Social Media Policy

Effective Date: 04/11
Reviewed and Revised Date: 07/21


This policy establishes procedures for the establishment and use of internet resources commonly referred to as “social media sites” by the Ela Area Public Library (“Library”) and its employees. The purpose for use of social media sites is to obtain and disseminate information useful to and about the Library. The Library encourages the use of social media to further the goals of the Library subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this social media policy. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, e- mail, and the internet.

The Library will use social networking to increase awareness of library services, promote and encourage an ongoing dialogue with the community, reach out to members of the community who are not physically in the building, and interact with our patrons in a fun and positive way. The Library has an overriding interest in obtaining reliable information from and in providing accurate and appropriate information on social media sites.


“Blogs or Blogging” includes any electronic medium, whether maintained by the employee or by some other person, in which the viewers express their views and opinions.

“Comment” means a response to a Library posting or social media content or posting submitted by a commenter.

“Commenter” is a Library employee or official or a member of the public who submits a comment for posting in response to the content of a particular Library posting or social media content.

“Committee” or “Social Media Committee” is a committee appointed by the Library Board to approve, establish, and manage any social media use by the Library or any Library department.

“Library Board” the Ela Area Public Library Board of Trustees.

“Music and Movie Collaboration Sites” as referred to in this policy shall include websites used to share, download and upload music files, movies, photographs, and other electronic files.

“Social Networking Websites” as referred to in this policy include websites and/or applications that allow users to share information, including but not limited to such websites as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, Flikr, etc.

“Publishers” are the Library staff designated by the Library Board or Social Media Committee to enforce the provisions of this policy.

Employee Use Policy


Employer Monitoring

Employees are cautioned that they should have no expectation of privacy while using the Internet. Employee postings can be reviewed by anyone, including the Library. The Library reserves the right to monitor comments or discussions about the Library, its officers, employees, or agents posted on the Internet by anyone, including employees and non-employees.

The Library reserves the right to use content management tools to monitor, review, or block content on social media sites or blogs that violate the Library’s social media policy.

Identification as an Employee of the Library

Employees who use or are a member of social networking sites, music and movie collaboration sites, and blogs are hereby on notice, by receipt of this policy, that by identifying themselves on these websites as a Library employee, he or she is also to some extent holding himself or herself out as a representative of the Library. As such, all employees who list the Library as his or her employer on these social networking sites, blogs, or collaboration websites must take responsibility for representing the Library in a professional manner.

If an employee does identify himself or herself as an employee of the Library, any blogs or postings that are not done in order to further the business of the Library or pursuant to a Library marketing plan or strategy pursuant to the instructions of the employee’s supervisor must contain a disclaimer that these postings or blogs are solely the opinion of the individual employee and that these positions or blogs do not reflect the views or philosophy of the Library, its officials, employees, or patrons.

Content of all Postings and Blogs

All employees’ internet postings which identify themselves as Library employees must not contain confidential or proprietary content or information regarding their work as a Library employee and the employee must clearly state that his or her views are not representative of those of the Library, its elected officials, employees, or agents.

All employees’ personal blogs or postings on the blogs of others which identify themselves as Library employees should have clear disclaimer, such as the following:

The views expressed by the author in the blog is the author’s alone and do not represent the views of the Library.

For example, employees writing a blog or posting on a blog should be written in first person and should clearly state that the author is writing of their own volition and not on behalf of the Library.

Information published on an employee’s blog should comply with the Library’s confidentiality and disclosure policies. This also applies to comments posted on other blogs, forums, and social networking sites.

Responsible and Respectful Postings

Employees are encouraged to be respectful to the Library, officers, employees, agents, and patrons in their use of social media.

An employee’s online presence may reflect the Library and therefore, employees must be aware that his or her actions captured via images, posts, or comments can reflect the image of the Library and its other employees. All postings, photos, images or other communications by an employee regarding service to, or employment with the Library, which are false or misleading about the Library, its officials or employees, may subject the employee to disciplinary action consistent with this policy.

The Library seal or other logo, trademarks, or symbols used to identify the Library may not be used without written consent from a Publisher.

Rules with Respect to other Library Personnel

All information posted on social networking sites and blog postings must not divulge confidential information or the internal operations or procedures of the Library.

Employees must not post any confidential or proprietary information regarding his or her job assignments, routes, or other work related items without the express consent of the Library Board or a Publisher.

No confidential, personal, or identifying information, including photos and addresses, shall be posted with regard to any services rendered by the Library or penalties issued.

