presence are:

Illinois State Library
State Library of Pennsylvania
Vermont Department of Libraries
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Division for Libraries and Technology

If your state library didn’t do well, never fear: It’s not too late to establish a strong social media presence. To keep from getting overwhelmed, try building a following on one platform at a time, starting with Facebook or Twitter.

Note: If you notice any mistakes in the above data, please let us know.

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About Beth

Beth Parker

Beth Parker, a staff writer at LibraryScienceList.com, fell in love with books at a very young age. It all started with a trip to the library during the 2nd grade, when Beth's mom introduced her to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. Her nose has been stuck in a book ever since.