Social Media and Patron Content

Last Updated Date

Social Media and Patron Content Policy

Revision Control

  • Adopted by the LPLD Board September 25, 2017
  • Revised by the LPLD Board February 25, 2019
  • Revised by the LPLD Board April 24, 2023

Primary Goals

The Lincolnwood Public Library District uses social media to increase awareness of and accessibility to its programs, resources and services in order to serve the cultural, educational, informational and recreational needs of our community. Social media is defined as any website or application which allows users to share information. Social media includes, but is not limited to: blogs, instant messaging tools, social networking sites and wikis.

The Library’s social media sites are intended for sharing information related to our programs, events materials, and services. The Library reserves the right to post, delete, edit, or otherwise modify all content on its social media accounts.The Library does not endorse the opinions expressed in posts on its social media sites. Posts include, but are not limited to, observations, comments, and messages.

Purpose and Use

Appropriate content for postings to the Lincolnwood Public Library District social media sites includes, but is not limited to:

  • Information on library programs and events
  • Current library policies, practices, and new developments
  • News about the library’s collections and acquisitions
  • Publicity and press releases
  • News on regional library systems and their services and activities
  • Library legislative initiatives
  • Professional library association news

Library Sponsored Social Media

Only designated Lincolnwood Library employees can post, delete, edit, or otherwise modify the Library's social media content.Staff should adhere to best practices when posting on behalf of the Library:

  • Social media accounts are not monitored 24/7. Questions and comments shall be responded to within 1-2 business days, during normal business hours of the library. 
  • Staff engaged in social networking activities, as representatives of the Library, shall act and conduct themselves according to the highest possible ethical and professional standards when communicating via the Library’s social media accounts. 
  • Social media content shall be written from the point of view of the “We” which represents the library as a whole and not as an individual staff member. Staff shall refrain from expressing personal views when posting on the library's behalf. 
  • When responding to public comments, staff shall remain professional and respectful of the opinions of those interacting with the Library’s social media accounts, regardless of whether such opinions are positive or negative, provided the opinions are on topic, not offensive, and do not violate any other part of the Library’s social media policy.
  • Staff shall not discuss confidential, work-related matters through social media. 
  • Content that is posted on Library-sponsored social media sites is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and records retention requirements.
  • Disputes between a Library spokesperson and commenter on the Library’s social media accounts shall be avoided. 
  • Responses to comments shall be limited to factual responses, provide information to connect to the appropriate department of the Library, or encourage/direct persons to use appropriate resources to request a Library service. 
  • Staff shall seek direction from their supervisor or Executive Director for guidance if uncertain on how to respond.

Employee Personal Use of Social Media

Library employees may comment on the library’s social media sites from personal accounts during their time outside of work. The library recognizes that public employees do not surrender all their First Amendment rights by reason of their employment and that the First Amendment protects a public employee’s right, in certain circumstances, to speak as a citizen addressing matters of public concern. However, when a public employee makes statements pursuant to his or her official duties, the employee is not speaking as a citizen for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate his or her communications from potential discipline by the library. Employees must be aware that information they display or comments they make on library social media sites may be viewed by other users as representing official library sponsored information or comments.

In their personal use of social media, library employees may not

  • Use the library’s name, logo, slogan/tagline, photos, artwork or other content;
  • Imply that personal postings are endorsed by or represent the views or opinions of the library;
  • Reveal library Trustee, employee, or patron addresses or telephone, e-mail, or other personal information;
  • Include any comments or information harmful to the library district;
  • Reveal the library’s confidential and proprietary information or post information that is still in draft form or is confidential;
  • Make comments about patrons, in general, about specific questions from patrons, or about patron behavior.

Library Trustee Use of Social Media

Library trustees have the same right to self-expression enjoyed by members of the community as a whole when discussing matters of public concern. Trustees should keep in mind the following best practices when posting content about library-related subjects on social media.

