If a story is not about the hearer he [or she] will not listen . . . A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden.
For the library sector, communicating through photographs is essentially advocacy. And storytelling. Or am I wrong? And isn’t it so, that each person sees an image in line with his/her background of information, cultural experience and personal understanding? So where one photo will be harmless to some, to others it can be huge controversy or insulting.
Therefore, I would imagine that for a library’s account to be successful on Instagram or Flickr etc., knowledge and sensitivity must be the starting point…know your community, their values, culture, lifestyle, struggles, and so forth, to ensure that no individual or group is made to feel inferior, insulted, intimidated, excluded, etc.
As a volunteer within libraries I’m unable to comment on how effective photography is as a means of impacting users and visits to the library. But as a user of social media and a library/museum/history/info enthusiast, I know how avidly I pursue various accounts, based on what they share. Flickr is used effectively by libraries to show-case vintage photos, photos of their community activities, to document the history of their area, and more. Instagram is a wonderful way to highlight displays in libraries and museums, to draw attention to new resources, to notify of, and share, activities within the library and to be innovative in communication with a bid to draw the local community to the facility and all it has to offer (the recent #liblympics from @noosalibraryservice was a brilliant example of an advocacy campaign on Instagram).
On a personal level I have used a Flickr account since 2011, and Instagram since December 2014. I follow libraries and librarians, museums and other interesting (story-telling) accounts. On Instagram I post photos of my volunteering efforts in libraries and interesting things I encounter along the way. I use Flickr as a cloud storage facility (on a private setting) for my personal photographs, since they offer 1 Terabyte free of charge, but I have made a few public in an album.
Here are some links to a few accounts that I follow, and which I really enjoy:
Prince William Public Library, Virginia USA.
A happy snap from the New York Public Library’s Instagram account.
Elissa Malespina (librarian)
Not libraries, but powerful communication through photographs…
Antique Books (Group)
Sylvia Duckworth, educator.
Until next time, when we take a look at the legal side of things – copyright!
Thanks for stopping by. 😀
Featured image: Storytelling by Daniele Rossi on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)