Social Media Guidelines


The Library is committed to providing an active learning environment to support the information needs of the CSUSM community. This document defines acceptable use parameters of social media for all authorized faculty and staff of the CSUSM Library. Social media from the Library is intended to supplement the means of communication currently in place for press, news, events, and announcements.

Social media can be defined as any web-based application, site, software, or account created and maintained by the Library that facilitates an environment for library staff and library users to engage and discuss current events, items of interest, or campus related subjects/issues. Some examples of social media outlets are:

Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.     


The CSUSM Library actively participates in social media to:

  • Reach out and engage the students, staff, and faculty of CSUSM.
  • Cultivate an open, professional, and responsive dialog with our users.
  • Promote the value and importance of the services offered by the faculty and staff of the CSUSM Library.
  • Showcase library events and campus happenings.
  • Promote research tips and useful tools for scholarship.

Basic Administration

The development of the Library’s social media presence is a collaborative effort that is moderated by more than one person. Make sure a colleague has access rights so monitoring and uploading of content is a shared task. Library faculty and staff will work together to periodically assess the role of each social media site. All library faculty and staff are encouraged to contribute content. However, there will be one or two library faculty or staff that are the designated editors for Library social media program. Student workers may assist with crafting content.

Posts on social media sites should be professional in tone and in good taste. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post—names, profile images, and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole. Be respectful of CSUSM, its services, employees, students, and constituents. Understand that social media is public, permanent, and retrievable. Your messages can be read by anyone, even those not on your friend/subscriber list. Similar to university email, there should be no expectation of privacy.

Social media websites each have their own terms and conditions and/or policies, all library faculty and staff must adhere to these policies if they choose to use the social media platforms. Not following these policies/terms may lead to the removal of your social media account and may adversely affect or reflect poorly upon CSU San Marcos. Please keep up to date on your social media platform policies/terms.

Best Practices

  • Make titles and messages brief, but add value: Post content that will be useful, interesting, or engaging to your audience. Don’t just post several links to other items.
  • Before posting, check facts, cite sources, and check spelling and grammar. Do not use copyrighted photos and/or images.
  • Post regularly. Simply having a presence isn't enough — you need to populate the site with good content. We recommend a maximum of one post per day on weekdays (ie: up to five posts per week), with at least one post per week as a minimum.
  • Ask questions in your posts. Don't just talk at your readers — engage them. Ask questions in some of your posts and see what kind of response you get via comments from fans. 
  • Monitor your page, and keep up with the conversation. Regularly read all the posts on your page, including those posted by others. Sometimes, students will ask important questions via social media rather than phone or email. Make sure to find these questions and answer them directly on the page.
  • Don’t use all upper case letters when writing. This is considered shouting.
  • Protect confidential and proprietary information. Social computing blurs lines between internal and external communications. Sensitive information must never be posted. Anything posted through the Library social media program must comply with the CSUSM Responsible Use Policy:
  • Don't censor negative comments. You may see students or community members post negative comments from time to time. Use your best judgment as to whether you want to try to reply officially and respectfully, or simply ignore the comment.
  • Report potentially illegal content to CSUSM campus police and library administration.

Guidelines on Posts by the Library

The Library will not post items or comments that are obscene, racist, derogatory, or similarly objectionable in their content:

  • Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language
  • Potentially libelous statements
  • Plagiarized copyrighted material
  • Commercial promotions or spam

If an image is posted, and is not owned by CSUSM or the Library, the image will link directly back to the original site. If the image is not from a website, then permission will be requested from the copyright holder before the image is posted.

“Friending/Following” – Who Does the Library Follow and Why?

The Library’s social media presence is open for interaction with all members of the public. The Library will accept links, followers or “friends” from everyone except:

  • Users who have violated the site’s policies
  • Users who post any inflammatory, offensive, or exploitative materials
  • Unofficial CSUSM-identified sites

The Library will “follow back” any fans or followers that are:

  • Official CSUSM-identified sites
  • Library or academic-related
  • Non-commercial in nature
  • Of possible interest to the CSUSM community


The Library does not collect, maintain, or otherwise use personal information stored on any third party site in any way other than to communicate with users on that site. The Library may contact you to seek permission to use your content in another forum, but will never do so without explicit permission and credit.  Users may remove themselves at any time from the Library’s “friends” or “fan” lists. Users should be aware that third party websites have their own privacy policies and should proceed accordingly.

The Library reserves the right to remove any posts or comments. Reasons for removal include, but are not limited to: inappropriate language, solicitations or spam, or off-topic comments.

The Library assumes no liability regarding any event or interaction created or posted by any participant in any library-sponsored social media service, and does not endorse content outside the “pages” created by Library faculty or staff. These guidelines only govern the official Library social media sites and not the personal accounts of faculty and staff.

The Library is not responsible or liable for content posted by subscribers in any forum, message board, or other social media resource, and such subscriber comments do not reflect the opinions and/or positions of CSUSM, the Library, its administrators, or its employees.

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