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Rocking the Small Screen: Video and Libraries

David Lee King, Ustadza Ely, James Rider

(L-R) David Lee King, Ustadza Ely, James Rider

David Lee King, Digital Services Director, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, led off this session by noting that he has been working with videos for more than 10 years. Video on the web is now easy to make and watch; it drives people to your website. People watch videos and like them. 78% of US internet users watch videos online every week; 55% watch them every day. Only 4% of the population prefers to read manuals to learn about a new product; 5% prefer to call the manufacturer, but 44% prefer to watch a video. Videos are everywhere on social media. According to Tubular Insights (a tracking website), the most popular video channel in the world is on Facebook. 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat every day–a huge number!

Types of video that libraries might like to make:

  • Promotional to show off a new database or service,
  • Trainer and explainer videos,
  • News (interviews, reporting news of the library),
  • Story time,
  • Fun videos,
  • Book series,
  • Unique things (with 340,000 views, this is the most popular video in King’s library),
  • Short videos to post on social media, and
  • Live videos of reference interviews, book reviews etc.

What to consider:

  • The first 15 seconds tend to get watched, and if they do not attract the viewer’s interest, they will just click away. So just jump right in to the subject and put your most compelling content first.
  • Upload to Facebook separately because those videos will get favored more than ones taken from YouTube.
  • Share to Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Think about who will make your video.  If your organization is large enough, consider having a video team and figure out how much video you want to make.
  • Start simple with equipment; smartphones take remarkably good quality videos.

Ustadza Ely discussed how to harness the power of video in libraries. You can engage during library instruction to talk about library services by using Adobe Animate, Photoshop, or TurningPoint/Kahoot.

Videos are very useful for distance learners and for marketing the library’s physical collections. They are used to entice students to come and see the collections.

Questions to ask yourself: What is the audience, the goal. branding and connections, trends, staff time and professional development. Can you get others to sell your video for you? You might create a video about a faculty member’s class and mention the library material that is incorporated into the class.

Storyboarding is very important in video creation. Use a storyboard as a guide and ensure that the video has a natural flow.


Videos can be complicated; you need to communicate with other people when you are developing the story. Have a script and sync it with what will be shown.

Here are some tools for editing, filming, music, etc.

Video Editing Tools

YouTube has a free music library.  Be careful when uploading video to Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  It is fine to upload links to the video, but do not upload the whole video or else you will get into copyright trouble. There have been incidents where Facebook accounts have been deleted because of copyright violations.

As an example of the use of video, James Rider created a video for CIL that can also be used on its own or in conjunction with a library instruction. See it on the library’s YouTube channel.

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