On Feb. 12, St. Mary’s Library went onto Twitter to announce the start of the race.
“So, in a friendly reminder for spirit week, we started a campaign to get more Instagram followers than our WCC libraries," the tweet said. "We’re small but mighty and have some catching up to do! If you don’t follow us on Instagram, do so!”
This tweet was posted at 11:31 a.m.
In the same day, about two hours later, Gonzaga's Foley Center Library replied on Twitter accepting the challenge:
“The St. Mary’s Library called us out! Here’s another way to look at WCC library Instagram followers :) Zags may be #2 for basketball, but our library could be #1 with some help!! Hit us with a follow and tag your friends. THIS IS WAR! #SkoZags #ZagPride.”
Anji Mertens, the Library IT and Web Manager at GU, said that it is a great opportunity for all libraries to promote their social media platforms and to potential increase the amount of followers.
“I think St. Mary’s presented it in a friendly rivalry to try to get libraries into the limelight, as well as the basketball team," Mertens said. "I think all-around it's a great thing for us."
For the next few weeks, many WCC schools used their social media platforms to gain followers. By Feb. 23, the top five schools with the most followers were (in order): University of San Francisco, Brigham Young University, GU, University of San Diego and SMC according to the BYU library’s Instagram page.
USF Gleeson Library, the winner of this challenge, started with 3,567 followers and gained 88 followers for a total of 3,656 followers.
BYU Harold B. Lee Library began with 3,051 followers and gained 498 followers by the end of the challenge. USD Copley Library only gained 11 followers by the end of the challenge, having 525 followers in total. SMC took fifth place with 941 followers, having gained only 82 followers by the end of the race.
The Foley Library at GU ended the race with 1,291 followers, adding 194 new followers to their Instagram page.
According to Mertens, the Foley Library tries to highlight the history of the university as well as the resources the library has on many of their platforms. She said the Foley Library has a lot to offer students, not just books. Because of technology, the library has historical resources, digital archives and tons of online sources for students to use.
“We are always trying to get that word out, but sometimes the students think of the library as book-oriented,” Mertens said. “I think social media is a great way to promote a lot of the different things the library has to offer.”
The Foley Library holds various events to bring more students to the library. Every fall the library has the “Foley Fling," which is a welcoming party for students to come in the library, and is always promoted on their social media page. During midterms and finals, therapy dogs come in to help comfort and de-stress students.
Ana Lamo, a senior and an international exchange student, loves to come to the library. She comes at least three times a week. She says the library brings a lot of great events that could help bring more people into the library.
“The events are something different, new and exciting. So keep doing them,” Lamo said.
The Foley Center Library can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @gonzagalibrary. On their social media pages, the library is always looking to seek new followers and encourage students to comment on their posts.
“Not everyone on campus knows that we have a social media presence and what we do,” Mertens said. “We are looking for creative ideas from students on campus to find ways to increase our followers on all our platforms.”