Libraries and YouTube

Why aren’t more libraries using YouTube?

Maybe I’m a bit impartial to YouTube since I just completed the social media project and my social media was YouTube. It was just curious to me that libraries use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and not YouTube. Well its a simple explanation to it-YouTube is probably one of the hardest social media sites to maintain.

Even for regular companies who make a lot of money, they still shy away from YouTube. It’s not wonder because YouTube is a fickle site which has videos go viral one day and the next day its no longer cool. And not only that-a company has to make videos every week or every month to keep people still interested in their channel. Videos aren’t as easy as people think and it takes a lot of views in order to make money. A million viewed video usually earns a YouTuber around 1,000-2,000. And it takes a lot of work to reach a million views.

I checked out The New York Public Library Youtube channel and they have a lot of cool stuff on it. They have a section on library stories where people talk about their experiences in a library and the personal stories about the library and their love of reading. They also have live shorts from authors and public speakers. They even have videos that tour the library and you can look at the different rooms inside the library as a virtual tour. There is so much great things on it but the channel only has about 9,000 subscribers which isn’t a lot in YouTube numbers.

I checked out other library YouTube channels such as Chicago and Seattle public library and they have a lot of great videos on it but very few subscribers and views. So is it worth it? To put a lot of time and work into a YouTube channel and get no rewards back?

The biggest success story I heard was when NYPL contacted a company called Improv Everywhere to create a video a prank to take place in the Rose Main Reading Room, which was featured in the original Ghostbusters film. The video urged supporters of the library to write to city officials. At the end of the campaign, over two million people viewed the video, and $27 million was restored into the budget. To date, there are over eight million views of the video, making this video campaign entitled, “Don’t Close the Books on Libraries”  a huge success.

But here is another view that people tend not to notice. The view count may be low but the channel might be popular or useful to the people around the area where the library is based. So it may not be going viral but if the videos are useful for the people around the area then the library may have won after all.

I recommend making a YouTube channel for a library but only if the library is a big library in a major city. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort to make videos so this social media site wouldn’t be feasible for libraries in rural areas. Also remember that people go on YouTube to be entertained or educated. I think making videos that hit both of those purposes will be the most successful.

Have a nice day and keep creating!


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