Social Media & Libraries Graphics Workshop

Social Media Graphics

Workshop Padlet -  Share resources, tips, tools and questions.

Workshop Slides (PDF)


Palette Generators

Upload an image and the tools create a palette of related colors

Facebook Groups, Instagram Tags, Tumblr



Taking your own photos is always the most personal way of sharing what’s going on in your library. But when you need a particular type of image for posters, web graphics, etc., check for Creative Commons licensed photos.  Many images are licensed CC0 which means you can do whatever you like with the photos without giving credit/attribution. But do pay careful attention and give credit where credit is due (and required!).  Libraries and schools have been sued for misuse of images.


There are tons of photo editing tools for Windows and Mac computers, some work offline on the desktop, others are browser-based. And there are even more apps for your iOS and Android devices. If you’d like to share your favorites, add them to our workshop padlet.

This is a list of some of the most popular (and mostly free!) tools.  Like most free tools, there are premium accounts for some of these. Check your app store for device specific apps.

  • Photoshop Express Editor – Free online editor with tons of editing options. Perhaps more than you need for most projects. But good to know about for those times when you need something unusual.
  • Pixlr Web Apps – Includes the Pixlr Express and Pixlr Editor and  The Pixlr Express tool is for quick touchup and special effects is similar to BeFunky and PicMonkey and the web app looks very much like the mobile apps, so one learning curve does it all. The Pixlr Editor is a full blown editor with tons of options, more like Photoshop and other dedicated photo editors. They also have a desktop application which costs $15/year.
  • BeFunky – Good photo editor and collage maker. Also has options to design quote graphics and more. Upgraded account $35 year.
  • PicMonkey – Similar features to BeFunky. Just a matter of personal choice which one you might choose. Upgraded account $40 year.
  • FotoJet  – another great photo editor. Also makes collages.
  • Snapseed - Google’s free iOS and Android app. Another very popular photo editing tool.
  • VSCO Cam – Free iOS and Android app. Take photos & edit existing photos. Optimized for various devices to help you get the best photos possible.
  • Facebook help page on taking 360 photos  – Cameras and apps for taking panorama, immersive photos
  • Clipping Magic – Handy for removing backgrounds.
  • 104 Photo Editing Tools You Should Know About – Wowza….


It’s important to make sure your images are the right size for the social media site you’re posting too. They all have their own most-favored size. Some of the photo-editing and image creation tools have resizing options. But for a quick, free resizing, these tools are great.

  • Social Image Resizer Tool  – Upload your image, select the type of image you want to create. Use the cropping outline that appears over your image to select the area you want to include. Also lets you select from JPG, PNG, GIF and ICO file formats.
  • Landscape by Sprout Social – Similar to previous tool. Upload photo, select and adjust the image. Can also select the “auto-crop” option that quickly creates a whole bunch of images for all the services and downloads them automatically.


Create social media graphics, quote images, etc. These tools provide templates, background images, text options, image icons and more. They differ in what resources and features are available for free, how much you can create, storage space, sharing options, etc.  Try the free features and get a feel for how they work. If you want to dig deeper, sign up for free trials of the paid accounts.


  • Pablo – Owned by BufferApp
    • Pricing: Completely Free
    • Limited editing options, but plenty of backgrounds and fonts to make quick images.
    • Includes resizing for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Canva
    • Pricing: Free & $10/month
    • Free account – Can’t resize images. Access to free images, designs, etc. only. Pay for individual items as needed.
    • Canva for Work – $10 month, access to all assets and image resizing.
    • In addition to social media graphics, Canva has layouts for posters, signs, cards and more.
    • Technology Tuesday – 4 Ways to Use Canva in your library covers some tips on using it for more than social media graphics.
  • Snappa
    • Pricing: Free & $10/month
    • Free – Limited access to templates, but full access to other resources (backgrounds, effects, text, icons). Can only create a limited number of images per month. Includes handy resizing feature. Can’t save work, just share and download.
    • Pro account – Full access, unlimited images, save and store your work.
    • Video Tutorials on Vimeo
    • Feels simpler to use than Canva.


  • Search for existing gifs and use as is or modify gifs created by others.
  • Make your own from existing videos
    • Extract a clip from a youtube video or other video and turns it into a gif.
  • Make your own from your own videos, screenshots or photos
  • Use photo editing tools for special effects:
    • Oregon State Library example : Create image layers in something like Photoshop. Make copy of the background. Erase background, leaving the boat. In each image the boat moves a little bit forward
  • Fun promo for a movie at a library (on tumblr)
  • Smithsonian gifs – tumblr account
  • GIF It Up New Zealand
  • Gettin’ Giffy with It – Some fun library examples here. (Presentation from NYLA 2015  Meredith Powers, Dana Haugh, Laura Costello)


  • ImgFlip
    • Clip from a YouTube video:  Add the URL and fine tune from there.
    • Create from uploaded images (jpg, gif, png)
    • Share from imgflip site and/or download
    • Choose Private option if you don’t want your gifs saved on ImgFlip – download and share from your computer.
    • Free/Pro – pro $10/month.
  • EZGif Maker
    • Free, easy to use, no registration. Upload your own photos, adjust speed, animate and download.
    • Has a setting to limit the number of times the image loops.
  • Giphy 
    • Great for search.
    • Can also create gifs from youtube or other videos or uploaded static gif format images. No jpg images.
    • Edit existing gifs. Add your own caption.


