Sunday, September 11, 2016

Using Facebook and Twitter to Promote Your Library/Classroom

Hello fellow teachers, librarians, and teacher librarians!

The use of social media in schools is nothing new these days. I decided to take a look at how school libraries are using these powerful mediums to connect with their students.  I did some research on various school libraries at different education levels.  I have included my insights on each in the following commentary.

Mission High School Library- Mission, TX

Mission High School uses their Facebook page to promote reading. They often post inspirational quotes and images that encourage students to read for different reasons. The library also posts pictures of new books that have arrived in order to increase interest in their collection. They post current events of importance like the death of Elie Wiesel. Their Facebook page is relatively new having just been opened this year. There are not very many posts per month and almost no comments on any of the posts. They have a few ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ on some of the posts.

Larson Elementary School Library- Wasilla, AK

The librarian at Larson Elementary uses her Facebook page to share the programs that are going on in her library at any given time. She asks for volunteers and maybe supplies that she might need. She also shares books she is reading and displays she has created. She also posts about books and programs available at the public library in her town.  You can see that she has a lot of participation from the community because of the amount of comments she has on her posts, as well as, the ‘likes’ and ‘love’.

Oak Grove Middle School- Hattiesburg, MS

This library mostly posted memes about reading.  There were some pictures of the librarian with authors at different festivals. She also uses it to make announcements about programs that she is having in the library, but these posts are less frequent.  There are not many comments or reactions to the posts.

Cummons School Community Library- Cummuns, South Australia

This library is a little bit different than the others. It is both a school and community library.  The librarians post about programs and services that are offered by the library for their students and community members.  They also post pictures of their displays, the winners of their contests, and new books to pique interest. There is not much activity on the site from the community.

It is evident to me through my research that a Facebook page can be an advantage to a library when it is used effectively. I discovered that the elementary school used their Facebook in a much more effective way than the other schools. There seemed to be more interest from the school community and the librarian seemed to make more school related posts instead of just posting reading memes. I believe a library’s Facebook page is only as good as the librarian that is promoting and running it. If the librarian is able to get the community invested in the page, the library will really benefit from the positive exposure.

Next, I will explore some librarian/teacher Twitter fanatics.

Kathy Schrock (@kathyschrock) is quite possibly the “go-to” educational technology guru for librarians and teachers alike. She is very active on Twitter and boasts an amazing 55.5 thousand followers. I really loved her recent tweet on using Pok√©mon Go in the classroom. Being able to tap into something that students are pretty much obsessed with is an excellent way to make the “real world” connection fun and engaging.  Many of her tweets include links to helpful blog posts and wonderful resources that can be used by all. I definitely recommend you follow her and start collecting some awesome ideas.

Linda W. Braun (@lbraun2000) is a learning consultant, educator, librarian and YALSA past president. She mostly tweets about technology and educational practices. I followed her link to a research paper on how to get girls more engaged in the STEM fields. It was very informative and presented good ideas on how to get girls more involved in science and math fields by appealing to their interests. Another tweet was about subways offering free e-books for commuters. I also recommend following Linda Braun as she has many interesting tweets that will benefit you as a librarian or teacher.

Buffy J. Hamilton (@buffyjhamilton) is a writing teacher that used to be a librarian. She offers many resources and strategies in her tweets about writing. Mrs. Hamilton uses her Twitter to also communicate with students and the school community.  She is also quite funny when she quips about the ups and downs of her teaching and personal life. She does this much more so than the others I mention.

The Daring Librarian (@GwynethJones) Gwyneth Jones is an avid blogger and Twitter user. She uses Twitter to promote new books and encourage reading. She also promotes educational technology that can be used in the classroom and in the library. A lot of her retweets also involve programming ideas, projects and contests that would promote reading.

Jim Lerman (@jimlerman) is a parent, teacher, and author that is a big proponent of technology in education. He uses his Twitter to share the newest technology and how it can be used in the classroom. He also uses his to collect articles and ideas that he then shares on Twitter. I find the format a little user-unfriendly because you have to search through the entire page in order to find anything. I prefer a format like Pinterest that allows a search option.

Between the two social media sites, I would prefer to use Twitter to advertise my library. It is easier to follow a page on Twitter without feeling like you’re divulging your personal life. I feel like people are less likely to link themselves on Facebook because of privacy issues. Twitter, however, is slightly more impersonal and makes people feel like they have more privacy and are more protected.