Staff Social Media Policy

Social media can be defined as content created by people using highly accessible Internet-based publishing tools for sharing and discussing information. Some examples of social media are blogs, wikis, and video hosting sites.

These emerging platforms for online collaboration offer new ways to engage with patrons, colleagues, and the world at large, and have the potential to help staff build stronger professional relationships and take part in national and global conversations related to the work we are doing.

The Athens Regional Library System encourages the use of social media tools; however, due to the nature of social media, which encourages free-flowing conversations and allows for instantaneous publication reaching a potentially wide audience, the following guidelines are provided in order to assure effective and appropriate information, security, responsible speech, and privacy protection.

  1. Ensure that all departmental or branch library social media sites are sanctioned by the Athens Regional Library System Director.
  2. Ensure that the focus of the social media site is consistent with the mission of the Athens Regional Library System and that participating staff have the requisite expertise to post information and have understood and agreed to the principles and guidelines set forth in this document.
  3. Respect confidential information, the privacy of others, and do not discuss documents and decision-making and conversations which are internal to the library without appropriate approval. Know and comply with library policy related to confidentiality of patron records. Never comment on legal matters or litigation related to the library without approval from the Director.
  4. Ensure that staff posts and comments are respectful and considerate and contain no remarks that are offensive or off-topic. When responding to others' posts which you may disagree with, keep it appropriate and polite. Do not denigrate others. Airing grievances against management, patrons, fellow employees, departments or State agencies is not appropriate.
  5. Ensure transparency when posting or commenting by identifying yourself and your role within the library. Remember that you are personally responsible for your content. Be sure that all of the content associated with you is consistent with your work and the library's values and professional standards. Make sure that you write and post about your areas of expertise and assigned duties, and that you make it clear to your readers when writing about a topic outside of your expertise. When modifying earlier posts, make it clear you have done so.
  6. In some social media formats, you may encounter comments which cause you concern as a moderator or responsible party. If user content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then the content should be allowed to remain, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable to the Library. If the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating and completely out of context, then the content should be rejected and removed.