Cool Tools, Thing 11: You Pick!

For my You Pick Cool Tools I thought I’d play Polly and try my hand at rounding up resources on the topic of Snapchat. (I know Polly covered this briefly in the Cool Tool on Photo Fun but I thought I’d try to delve in a little deeper and dig up some more resources for people who like me, are curious about trying it out with their library).

Okay cool! Ummm…what’s Snapchat?

Snapchat is messaging app that lets you send photos and videos that are annotated with text, drawings, and/or stickers or, that have been augmented with filters that superimpose some other imagery over your photos and videos.

Like this:


Or like this:


Or even this:

Alright…but I/my library is already on Twitter and Instagram do I really need Snapchat too?

I hear you! I first heard about Snapchat at my post graduation subbing job at a Jr/Sr High School Library. That was over 5 years ago and yet I just joined this past year. And only after major pressure from my best friend. I didn’t quite see the need for it either and admittedly, I was slow to see the appeal even after joining. But, my friend and my youngest brother kept sending me messages with it and eventually, it grew on me. Now I’d say that Snapchat is one of my most frequently used apps and the main source of communication between myself and my best friend and definitely between myself and my 16 year old brother! There’s something about the videos and photos I send back and forth with them using the app that makes it feel more like it did when I got to see them every day-I feel much more in tune to what’s going on with them in their day to day lives than I ever did when we were just texting or even talking on the phone. And that’s what I think Snapchat can bring our patrons, a sense of connection with our programs that they don’t get from other forms of social media. Facebook is old school, Twitter is succinct, Instagram is highly polished and curated but Snapchat is silly and goofy and fun. It’s time we showed people the lighthearted, fun side of our libraries.

Hold up! Isn’t this the one where messages disappear after you watch them-I’m not putting a bunch work into something that just disappears!

Well, yes. Messages you send others disappear after they’ve been viewed or, in the case of “stories” you post to your account for all to see, they disappear after 24 hours. If you’ve created something you’re particularly proud of you can save it to your account for future use/reuse. And remember what I said about this being for our fun, lighthearted side? Don’t use Snapchat for your important announcements and information-at least not without making sure it’s posted elsewhere too-use if for fun, behind the scenes sneak peeks. And don’t think of the messages being temporary as a bad thing-think of it as adding extra cache to what you share. Like it’s limited edition-people will want to check in so they can be the cool people in the know!

Alright! Are you convinced you want to learn more and maybe try Snapchat with your library? Me too! Let’s look at some of the resources I found to help us get started!

Beginner’s Guides:

Before you jump right in there and start snapping you’re probably going to want to get acquainted with the app, it’s features and some basic vocabulary. Thankfully, there are no shortage of beginner’s guides to Snapchat floating around out there on the internet. Here are some I pulled for those of you who are really new to this app.

Ready to make some Snap Stories?

I freely admit that a few weeks into using Snapchat I thought I was some kind of expert until I tried to figure out Snapchat Stories. Several snaps and texts with my 16 year old brother and I finally figured out what I needed to know. Not everyone has a 16 year old brother who is willing to walk them through these things so here’s guides to help you out.

Here’s some bonus info/fun stuff:

Snapchat and Libraries:

Looking for ideas? Still need to convince yourself or someone else that your library belongs on Snapchat? Check out some of the information and ideas below.

Connect with other Libraries and Librarians on Snapchat:

So, what ideas are you most excited about using in your library? I noticed that most of the ideas I found and linked to focus on older students but I’m in an elementary library. I don’t think that means I can’t use Snapchat, it just means that my audience is most likely going to be parents so I’ll have to adjust my content. But, if Snapchat is about showing an insider’s view what better an audience to try and reach with that insider’s view than the parents and guardians of my students! Afterall, my students see me every week-they know what’s up in the library. It’s the adults at home who often don’t realize that the library is, as my co-worker Molly and like to hashtag it on Instagram, not your grandma’s library anymore. I think it could be cool to try things like:

  • Quick samples of what each grade level/class will be doing that day or week
  • Book suggestions for at home reading with their kids based on the time of the year or common family/life situations (maybe someday I’ll even be able to get some requests for books on different topics, like bringing home a new baby, to feature on the book suggestions!)
  • Get to know your librarian/my favorite part of the day-like a quick video I do every day so parents can get to know me better
  • Activities they can do at home to extend what we’re doing in the classroom/library
  • Virtual summer reading program-I’m not sure how this would work but me reading a book snap video by snap video maybe?

It’s a start! Any other ideas for connecting with parents through Snapchat? Feel free to throw me a comment-and definitely send me a message if you want to share your libraries Snapchat account. I’ll be snapping from ours at FPSLibratorium. Look us up-hopefully, we’ll have some great things to share!


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