Steal this Idea: Flickr for Librarians

Are you wrestling with Flickr at your library? Did recent scare tactics by anonymous emailers put your admin into a tizzy? Save or print this..and pass it on!

From NEKLS Tech Day August 10, 2006, by Mickey Coalwell (mcoalwell (at) who gave me permission to post it here. He and Joshua Neff did a great program on Flickr education for a standing room only crowd. This would be a great thing to do at your next staff meeting or staff lunch time learning session.

Thanks Mickey.


16 Ways To Use flickr @ Your Library

1. Publicize EVENTS at your library with candid photos of activities and participants.

2. Present a collection of HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS of a city, community, area, or building – how about your own library?

3. Highlight OUTREACH SERVICES such as a bookmobile or delivery vehicle, along with outreach staff and drivers.

4. Publicize a GAMING tournament or other teen event.

5. Show photographs from an AUTHOR SIGNING at your library.

6. Show the BANNED BOOKS DISPLAYS at your library.

7. Promote and share a CONFERENCE OR WORKSHOP.

8. Provide a VIRTUAL TOUR of your library facility.

9. Share photos of PARTIES AND CELEBRATIONS at the library.

10. Show pictures of regular COMMUNITY MEETINGS held at your library.

11. Provide a gallery of LIBRARY STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS.

12. Create WIKIS OR INSTRUCTIONAL WEB SITES for staff on library technical topics.

13. Promote your Friends group’s FUNDRAISERS and BOOK SALES.

14. Create a VIRTUAL TRAVELOGUE of your city or town.


16. Show BOOK COVERS for reading lists or Readers’ Advisory blogs.

Fact: flickr’s Community Rules and Terms of Service are quite clear. They disallow offensive images of the type described in the e-mail. Moreover, libraries are already required to block content that is harmful to minors under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). The pending internet safety legislation called DOPA, which potentially affects flickr and other social networking sites, is redundant and unnecessary.

Fact: Currently, hundreds of libraries — public, academic, school, and special libraries across the world — use flickr to enhance web services to their various constituencies.

Educate yourself, your staff, your board of trustees, and governing agencies about social sites, like flickr, and the issues surrounding them. Educate your patrons and your community about the good — and bad — of flickr and other social software sites. Sit down at a library computer with any patron who has a concern, and demonstrate the site to the patron. Let them see the benefits first hand.


The central issue for libraries regarding DOPA is education. Libraries need to ramp up their efforts to provide Internet & information literacy education and safety programs for kids, teens, parents and caregivers.
If people were more well informed about what social networking sites are and knew & used basic Internet safety tips, this cloud of fear may disperse. Also, if library users were more well-informed about the far reaching effects DOPA may have on their personal lives if passed, then they may be more willing to join librarians in the fight against it.

Beth Yoke, Executive Director of YALSA, American Library Association
July 11, 2006