Fun library (and other) GIFs


  • Boomerang – App captures a few static shots and make them look like a very short video. Loops back and forth. Part of the Instagram brand.
  • Hyperlapse – Time lapse video. Record motion and app compresses it into a fast video. (iOS only) Part of the Instagram brand.
  • Instagram Video –  1 minute of video. Record all at once, or in shorter chunks. Very easy. example:




  • Very private, need to add someone to see their content. Might be hard to get library users to add your account.
  • Currently they have much more fun filters and editing options than Instagram.
  • Casual photos, since most of them disappear quickly. Fun, mundane, everyday – spiced up with emojis and filters.
  • Harder to figure out!
  • Younger audience.
  • SnapChat Stories - A collection of images that stick around for 24 hours and can be viewed multiple times, unlike regular SnapChat photos that disappear more quickly.
  • SnapChat & The School Library: A Love Story
  • The ultimate guide on how to use Snapchat, explained by a 23-year-old – Trying to figure out SnapChat? This should help!
  • Schools that SnapChat


  • Take a photo, apply photo filters (or not), share.
  • Accounts can be private, only the people you connect with can see your photos.
  • Your library account should be public.
  • Since the content is public, it’s easier to find than on Snapchat.
  • Hashtags and location based search aid findability.
  • Allows for commenting and liking.
  • Owned by Facebook, there is a new web-based profile page for each member. (eg: Polly’s profile page)
  • Photos can be also be quickly shared to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Emphasis is on great photography, though there’s a lot of terrible photography there too.
  • Images remain until you delete them
  • Instagram Stories -  In August 2016, Instagram took on SnapChat by adding a “stories” feature.  Short videos and photos can be added to your story and they’ll disappear in 24 hours. Simpler to use than SnapChat, but currently lacking some of the crazy, fun SnapChat filters.
  • Stories offers a few filters, swipe the picture screen to see them.
  • Upload existing photos to Stories by swiping down on the screen. Limited to photos from the last 24 hours!
  • Should You Use Instagram Stories for Your Business? – Great summary of how Instagram and SnapChat differ and who is using them.
  • Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories: What You Need to Know
  • Instagram Stories: Tips for using Instagram’s new photo story feature – tips on using Stories editing features.


  • Stories work best if you actually have a story to tell!
  • Think of a sequence of images that will tell your story. Words to add to the story. Use the highlighter tool to squiggle behind the text to help it stand out. Use video and audio too. Mix it up, be casual, don’t turn it into a huge production!
  • Save the images you’ve taken and use them elsewhere. Create a gif out of them!


Knowing how to take a screenshot is handy in many different situations – to share tips on how to use a website, to create a custom image to upload to Pinterest, to capture an image for a presentation slidedeck, create posters, add images to web-based projects and much much more.

Windows Screenshot Tips

  • Printscreen key on keyboard – creates an image of the whole screen and puts it in your clipboard, from there you can paste it into any software that will let you paste from the clipboard
  • Alt-Printscreen – Takes a screenshot of the active window.
  • Snipping tool – Free tool built into windows, outline a freeform area, select a rectangular or freeform area, various options for saving.
  • Snagit from Techsmith – ($) Lots of features not available in free tools. Mac & PC desktop application. Free trial. Educational & individual pricing.

Macintosh Screenshot Tips

  • Command-shift-3 – whole screen is copied to your clipboard
  • Command-shift-4 -portion of the screen is copied to the clipboard
  • Grab App – more options – one handy feature is a timer so you can set up what you want to show before the shot is captured.
  • Snagit from Techsmith – ($) Lots of features not available in free tools. Mac & PC desktop application. Free trial. Educational & individual pricing.

Browser Extensions

These tools capture screenshots of what you see in your browser screen. Some are specific to a particular browser and/or operating system.

  • Awesome Screenshot – Chrome, Safari, Firefox browser add-on. Options capturing whole web page, visible part or selected part. Includes cropping, editing, markup. Save online, in your Diigo account, Google Drive or to the desktop.
  • Lightshot – Another browser add on, with similar editing, markup and cropping option. Most unusual feature is option to search Google for similar images right from the screenshot editing window. Handy.
  • Snagit for Chrome – Free version of Snagit for Chromebooks and the Chrome browser with simple editing options. Sends screenshots to your Google Drive account.
  • How to take a screenshot of your iPad or iPad Mini – Push the Power and Home buttons at the same time. The screenshot will appear in your iPad photostream.
  • Taking a screenshot on Android devices varies from device to device. Google it!

Misc Screenshot Tips

  • Saving an image – don’t forget the simple trick of using your mouse “right click’ to to download an image or save it to your clipboard.
  • Snaggy – Copy an image, then paste to a box on the Snaggy page. Snaggy uploads the image to the web and gives you a URL to share the image. Very handy.
  • Snip – Microsoft tool for taking a screenshot, annotating it and sharing it.
  • Handy tips for multiple platforms at Take a Screenshot



Software Deals:
Sometimes you’ll find great deals on pro versions of your favorite tools. Check these sites or subscribe to their updates.