Category Archives: Social Media Policies

Social Media Policies

Library systems should create social media policies to define the scope of their social media presence, to guide both library-led and staff-led actions on social media, to identify appropriate ways to deal with patron and commenter behavior on social media, and to deal with privacy issues on social media.

Many such policies exist and can be adapted to fit the needs of your library. The main points your policy should address are as follows:

  • Your library system’s goal for engaging in social media
  • The social media accounts (or types of accounts) you will open
  • Who is responsible for posting on behalf of the library
    • What types of posts are to be expected
    • How often such posts will be made
    • How other employees are allowed to be involved in official posts
    • Employee social media conduct
    • Types of comments/messages that merit deletion from your library system’s social media posts
    • Rules regarding photographs of patrons and patron identification on social media posts


Discipline of Employee Social Media Behavior

Libraries should differentiate between staff members posting on behalf of the library systems and staff member’s personal social media accounts; keeping these separate can help protect the library from passing policies that violate staff members’ First Amendment rights. According to the National Labor Relations Board:

  • “Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.”
  • “An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.”

With the above in mind, library systems should be clear about prescribing employee social media behavior and its parameters within the work place. The resources contain two samples of public library social media policies that take such considerations into account while maintaining the First Amendment rights of their employees.



Breed, Elizabeth. Creating a Social Media Policy: What We Did, What We Learned.” Information Today. 27.2 (2013) n. pag. Web. 23 June 2016. <–Creating-a-Social-Media-Policy.shtml>


Capital Area District Libraries. SER 205 Social Media Policy. 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 23 June 2016. <>


Cleveland Public Library. “Policy on the Use of CPL’s Social Media Sites.” Cleveland Public Library. n. pag. Web. 23 June 2016. <>


National Labor Relations Board. “The National Labor Relations Board and Social Media.” n. pag. Web.  22 June 2016 <>


MLC’s Social Media Policy. < >


Heidelberger, Brian. “Eight Ways Your Employee Social-Media Policy May Violate Federal Law.”


Advertising Age. 12 June 2012. Web. 23 June 2016. <>