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Capture the Colors

Peabody Institute Library of Danvers

If your library is surrounded by trees bursting with color like this one is, get out there with your camera and capture the beauty while you have the chance, and share your best shots on your library website or on your Facebook, Fickr, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or other accounts. Or on all of them!

Photograph of the Peabody Institute of Danvers

Spring Library Photographs

Swampscott Public LibraryIt’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!

Peabody Institute Library of DanversThese 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]

Two Sites that Turn Your Library Photos into Videos

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.

Winter Photographs of Your Library

Peabody Institute Library : Danvers, Massachusetts

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!

Pooh and Eeyore in the snowSo 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.

Beverly Public Librarytrees 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:

“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!”

Photo credits: Peabody Institute Library, Danvers and Beverly Public Library by Elizabeth Thomsen; Pooh and Eeyore in the Snow by the Newton Free Library.

Add Flickr Pictures to Your Site Using ImageCodr

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:
ImageCodr Sample.

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

Fun Fake Stamps from Your Photos

Beverly Public Library StampIf 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.

Balch House StampBut 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.

Sample of a postage stamp made using a Flickr Commons photoHistoric 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.