Creative Expression: Photo and Video sharing in Libraries

There’re many ways to express one’s self to their audience. Writing is a common form of communication with others. Librarians write blogs about upcoming trends, favourite books in their library’s collection and future events. They can bookmark and articles from the web to their blog, websites or account from social networking and bookmarking sites like: del.ici.ous. Wikis are another site libraries can use to express and collaborate with each other on new ideas, equipment and trends. Recently, libraries are taking advantage of photo sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat. I use these apps frequently, and they are a great way to capture the experience and essence of the moment the photo was taken.

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What are photo and video sharing?

Here’s a revised definition from Tyndale University: photo and video sharing sites allow users to share and collaborate photos and videos publically or privately if the admin of the album chooses, often organized thematically. Works uploaded to the site are usually created by users and are discouraged from uploading copyrighted material.

An even basic definition and overview of photo-sharing:

Libraries often use different photo sharing sites to reach their patrons across all ages.

Each site has a different look and feel of how they operate and share their photos and videos on their online albums.


The search results for libraries on their search bar provides a basic overview of the library profile, photos uploaded and followers. Looking at the British Library’s profile, I like what they post on their site. They post pictures, illustrations, cartoons, and maps.

The Library of Congress posts mainly photographs of people from different eras. It is perfect for those interested in how everyone dressed back then. I am passionate about history, so this profile is excellent for me and others interested in history.

Instagram and Snapchat

Libraries take advantage of Instagram as well for sharing photos. Instagram is a social media platform dedicated to directly uploading pictures. How it works is with a smartphone camera, users take an image of their subject, edit within the app and post instantly. The Posts are then organized and searchable through keywords, and hashtags based on a theme. Many libraries use this photo-sharing app as well. Teenagers and Young adults use Instagram as well. Thus it is perfect for libraries to connect with them. Viewed. On Snapchat, the difference is the post is then deleted after it was posted. So librarians need to consider timing and the frame to get the best post across.

Here are some library profiles:


British Library
Library of Congress


New York Public Library
Winnipeg Public Library

YouTube and Vimeo:

Another popular site to post content is YouTube and Vimeo. There are video sharing sites allowing content creators to show their work. Libraries often post videos of lectures, guest talks, tours, what’s in their collection and unique features in the facility.

Some examples of posts by libraries.

Toronto Public Library

Great Big Story

How do libraries use photo and video sharing sites?

Libraries use Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and Snapchat to get their institutions a welcoming place to visit, especially kids and teenagers. These websites are a great way to get kids to the library because posts can give them a sense of what’s inside the building and overcoming library anxiety. They share their posts through hashtags allowing users and other libraries see what’s going between each building. Libraries create videos on various topics through affordable and time efficient manner.


Lab 6 Q&A

  1. What is the name of your library and where is it located?

The New York Public Library in New York City.

  1. What is your chosen library using their photo or video sharing account for? (Ex: are they advertising programs, sharing photos of the library space, advertising what the library has to offer in general? etc…)

Sharing pictures of patrons posing based on the images on the cover of books. They also post photos and short videos of their collection and displays. Additionally, the library posts old photos, maps of New York and the Public Library.

  1. Do the photos/videos appeal to you? If you were a patron, would you be more interested in visiting this library after looking at this site? Why or why not?

Yes for sure to both questions. I like going to large libraries and exploring what the Public Library has to offer.

  1. Do you have any suggestions as to how this library could improve their photo or video sharing?

No, the profile is excellent.


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