Week 5: The Librarian’s YouTube Toolkit

Alright, this week is going to be a little bit more practical than the others: I’m here to introduce the (Librarian’s YouTube) Toolkit. 

Whereas most of this blog is my take on libraries, YouTube, and the various topics relating to them, I’m putting the Toolkit together to give a little bit more order to various resources that I think librarians and libraries could benefit from having in aggregate. The Toolkit isn’t exhaustive, and I don’t think it ever will be (how do you even scope anything organized around a video platform that takes in over 350 hours of video every minute to be exhaustive?), but 1) it’s a start, and 2) it’s Open Source, so hopefully that means it has a chance at being helpful.

In deciding what goes into the Toolkit, I wanted to start with the topics I know or already have information on. Some of these things you’ve probably seen be touched on in past posts (unless this is your first post, in which case, oh boy are you in for a treat), and some of them are things that I’ve had in my head for a while and will hopefully get to before the end of this Directed Study. But in any case, if there’s a resource you’d like to see, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

What’s in the box?

So, here’s what’s in the box:

a reading list

… Featuring books, articles, and other things of value that a budding-on-YouTube librarian might find useful. Likely I’ll break these out in some way, either by topic or by form, but in any case it’ll be somewhere in format between an annotated bibliography and a works cited. Know of something that should be in it? Let me know!

a channel guide

… That points libraries toward YouTube channels and content that might be useful to them, along with some context as to why that’s the case. People worry about how to determine what’s good and what isn’t on YouTube, so at the very least, this will let you know that a given channel has been vetted by someone educated in LIS, and all the murky ethical things that go along with that. And yeah, I’ll take requests.

a genre guide

… That touches on some of the different formats that exist on YouTube and what goes into making them. This is a callback to my Week 3.1 post, the Genre Display Case, but I plan on expanding it to a little bit more than just a description, its potential for libraries, and an example. I’ll also try and talk about what goes into making each one, so that y’all know what you might have to commit to for a particular style.

an equipment guide

… If your institution decides to put itself onto YouTube, and you stay at it for a while (dare I say, get good at it), you might want to eventually up your game. So when you decide to write that project or grant proposal, this’ll be a place to get a feel for what you should be looking for and how much it costs. I’ll try to be as non-biased as I can, and if I ever monetize any links (everyone’s gotta eat), I’ll make it obvious.

a list of tutorials

… Let’s just go ahead and throw a particular myth into the fire right now: millennials do not have an inherent draw to using technology or seeing its appeal any more than boomers or gen-X’ers or any other “generation” has an aversion to it. If you want to get started with online video in your library, no matter what your age, background, or favorite color, I’ll try and make sure that there’s something here for you.

a list of libraries on YouTube

… That highlights the work of others in the field, so that folks know who and where to reach out to, if they decide they don’t want to go it alone (or if they just want some inspiration). This is a big one, and very unphilosophically, a cornerstone to what gives YouTube its appeal: YouTube is best when it’s social. If librarians in different parts of the world can start seeing what others are doing, and they’re willing to talk to each other, then why not tackle the same problems together? I see this (aspirationally) ending up as something akin to alimb (archives, library, and information mentor base), where if you want help, you have a jumping-off point. It really depends on folks being willing to help each other though, so we’ll see how it goes. YouTube being what this is, it’ll likely start off with the big household names, but I hope that folks from all kinds of institutions are willing to throw their hats in.


Oh wow,” I can hear you saying, “this is great and amazing! Where can I find it?” First of all, thank you that’s very kind 😊.

Second of all, it’s in the navigation menu up top! Scroll up once you’re done reading through this post, poke around to see how it’s laid out, and let me know whatever feedback you’ve got, if it pleases you.

Third of all, it’s also all very aspirational. I have big plans for it, but it’s going to take some time to fill out, organize, and make into something that’s broadly useful. Heck, I’m even thinking about how different parts of it might be better served by not-WordPress platforms, but that’s going to be a major investment in time, and frankly, outside of the scope of this directed study.

So that’s what to expect. This week’s post is a little bit shorter, but I feel okay about that because I’m putting a not-small effort into filling the Toolbox out/organizing/etc. If there’s something you’d like to see in it, by all means let me know!

And until next time, don’t forget to ask questions.

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