NJLA Guidelines for Social Media Use

NJLA Guidelines for Social Media Use

All New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) social networking sites should adhere to the following guidelines to ensure that we represent a single, unified organization:

  1. Use Common Sense:
    Remember that you are representing NJLA and that the content you create is a reflection on our organization. 
    • Be thoughtful in your posts.
    • Be respectful of others, even when disagreeing.
    • Consider NJLA when following or friending other organizations or individuals.
    • Maintain copyright and fair use when posting content.
  2. Transparency:
    Make sure that your affiliation with NJLA is clearly represented.
    • Identify the name of your committee, subgroup, etc. in an appropriate location (profile page, information page, etc.) as well as your group’s mission.
    • Use an approved NJLA logo.
    • Include contact information (website, individual contact, address, email, phone, etc.), so that others can contact a representative of your committee, subgroup, etc.
    • Be sure to link back to the NJLA website (http://www.njla.org/), where appropriate.
    • Provide a link (follow, become a fan of, etc.) back to the official NJLA page on a given social networking site.
  3. Content:
    When maintaining a social networking site, it is important to ensure that the content being shared is appropriate and relevant to our audience.
    • Post regularly, but avoid over-posting, as this can impact the effectiveness of the social networking resource.
    • For maximum impact, consider sharing posts on NJLA’s official accounts (see details at the end of this document).
    • Make sure that the content you provide adds value to readers’ understanding of NJLA and New Jersey libraries.
    • Cite articles and resources when necessary with traditional citations, tags or links.
    • Regularly monitor the discussions/comments to ensure that content is appropriate.
    • State when the document was last reviewed/revised, and pledge to annually review it, as social media is rapidly developing and changing all the time.
    • Encourage participation and only delete reader comments sparingly, including under the following circumstances:
      • Off-topic messages, and those that do not meet the mission of the document
      • Spam
      • Personal attacks
      • Illegal content
      • Offensive language
      • Private/confidential information
    • Banning of participants should only occur after a participant has made repeated posts that warrant deletion.  Banning should be documented and the details of the ban should be shared with the NJLA Executive Director and current NJLA President.  The banned participant should be notified that they have violated the acceptable use of the social media site and informed of the length of the ban.  Questions regarding this situation should be directed to the NJLA Executive Director.
    • Promptly respond to posts/comments when appropriate to show that you’re engaged.
    • If you make a mistake, admit it.  Be upfront and be quick with your correction.  If you modify an earlier post, note that you have done so.
  4. Photos:
    Remember that any content posted to social networking sites is available to others, and may be publicly visible by anyone.  Therefore, the following guidelines should be observed when posting photos online:
    • Ensure that photos are appropriate for inclusion in an NJLA-endorsed venue.
    • Ensure that the proper permissions are acquired before using photos of individuals.
    • Parental permission is required for photos of minors.
    • Photos accompanying news articles do not require written permission, but may have a limited period of time for public display.
    • Provide photo credits when possible, to ensure that the photographer is recognized.

For additional guidance on this topic, see Bryan Carson’s article, Laws for using photos you take at your library (http://www.infotoday.com/mls/sep08/carson.shtml).

  • Consider archiving NJLA-related photos.

Does your group need its own social networking resource?

Before setting up an account to get the word out about your committee, section, or roundtable, consider whether you need to reinvent the wheel, or if you can use an existing NJLA account. 

This can depend on the size of your membership, the specificity of the content you’re sending, and the amount of content to be sent.

Therefore, you may want to consider combining your posts with an official NJLA account if:

  • You need to reach a large number of members regarding your activities and events.
  • The information that you wish to share is of value to many (not just those on your committee).
  • You will only have periodic announcements for your followers/friends.

On the other hand, it may be beneficial to start an account for your group (section/committee/roundtable) if:

  • Information to be shared is targeted to a significantly large sub-population of NJLA (catalogers, instructional librarians, etc.).
  • You will be sharing a large amount of information which might compete with posts on official NJLA accounts.

Once you decide to go ahead, consider which platform best suits your group’s needs.

What are your communication goals and objectives? What are your audience’s interests and needs? How will you maintain your content? How will you evaluate the success of your social media endeavor?

Be sure to document the access to the platform and maintain communication among members of leadership to insure smooth continuity.

In order to ensure the success of your social networking site, it’s important to let others know that you are out there.  A good way of doing this is by advertising your presence through existing channels, such as the NJLA Newsletter and committee/section/roundtable listserves.


Contact the chair of the NJLA Publications Subcommittee (http://njla.pbworks.com/Publications) with any questions you may have.  Also, inform the chair when you add a social media site or document for purposes of keeping the directory up to date. All user names and passwords for NJLA-affiliated social media sites must be filed with the NJLA office, and the NJLA Executive Director must be installed as an administrator on all accounts.

NJLA’s Official Social Media Accounts