It’s spring! Birds are singing, trees are blossoming and flowers are blooming. It’s a good time to take the camera outside and take some pictures of your library in all its spring loveliness to put on your library’s website or post on Flickr or Facebook.
Sometimes we’re so focused on taking pictures inside the library, showing our services, displays and programs that we don’t think about stepping outside to take pictures of the library building and grounds. But these outdoor shots show the library as members of our community experience the library every day as they walk by, drive by or come for a visit. And if your photographs showcase trees and plants, be sure to identify them in your title or description — consider it preventative reference!
These seasonal pictures are also nice additions to Flickr groups. Many libraries add their pictures to library groups, like Libraries and Librarians. That’s great, but pictures there will mostly be seen by other librarians. Consider also posting them in regional and local groups, like Boston and Surrounding ‘Burbs or North Shore, Massachusetts. There are also groups for many individual cities and towns — do a Group Search to see what’s out there. Adding your library photos to these groups helps them be seen by members of your own community — just another way to remind them we’re here! And of course you’ll want to feature these pictures on your library website, Facebook page, Pinterest boards, and anywhere else you can think of it.
Just get out there and take those pictures while the trees are still blooming!
[Sightly updated and reposted from 2009]
Here are two sites that make it easy to turn a set of library photographs into a fast and fun video to post on YouTube or share on your library website. How about trying one of these for Massachusetts Library Snapshot Day?
Both of these sites have lots of options for selecting photographs, including pulling in a set from Flickr. I find that it’s easier to create a set of 12 – 18 selected photographs and put them into a set on Flickr to use for the video. Both sites are pretty simple to use, especially if you follow the instructions, and both keep adding new features, so I won’t attempt to document them here, but here’s a couple of examples using some of my library photographs.
Animoto — Animoto makes photo slideshows that somewhat resemble movie trailers. You select the images you want to use, choose a musical clip from the large assortment provided, and then let Animoto create the video. They match the music and the images to create various animated transition effects, and no two videos are alike. In fact, if you don’t like your first attempt, you can let Animoto try again and you’ll get something different. There are other options here — you can mix video clips in, add some words and upgrade to a Pro account for higher quality, longer videos, different styles and to remove the branding.
Animoto Overview — Check this page for more information on how to get started
Pummelvision was designed to do one thing only, but to do it well — it creates a rapid slideshow of a large group of photographs matched to a beat. There are few options here, although you do have two choices for the speed: fast or very fast.
It’s January, and for much of the country that means snow! You may not like to shovel it or drive through it, but snow transforms the landscape, changes the appearance of our buildings, and can make for some beautiful photographs of our libraries!
So grab your camera, put on those mittens and get outside and take some photos of your library. Try for some interesting angles, near and far, including snowdrifts of snow, trees whose branches are delicately frosted in white or outdoor sculptures piled with snow, like this wonderful photograph of Pooh and Eeyore from the Newton Free Library.
trees whose branches are delicately frosted in white. If your library has a Flickr account, post them there, and be sure to add descriptive tags like snow and winter to make thenm findable. Add them to groups — not just library groups, but local and regional groups like North Shore, Massachusetts or New England. Use them to announce that you’re open despite a snowstorm, and to promote any special winter programs and activities.
Look around inside your library, too, for interesting snowy day photographs. Snowy views seen through the library windows? Wet mittens drying on the radiator in the Children’s Room? A snowman-themed craft program? Story hour children staggering in the door all bundled up in snowsuits?
And when you’re tired of the snow, remember the words of Frog’s father in Arnold Lobel’s wonderful Frog and Toad All Year:
Photo credits: Peabody Institute Library, Danvers and Beverly Public Library by Elizabeth Thomsen; Pooh and Eeyore in the Snow by the Newton Free Library.
“When I was small, not much bigger than a pollywog,” said Frog, “my father said to me, ‘Son, this is a cold, gray day but spring is just around the corner!”
Many libraries use Flickr to find photographs to add color and visual interest to their blogs and websites. It’s an incredible resource, but one that you have to use with care. You need to check images to make sure any image you want to use has a Creative Commons license, figure out the correct code to link to the photograph on Flickr, and provide credit to the photographer.
ImageCodr is a tool that makes it easy to check the license and get the correct code to link to any size of an image on Flickr, complete with a Creative Commons license and credit link. You just paste in the URL for any Flickr photopage, and get the license information, and an option to preview any available size and generate the code you need for your page. Here’s a sample of what that page looks like:
The image below was added to this blog post using ImageCodr. The image will inherit borders, fonts, etc., from your site’s stylesheet, and will probably look just fine as-is. However, if there’s something you don’t like, you can adjust the stylesheet and add a class to the div that encloses the code.
The site does add a link to the ImageCodr site, at the end of the photographer’s credit line. You can find it in the example below by hovering over the the space at the end of my name. This is either a subtle or awkward way to provide a linkback to the ImageCodr site.
- ImageCodr — This is the main page
- ImageCodr: Get Code Page — This link goes directly to the page where you can paste in a Flickr photopage URL
- ImageCodr: Search — The search page makes it easy to search Flickr for images with a Creative Commons license
If you were designing a postage stamp for your library, what would it look like? What about historic buildings and other notable places within your community, wouldn’t it be fun to see them featured on postage stamps?
The United States Postal Service does allow you to put your photographs on real postage stamps through their Picture It Postage plan.
But it’s more fun and a lot cheaper just to play around with the idea of designing your own local postage stamps. There’s a free online tool called Framer that makes it easy to create stamp images from your photographs, complete with postmark. It can connect to your Flickr or Facebook account to get your pictures, or you can upload them from your computer.
This might be a fun photo-craft project for children or teens (anyone, really!) These faux stamps could be used as graphics for your library blog or website, or printed out and used as part of a display — could work with a travel display, or one on stamp collecting or perhaps on the lost art of letter-writing.
Historic images, like this one from the New York Public Library’s collection on Flickr, also work well for this. Be sure to change the date for the postmark for these!
Have fun! Framer has many other styles and options, and it’s part of a great collection called fd’s Flickr Toys.
The DC Public Library is using Flickr to run an interesting photography contest. Photographers choose any of the historic photographs from the DCPL Flickr Commons collection, take a new photograph of the same location, and upload it to the DC Then and Now group which the library set up for the contest. Participants can just upload the new picture and add a link to the old, stitch the old and new together, or remix the images in any way they want, encouraging creativity.
The new images must be given a Creative Commons license, which means that the library (or anyone else) will be able to use them within the generous conditions of the license. (There are four versions of the Creative Commons license on Flickr — all require attribution to the photographer, and differ in whether they restrict commercial use and allow for derivative works.)
Participants differ in how they interpret the idea of then-and-now pictures. Some entries are a totally different view of the building or object shown in the original picture, while others try to capture exactly the same view as the original.
My favorite photographs here are the ones by Flickr user tvol,Timothy Vollmer. In addition to adding his matching images to the group, he also adds a three-part image showing his process, and explains his process:
“These three-photo sets show the process I used in taking photographs for the DCPL Labs DC Then & Now group. The top photo is the original from the DCPL Commons set, which I loaded onto my iPhone so I’d know which perspective to shoot. The middle photo is the location of the original represented through Google Street View (also from iPhone). The final photo is the updated photograph I took, captured with a Nikon d90. “
Any library could do a contest like this with their historical images, whether those images are on Flickr, your website or an online digital archive. Using a Flickr group to collect the entries makes it easy for both the participants and the library, and it means that all images will be public and free for others to enjoy. Participants would only need to sign up for a free Flickr account to participate, and any Flickr user can start a group. This is a great way to engage the community in your local history collection!