Tag Archives: #10MinuteDigitalLibrarian

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #6: Check up on your own digital hygiene

Following a first set of ideas focusing on using digital tools to communicate your work, our next set looks more at keeping yourself – and your users – safe online.

Already an issue before the pandemic, this is even more so now, with – at least for those with the chance to be connected – more and more of our lives taking place online.

Across this sub-series of five posts, we’ll look both at how libraries can help users stay safe when using third party services, as well as underlining the responsibility of libraries themselves in working with users’ digital data.

But for this first post, we’re looking at the importance of starting with yourself, and improving your own digital hygiene!

Because just as you try to avoid getting ill – especially during pandemic – by taking steps that reduce risks and promote physical hygiene, you can do the same online.

This isn’t just a case of setting a good example to others, but also of keeping yourself safe of course.

It is also empowering to know that you can be active in reducing risks online – while you should avoid being overly trusting of the online world, we should try also not to be scared of it. By developing our own confidence, we are better placed to help others also.

There are lots of small steps you can take, for example to use more secure passwords (and storing them somewhere safe, but easy for you to get to), using two-factor authentication, to turn off settings that gather data about you, your preferences and your activities, or to choose products and services that are more respectful of privacy.

There are fortunately lots of tools available for you to do this, for example:

  • The Data Detox Kit produced by Tactical Tech along with Mozilla – this has, for example, been adapted by libraries, such as Friesland Libraries in the Netherlands.
  • The Privacy Toolkit produced by the Library Freedom Project can also be a good start – we’ll talk more about these in future posts as they can also be powerful in helping educate about privacy.
  • The Australian government, which is very active around Safer Internet Day, has interesting resources which could help

If you know of a good resource, especially in other languages, do share it in the comments box below!

Good luck!


If you are interested in issues around digital safety and privacy more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section, as well as our Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #5: Use social media analytics to understand your reach

Our last post explored some of the first steps you can take in deciding how you want to use social media of different types in order to communicate about your work most effectively.

It mentioned, briefly, the value of playing around with the analytical tools available on different platforms. This post looks a little further at this point, given how useful it can be in helping you work out how you are doing, and get insights into what works or not.

Most social media platforms, if you look, provide an option to look at performance or analytics. This can be obvious from the front page, or be available as an option under your profile.

These will provide data – by post, by time-period, or both – on the following:

  • Number of followers (i.e. the number of people who have indicated their interest in you, and so who are more likely to see your content in their own feeds)
  • Number of people reached (i.e. the number of different people who have seen your post) – this can depend of the timing of your post, as well as on what social media algorithms choose to prioritise.
  • Number of impressions (i.e. the total number of times your post has been seen – this can include people seeing it more than once). Again, timing and social media algorithms can play a role here.
  • Number of engagements (clicks, shares, likes etc). This depends very much on how engaging your content is – does it make people want to look further?

This data can be used to create further indicators, such as the share of views of a post that led to an engagement.

Think about your objectives when you look at how you can use these. If you are simply trying to raise awareness of your collections as part of a wider communications drive, reach and impressions are powerful.

If you want people to come to your site (which of course is good – you don’t social media to be a substitute for your own content!), then clicks matter most, including as a share of views.

And of course, in the long run, a higher number of followers will tend to lead to higher scores on all indicators.

You can also use this data in the short run in order to assess the performance of individual posts. What topics interest people? What do people like to share? Perhaps most importantly, what brings people to your site?

An obvious comparison is between your own posts – do images matter, subjects, style, length? Some platforms do allow you to compare with other accounts – for example library accounts. If you see some which are performing particularly well, take a look at see what you can learn.

Beyond pure social media analytics, you can use other tools to assess the impact of your social media work. Website analytics (which we of course recommend using in a way that respects privacy) can give insights into how many people came to your site from different social media.

And of course, you can also ask participants in events and similar about how they found out about them, and include social media as one of the options.

This is a rich area, and fortunately, there are some great resources already out there. The materials from the webinar organised by WebJunction and TechSoup are very helpful, as is the page put together by ALA, and the recording of this Tech-Talk webinar.

Outside of library-focused resources, there are plenty of others, for example about Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, LinkedIn Analytics, or Instagram Insights.

Let us know the most useful things you have learned from using social media analytics to support your communication!

Good luck!


If you are interested in library marketing more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section, which provides a platform to share expertise and experience.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #4: Develop a Plan for Social Media

In the first round of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts, we’ve been focusing on how you can use digital tools in order to raise awareness about your library and its services.

We’ve looked at how to improve your discoverability through Wikipedia and mapping tools, as well as working on how easily you can be found via search engines. In the latter, we mentioned the value of thinking, also, about search engines within social media platforms.

Of course, social media presence is about more than just being found. When used well, it can be a great way of engaging users, and bringing them either into your building, or at least onto your site.

Our 4th 10-Minute Digital Librarian exercise therefore focuses on taking the time to develop a plan for social media.

Planning is important, given that your time is valuable, and of course it is possible to spend far too much time on social media!

Key questions you may want to think about include:

  • Think about who you want to reach? Are you focused on communicating with your existing users – who are they? Or do you want to reach out to additional groups? If you are starting, it makes sense to begin with existing users.
  • Linked to this, think about what you want to achieve through your social media presence.
  • Which channel or channels make most sense for you? This is likely to be steered by the type of audience you want to reach? If it’s professionals, LinkedIn may be best. Facebook users tend to be older, while younger ones use Instagram. Think also about networks such as Telegram, Signal or WhatsApp where these are used to share news and information.
  • Play around with the analytical tools available on the platform. These can offer you interesting lessons about which posts achieve most impact. Factors such as the theme of the post, the style, use of images, and even time of day can play a role.
  • Plan for regular content, but keep it sustainable for yourself in terms of time and effort. With experience, you will learn more about what works or not. Try to maintain a consistent brand as far as possible, and use images to make things attractive.
  • Be ready to interact with those who follow you – it can be a great way of building up links. You can also proactively follow others, including with others who can spread the word about your work.
  • Don’t forget to lead people to your site! While social media sites themselves seek to capture attention, your goal should be to get people engaging with library resources and services!

