Getting Social While Social Distancing

Librarians are people who want to connect with their community. Through library services, outreach, programs, and much more, libraries and librarians are beacons to all communities. So when library doors closed due to COVID-19, this was tough on the community and the librarians who thrive on serving and connecting. 

In times of crisis and economic recession, people need the library more than ever. They need someone to help connect them with free resources, social services, a safe place to use the internet, resources for job placement, or simply connection. Humans are wired for connection, after all. 

We need this and shared positivity, hope – a lighthouse to guide us through troubling times. What better organization to provide this than our public libraries? 

Just because we’re not able to physically be in the public library space, there are still ways to stay connected, enjoy personal interactions, and benefit from the services our libraries offer. Libraries continue to rise to the occasion and meet community needs through online programming and digital resources. 

This post covers how social media is being leveraged to maintain and strengthen the connections libraries have with community members. Some of our library partners have reported an even higher engagement rate since more people can access programs at their convenience. 

Using Facebook To Engage Online

Facebook is a great social platform that can be used to host community engagement pieces. There are various ways to use the platform that combine text, images and video (that can all be stored for later reference by your patrons), to create an enriching experience. It’s also an opportunity for even more program attendance than you may have gotten pre-COVID. With no space restrictions, time considerations, or scheduling issues, more people are able to attend online programs hosted on the Facebook platform. 

5 ways your library can use Facebook

  1. Remind patrons of the services you’re offering and how. For example, is curbside pick-up available? Are you offering limited office equipment use? Have you expanded your digital offerings? Are you offering curated content and book bundles? Whatever you’re doing, share it on Facebook.
  2. Promote library card sign-ups. Demonstrate how easy it is to get one online now and what you can do with it. 
  3. Remind patrons of the free WiFi service available and how to access it. 
  4. Migrate in-person programs to the online space. Storytimes, book clubs, even kid’s crafts can all be recreated and shared online.
  5. Interact with other local community spaces, parks, institutions, organizations, etc to create alliances and promote the library services that help the community. 

Ideas for Facebook Live content


This is a popular program that translates well to the online space. We’ve heard from some of our partners that they have hundreds of people attend online storytimes now. Where pre-pandemic, the in-person attendance was smaller.  How do you do an online storytime? Go about it the same way you would normally: choose your stories, create your settings (using plushies, decorations, props etc), read and engage with your tiny patrons as you normally would. 

Live music

Libraries that hosted live music sessions during the day pre-pandemic can still showcase local talent using Facebook Live. Reach out to your local musicians and talk about the opportunity for collaboration. Or perhaps someone on the library staff is musically inclined and would host a live show? A teen band or performer would likely love the opportunity for an online audience. And it could attract more youth to the library services. 


Crafting sessions for adults and kids alike are a popular library event. All kinds of DIY craft demos are shared on YouTube, so why not Facebook Live, too? A sewing tutorial for a mask or how to make a mask without sewing would be great ideas. Any type of craft your library would normally make available for kids is another good idea. Post about the Live session ahead of time and consider making supplies available with curbside pick-up. 


Demonstrate how to download library-related apps or use online registries like, all of which are free with your library card. Consider a walk-through of applying for social services or the video version of in-person help you’d normally provide within the library building. 

Bring in experts

Connecting the community to what they need is what libraries are all about. Host a live session with guests who specialize in mental health to discuss topics related to coping during a pandemic. Another group that could benefit from a connection is caregivers. Caring for young, old or sick family members during this time adds an extra layer of difficulty and complexity to an already tough job. For example, consider what kind of challenges COVID presents for people with Alzheimer’s, cancer, elderly parents, special needs parents, etc. Partner with local chapters of an organization, or a social worker from a hospital or whatever’s relevant, to bring information to your patrons. 


Self-care can take many forms, especially now.  It includes relaxation techniques. Have a yoga instructor host online classes. Do you know someone who makes their own body products? Ask them to host a demo about how to make your own candles, lotion, or something. Consider having these supplies available for pick up at your library. 

Tips for using Facebook Live

  • Make sure you have a strong WiFi connection for a broadcast that’s as clear, high-resolution, and stable as possible. Increased online programming is another reason why libraries need high-speed internet. 
  • If shooting on your phone, use a tripod to ensure a steady stream (and prevent your phone from toppling over mid-shoot!) 
  • Engage with your audience. Say hello, mention commenters by name and answer questions, 
  • Tell people ahead of time when you plan a Live stream. Post to your Facebook about the Live session, what it is, when it is, how to watch a couple of times beforehand, and then a reminder shortly before. This ensures your audience has time to plan and remember the event.
  • Remind people they can watch the Live stream from your Facebook page under ‘videos’ even after you’ve ended it. 
  • Be creative and go Live often. The more content you create, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and the more interaction you’ll get from the community. 
  • Ask the community what kinds of things they’re interested in. Create a Facebook Poll and use that as guidance to come up with new content.

Action items to start using Facebook Live

  • Set up a Facebook page. If your library needs to set up a Facebook page, this is a helpful guide to get you started. 
  • Set up admins to the page (anyone who will be responsible for creating and posting content). 
  • Download the Facebook app to your phone and practice using it as the library.
  • Use the app to create and post content when appropriate.
  • Discuss with the library team ideas for Facebook Live content and create a document to share and save ideas. 

The most important part of using social media is to have fun, be yourselves, and be creative. Your patrons will appreciate the effort and connection. And these are practices that you can continue to use even after the pandemic. Consider this an opportunity to expand the reach of your public library to do even more good. 

Curious to know more about how you can monitor online program attendance? Book a demo with our team today!