  • Make it clear that the views expressed are their personal views and do not represent the views of the Library or other trustees. 
  • Respect the Library’s confidential and proprietary information. Do not post information that is still in draft form or is confidential in any way.  
  • It is best not to make comments or posts with any kind of negative, mocking, condescending, or similarly offensive or critical viewpoint about patrons, Library staff, or Library trustees in general, about specific questions from patrons, or about patron behavior on the Library’s websites and/or social media sites. 
  • No Library Trustee should comment on litigation involving the Library on the Library’s social media accounts, or any personal social media accounts without prior approval from the Library’s Attorney.  
  • Library Trustees should be mindful of the provisions of the Open Meetings Act, in order to avoid discussions regarding Library business by multiple members of the Board on social media, so as not to violate the Act’s provisions regarding these types of communications.  

Posting by the Public on Social Media and Restrictions

The Library’s social media pages are limited public forums. The Library may permit members of the public to comment on Library posts or may disable this feature on any or all Library accounts at any time for any reason. Posting by the public on the Library’s social media sites does not indicate Library endorsement of the ideas, issues, or opinions expressed in those posts. All comments and/or posts made by the public are subject to Library moderation. 

Content deemed not suitable for posting based on the criteria below, shall be retained pursuant to the Library’s records retention schedule along with a description of the reason(s) the specific content was deleted. If a member of the public violates the Library’s social media comment policy guidelines, the Library may, but is not obligated to, take any or all of the following steps:

  • Remove the content.
  • Terminate or block a user/visitor’s access to the applicable Library site, page(s) and/or
  • Report user/visitor to the applicable social media site/platform provider.

Content and comments on the Library’s social media accounts containing any of the following forms of content and postings shall not be permitted:

  • Personal information of any type, including but not limited to names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.
  • Comments or links unrelated to Library events, services, or the particular post being commented on. 
  • Profane language and content. 
  • Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of marital status, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, creed, ancestry, or any other protected category
  • Sexual or exploitative content or links to sexual or exploitative content.
  • Threatening, slanderous, libelous, or defamatory language or content. Personal attacks will not be permitted.
  • Commercial or for-profit postings
  • Charitable solicitations or political campaigning. 
  • Solicitations of commerce. 
  • Commercial, political, or religious messages unrelated ot the Library or its social media postings. 
  • Copyrighted, trademarked or other protected content
  • Disputes concerning library fines and fees, patron accounts, library staff, policies, or procedures
  • Conduct or encouragement of an illegal activity. 
  • Duplicate posts from the same individual. 
  • Gratuitous links to sites that are viewed as spam. 
  • Comments or content that incites violence or refers to self-harm or encouraging others to self-harm. 

Library Use of Patron Created Content

The Library encourages patrons to share original content created in any Library sponsored program, the Digital Media Lab, or by using equipment loaned from the Library. These include, but are not limited to, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, or digital art. Any instance in which a patron shares their work with the library via social media, email, or other electronic transfer, making it accessible to the public, is considered “patron created content” and is subject to this policy.

By sharing patron created content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content. Patrons will be credited if their work is used in any Library related publicity including but not limited to, Library social media channels or the Library newsletter.

The Library reserves the right not to post content or to remove patron created content for any reason, including but not limited to:

  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
  • content that is in violation of any other Library policy


Participation in Lincolnwood Public Library District social media services implies agreement with this and all other library policies.

Active Status of Library Social Media Sites

The library district reserves the right to discontinue its social media sites at any time without notice to participants or subscribers.

Parental Responsibility

The library does not act in the role of parent and bears no responsibility or liability with regard to use of library-related social media by minors. It is the responsibility of parents to monitor their children’s use of social media.


The following disclaimer applies to and will appear on all library social media sites when possible: “Statements on this site do not reflect the views or opinions of the Lincolnwood Public Library District, its board, administration, or staff. The library district accepts no liability and bears no responsibility for the content or use of this site.”


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