Communications & Media Policy
Library policy on media, publications, including social media
It is the policy of the Russell County Public Library to provide accurate information to the public, including and via the media, on its policies, procedures, services and programs and to ensure that the best possible image of the library is presented to the public.
• Increase public support, awareness, and use of the Library
• Increase visibility for library services & programs (PR)
• Increase the value of services to residents so they want to use them and support them (marketing)
Scope & Emphasis
This policy shall cover the internal and external marketing and public relations activities and media relations of the library including library signage. How we communicate information has an impact on how the library is perceived and what message is received. Staff, and trustees and friends should always bear in mind that communication is two-way, and the message we send may not be the message that is received.
Identity and Usage
Name It is important that communication refer to the Library in a consistent manner. The name of the library system is Russell County Public Library. All branches and facilities are by definition ‘Russell County Public Libraries.’ The branch names are the Honaker Community Library and the Lebanon Library. It is acceptable to use the phrase the Russell County Public Library in Honaker or Russell County Public Library in Lebanon.
RCPL adopted a new logo in 2010; the logo was designed by Carolyn Carrier of Bristol. While the logo is appropriate to use on publicity, its use is not mandatory.
Authority and Responsibility
The Library Director is ultimately responsible for the library communications activity. However, all staff, as well as friends and trustees can have a positive impact on the success of library publicity and image. Members of the staff are permitted to speak about the library on behalf of the library to members of the media, but must limit themselves to areas of their expertise. They should also bear in mind their obligation to present the library in the best possible light. Interviews with staff members are permitted as long as the supervisor is informed and it does not interfere with library duties.
All material written or prepared by library staff shall be reviewed for appropriateness, accuracy, completeness and eye-appeal by the library director, assistant director, or administrative assistant before being released to the public or media. This includes printed material such as flyers, bookmarks, newspaper articles and press releases, PSAs for radio or television, and the library’s web presence, such as the official webpage or social media presence (MySpace, Facebook or blogs.)
Appropriate Media & Distribution
RCPL will not limit the media or formats used to publicize and market itself. The most appropriate media shall be chosen for each purpose or event. Print options can include newspapers or magazines, posters, flyers, bookmarks, etc. Other media can include radio, television, and the world wide web.
The most common channels of communication announcing upcoming library programs will likely be the local media outlets, such newspaper and radio, the RCPL webpage and social media sites, and print flyers and bookmarks. For teens or younger adult population, the Teen Advisory Board’s MySpace page or blogs should definitely be used. The intended audience and intent will drive the media and distribution.
RCPL will typically distribute information or materials only for its own programs and purposes and those of it partners’ allied programs. Examples of partner’s programs that RCPL might distribute information and flyers about include the adult education and GED programs and Kid’s Day (Together for the Children) sponsored by the Department of Social Services, where the library typically has a presence.
However, the library is a valuable member of the community and as such, it is a source of information. Hence, RCPL branches serve as a distribution point for a limited number of brochures and flyers for the community. The brochures and flyers can be about community services, such as mental health or abuse hotlines, educational opportunities, or charitable fundraisers. These materials may be placed in specified places in each branch. Only material pertaining to library events or partners may be placed on the service desks at the library branches. No commercial brochures or flyers may be posted in either library.
Photography & Filming
Members of the media are expected to inform the library administration before any filming in the building. Although the library is a public place, the public has the expectation of a certain degree of anonymity and privacy. The public shall also be informed if the media will be filming or recording an event.
Individuals with small portable or wearable media devices must respect the privacy of groups and individuals using the library. Posting (live shots/streaming or stills) photographs or video of identifiable individuals or groups is prohibited without explicit permission of all individuals.
Library staff should also inform the public if they are taking photographs or recording in another media. Staff photographing individuals or small groups shall ask for permission and a media release form signed by the identifiable persons in the photograph.
Signs should be consistent within and among the libraries. Staff should take care not to clutter the library with signs. All signs shall be typeset, not handwritten, except in an emergency.
RCPL uses social media as a way to inform and engage the public in discussions of books, materials, services and programs. The library recognizes and respects differences of opinion. Comments, posts and messages from patrons are welcome. Posted comments are the opinion of the author only and publication of a comment does not imply agreement or endorsement by the staff or board of the library.
Comments containing any of the following will be removed:
• Obscene or racist content
• Personal attacks, insults or threatening language
• Potential libelous statements
• Plagiarized material
• Private, personal information published without permission
• Comments totally unrelated to the content of the forum
• Hyperlinks to material that are not directly related to the discussion
• Commercial promotions or political activity
The public are cautioned not to put personal information on any forum or in any post. By posting, the user agrees to hold the library, employees, and officers free from any liability. The library reserves the right to monitor content and modify or remove any content as it deems appropriate. The library is also not obligated to take any such action and will not be responsible for any content posted by any individual.
If any user does not agree to the terms of this policy, they are not to use the service.
Library staff shall make a clear distinction between professional and personal use of social media. Because of the immediacy of the media, less administrative oversight and editing are exercised; so staff is also warned to have their posts reviewed for accuracy, both grammatical and informatory.
Approved by the RCPL Board 16 September 2008, revised 17 January 2012 and 19 January 2016