No confidential, personal, or identifying information shall be posted with regard to any Library patron.

Copyright and Other Legal Issues

Employees must at all times comply with the laws regarding plagiarism or copyright violations, especially when the employee’s site represents the employee as a Library employee.


Library employees must sign a written acknowledgment that they have received, read, understand, and agree to comply with the Library’s social media policy and any other related policies.

Reporting Violations

The Library requests and strongly urges employees to report any violations or possible or perceived violations to a Publisher. Violations may include discussions of the Library and its officers, employees, or agents, any discussions or postings where the employee has identified himself or herself as a Library employee and is engaging in illegal or immoral conduct, any discussion of proprietary information, and any unlawful activity related to blogging or social networking.

Disciplinary Action

All employees who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The Library further reserves the right to take legal action where necessary against employees who engage in prohibited or unlawful conduct. The disciplinary action will be in accordance with the respective union collective bargaining agreements to which the Library is a party, if applicable.

Library Use Policy

Approval and Administration

The Library Board establishes a “Social Media Committee” and authorizes the Executive Director to appoint its members. The Committee approves, establishes and manages any social media use by the Library or any Library department. The Committee may be comprised of Publishers from various Library departments, in an effort to provide a balanced representation of the Library.

Any Library social media sites shall be administered by the Committee. The Committee shall be trained regarding the terms of the social media policy, including their responsibilities to review content submitted for posting to ensure compliance with the policy. The Committee will be responsible for monitoring content on Library social media sites to ensure adherence to both the Library’s social media policy and the interest and goals of the Library.

The Committee may engage in conversation with Library users by asking questions, gathering opinions, by embedding Committee members into existing conversations happening in or about the community. Users’ comments and questions may be addressed and responded to as necessary. Library social media content may include:

  • library news and events;
  • information about services, new features, and closings;
  • related pop culture news and events;
  • original reviews and suggestions of materials;
  • cross promotions of the Library’s other social media channels;
  • links to relevant content such as local news and events; and
  • responses to questions and comments.

Library social media sites should make clear that they are maintained by the Library and that they follow the Library’s social media policy.

Wherever possible, Library social media sites should link back to the official Library website for forms, documents, online services, and other information necessary to conduct business with the Library.

All social networking sites should clearly indicate that any content submitted for posting on the site is subject to public disclosure.

The Library reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this social media policy or any applicable law.

Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained by the Committee for a reasonable period of time, including the time, date, and identity of the poster, when available.

Comment Policy

Comments containing any of the following inappropriate forms of content shall not be permitted on Library social media sites and are subject to removal and/or restriction by the Committee:

  • profane, obscene, violent, sexual, or pornographic content and/or language;
  • content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, or national origin;
  • threats to any person or organization;
  • solicitation of commerce, including but not limited to advertising of any business or product for sale;
  • conduct in violation of any federal, state, or local law;
  • encouragement of illegal activity;
  • spam links to malware/viruses;
  • information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems; or
  • content that violates a legal ownership interest, such as a copyright or trademark.

A comment posted by a member of the public on any Library social media site is the opinion of the commentator or poster only, and publication of a comment does not imply endorsement of, or agreement by, the Library, nor do the comments necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Library.

The Library reserves the right to deny access to Library social media sites for any individual who violates the Library’s social media policy, at any time and without prior notice.

Publishers shall monitor social media sites for comments requesting responses from the Library and for comments in violation of this policy.

All comments posted to any Library social media site are bound by that sites terms of service, and the Library reserves the right to report any violation of those terms of service to the social media site, and ask the site to take appropriate and reasonable responsive action.

Users who enter private or personal information on Library social media websites or social media sites do so at their own risk. The Library is not responsible for any damages resulting from the public display, or failure to remove, private or personal information.

Compliance with Laws

All Library social media sites must adhere to applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies.

Library social media sites are subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to Library business, including a list of subscribers, posted communication, and communication submitted for posting, may be a public record subject to public disclosure. Content related to Library business shall be maintained in an accessible format so that it can be produced in response to a request. Wherever possible, social media sites shall clearly indicate that any articles and any other content posted or submitted for posting are subject to public disclosure.

The Illinois Local Records Act applies to social media formats and social media content. The Committee must preserve records required to be maintained pursuant to a relevant records retention schedule for the required retention period on a Library server in a format that preserves the integrity of the original record and is easily accessible.

E-discovery laws may apply to social media content and, therefore, content must be able to be managed, stored, and retrieved to comply with these laws.


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