There are fortunately many good resources, not least papers presented at sessions organised by our Management and Marketing Section at previous World Library and Information Congresses.

There are also lots of resources online that you can take a look at of course – we’ve drawn on a selection of these in putting together this post, for example Super Library Marketing, bookriot.com, the Open Education Database,  or this example from a non-library source. Look around and see if there are a set of tips that work for you.

Good luck!


If you are interested in library marketing more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section, which provides a platform to share expertise and experience.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #3: Improve your presence on search engines

In our two previous posts, we’ve looked at how you can improve discoverability on two specific tools – Wikipedia and maps.

However, it is also possible to improve how easy it is for users to find you on the internet in general. You can do this through search engine optimisation (SEO).

This does not need to cost money, as opposed to the sort of paid advertising that often appears at the top of search results, or in your social media feeds.

Rather, it’s a case of making (often) small tweaks to what is on your website, and the way that it is structured, in order to mean that you rise to the top ‘organically’.

Many businesses with a strong focus on eCommerce do of course hire people to work on SEO, but this isn’t necessary, and there are many resources online to help you do things yourself.

Among the tips commonly given (and we’ll include links to interesting sites further on in this piece), the following can be helpful:

  • Make sure that you are using they keywords that your users may be searching for! Think about what these might be, and perhaps even use available tools to find out how often different combinations of words are searched for. Clearly, do not take this too far, as this could become annoying for users.
  • Keep content fresh, and organise it simply and clearly. Having a well-organised sitemap in xml format can also help search engines understand your site better.
  • Where possible, encourage credible external websites to link to you – this will increase your credibility and the value of your results for search engines.
  • When linking (externally or internally), make sure that your anchor text (the bit that changes colour and is often underlined) provides a short but meaningful description of where the link leads. Don’t just say ‘click here’!
  • Use alternative text or images – keep this short, but clear. This will also help people who have visual impairments.
  • Make sure that filenames and URLs are simple and descriptive – search engines can use these to identify relevant content, and they are also easier for users to work with.
  • Where search engines do not automatically crawl for content, be ready to submit your site to them in order to be found. Google is not the only player out there!

To find out more, you can simply look around for resources on the internet. The below offer a starting point:

For Google, there are beginners’ resources for SEO which include tips, videos and other materials.

For Bing (Microsoft’s search engine), there are also resources from the company offering tips.

Duck Duck Go is increasingly popular, given that it does not collect information about users. Articles in Search Engine Journal and Search Engine People offer a starting point for thinking about how to get noticed there.

Of course it’s not only traditional search engines that have an important search function. Sites like Facebook also make use of search, and you can improve discoverability there also. Look out for articles on improving SEO on other platforms also.

Share your experiences in the comments below!

Good luck!


If you are interested in library marketing more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section, which provides a platform to share expertise and experience.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #1: Update your presence on Wikipedia

Our first batch of tips on being an effective digital librarian will focus on how you can make use of digital technologies to raise awareness of your work and services.

At a time that there is active competition for people’s time and attention, and that people expect to be able to find information easily, it is valuable to use available tools to avoid getting lost in the crowd.

A good way of doing this is by making sure that you are present on the sites that your users are using. Wikipedia is a great example, as the 5th most visited site on the internet. Furthermore, other search engines often draw on Wikipedia entries in order to provide responses.

Your library may already have a page on Wikipedia. In this case, you can make sure that information is up to date. For example, do you have collections of particular interest, or is there something unique about the building?

You may need to create a new page – there are helpful instructions available on how to start. In doing so, you will need to remember to follow the rules for Wikipedia editors, and of course that you find external sources as far as possible for what you want to say.

To get inspiration, you can look at specific examples, such as Manchester Central Library in the UK, Berlin State Library in Germany, the Central Library of Buenos Aires province, or the list of libraries in India.

You can also participate in activities like #1Lib1Ref, using your expertise to improve the quality of other articles, benefitting all of Wikipedia’s users. There’s also a great community around Wikimedia (which covers the wider range of Wiki projects), in which many librarians are already active.

Good luck!

If you are interested in library marketing more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section, which provides a platform to share expertise and experience.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.

Introducing: the 10-Minute Digital Librarian

Following on from previous IFLA series – the 10-Minute Library Advocate, and the ongoing 10-Minute International Librarian – we are happy today to launch a new one – the 10-Minute Digital Librarian.

Just like the other series, this will focus on actions you can take which do not necessarily require much time or effort, but can help you learn and discover new tools and ways of doing things.

Every two weeks, a new post will appear, with the ideas presented coming together to form mini-series of activities around different aspects of digital in libraries. It will be inspired, to a large extent, by the 23 Things series that has already proved popular in the library field.

Of course, at the moment, so much of the work of libraries, where it has been able to continue, is taking place digitally.

As individuals, as a wider sector, we have seen rapid take-up of digital tools, and learning about how to use them, around the world, across the full range of library types.

This work has helped both to provide pre-existing services in new ways, and to deliver a new offer to library users. Through this, libraries have arguably expanded further the ways in which they can fulfil their wider missions.

We hope, through this series, to share some of the lessons of this shift, and help more members of the field make best use of what technology offers.

See you for our first exercise in a couple of weeks!


Follow our series in future using the #10MinuteDigitalLibrarian tag.