Making Library Videos: Types of Videos

What types of videos can library staff create?  Nothing is beyond your imagination.  Let's consider a few options.  At my library, we have made videos in the following categories:

  • Book trailers, which promote particular books;
  • Program trailers, which showcase specific library programs;
  • Promo trailers, which feature certain library events, services, collections, technologies, or other resources;
  • Instructional videos;
  • Local history videos;
  • Music parody videos;
  • Readalouds (of children's books);
  • Singalongs;
  • Children's songs;
  • Puppet shows;
  • Video blogs (vlogs);
  • Readers' advisories;
  • Children's crafts videos (for library programs);
  • Public Service Announcements; and
  • Library board reports.
Sometimes, a single video may include several of these functions.  Would you like to see some examples?

First, a book trailer.

MPL Book Trailer #366
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Story,
by Margriet Ruurs; illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr

Next, a program trailer.

Watercolor Painting Program Trailer (2017),
by Mooresville Public Library

The programs themselves may be videorecorded.


Celebrating a Century of Frank Inn,
by Mooresville Public Library

This promo trailer features a technology service the library provides patrons.


Power Up Charging Stations Promo Trailer,
by Mooresville Public Library

Instructional videos can introduce patrons to new technologies in the library.


How to Use Our New Self-Checkout Kiosks
by "Flat" Cauli Le Chat

Auto Check-in at MPL
by "Flat" Cauli Le Chat

Local history videos can showcase the library's specialized collections or services.


Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Mooresville, Indiana,
(MPL Program Trailer #6)

Music parody videos are a fun way to promote your library.


Go Ask Reference, by Rachel Montgomery & Meghan Adams

Readalouds are some of our most popular videos.


MPL Readaloud #1, by Miss Janet
Goyangi Means Cat, by Christine McDonnell

Singalongs are also quite popular.


Five Little Monkeys (Fingerplay Song), by Miss Michelle @ MPL
(Story Time Rocks! Video Series)

We often combined puppet shows with readers' advisories and children's crafts videos.


The Letter U u, by Miss Jaymi & Sammy the Toucan
(Early Literacy Fun Video Series)

Video blogs (vlogs) can also be readers' advisory videos.


MEG-A-RAE #10:  A Very Special Mystery
Episode, by Miss Meghan & Miss Rachel

Here's another children's craft/readers' advisory/puppet show hybrid.


Miss Michelle @ MPL:  A Special Thankful Episode,
by Miss Michelle & Aggie McPooch

Our most popular video is a children's song.


Animal Alphabet Song Video, by Miss Jaymi

Librarians may use videos to supplement (or replace) written reports to the library board. We have plenty of examples here, but here's one (below) from another library.

GPL Board Report (February, 2013)
by Greenwood (Indiana) Public Library Technical Services

Lastly, a PSA.


MPL 2012 Summer Reading & Programs PSA,
by Miss Jaymi & Sammy the Toucan

As you can see, these videos are a lot of fun to make, and they promote an extensive variety of library collections, programs, services, and resources.  What types of videos would you like to make for your library?

Our most popular videos have each been viewed tens of thousands of times (our Animal Alphabet Song video has over 300,000 views).  Collectively, we currently have 765 videos (as of today) on our YouTube channel, which, if you don't mind us bragging a little, compares to 651 videos on the New York Public Library's YouTube channel.  Of course, NYPL's videos are MUCH, MUCH better than ours, and they now have over 9,400 YouTube subscribers (as compared to our present 688 subscribers). Their videos have been viewed over 2.5 million times, compared to our 1.04 million at last count.  Still, it's not bad for a township public library.  We serve a population of roughly 15,000.  I'm pretty sure NYPL's service district is a bit larger.

My point here goes beyond mere boasting; our experience shows that even a small public library with virtually no resources can make successful videos that the public watches and seems to enjoy.  If we can do it, anybody can.  All you need is a dedicated staff willing to put forth the effort.  The rewards are engaged patrons.

But there's something much more extensive operating here.  Having a video channel on YouTube or Vimeo reaches a worldwide audience.  Your library can develop a global footprint using such online social media platforms.  My library's combined social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Slideshare, Flickrblogs, and others), along with our website, has reached well over two million people since 2010, when we began our social media initiative.  Everyone who visits your online sites is a patron you are serving. Those statistics count.

Next time we'll discuss where you may find free, share-alike images to use in your library videos.

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