5 ways to use Pinterest in a school library

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Pinterest is a fantastic tool for school librarians. Here are 5 ideas for using it in your school library:

  1. Create genre boards to aid in readers advisory. You could create an adventure board, true story board, books similar to Geronimo Stilton board and so on.
  2. Use it to find inspiration for displays. As well as beautiful images, Pinterest also has some great DIY ideas.
  3. Make a social media board and pin any tips and tricks you want to try with your library social media account
  4. If  all the kids at school are studying a certain topic, why not create a board full of resources for them to use?
  5. Pinterest has a function where you can make a board secret. This is super handy for planning events, or prepping a board that you’re not quite ready to make public yet. The social media board idea I mentioned above would also be a great candidate for a secret board as it is something that is not strictly relevant to the students/teachers/parents.

I hope you found these ideas helpful, and please let me know if you have any other ideas or experiences you’d like to share.

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Library People to follow on Twitter

Twitter is an awesome tool for professional development. You can follow world leaders in the library industry, keep up with what other libraries in your region are doing, and follow other librarians. Below is a list of the top 10 people we recommend you follow on Twitter to kickstart your professional development via social media.

LIANZA @lianzaoffice

LIANZA President @LIANZAPresident

Sally Pewhairangi @sallyheroes

Auckland Libraries @Auckland_Libs

Orkney Libraries @OrkneyLibrary: With 20.5 K followers, winners of Library of the Year 2015 and a great sense of humour, Orkney Libraries are a must follow. Their tweets are always hilarious and show that you can have a more relaxed approach with social media while still being professional.

Christchurch City Libraries @ChristchurchLib

Laurinda Thomas @laurindathomas

Sarah Gallagher @sarahlibrarina

Girl with a fox tattoo aka Kim Tairi @kimtairi: Kim is a university librarian in Australia and totally rocks Twitter.

Open Culture @openculture: This is a good account to follow for the best cultural & educational media on the web.

Australian Library and Information Association @alianational

American Library Association @alalibrary

CILIP(Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) @cilipinfo: The UK equivalent of LIANZA.

Great examples of school libraries using social media

One of the best ways to get started with using social media and to have a look to see what people are already doing…

  • What are other school libraries doing?
  • What platforms are they using?
  • What information are they posting?
  • How often are they posting?
  • How successful are they?

Of course I am only going to highlight only the bold and the beautiful in this post, but you can learn just as much from the social media that doesn’t work!

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Botany Downs Secondary College Library have had their Twitter page since 2011 and by the looks of it have been regularly posting, with and impressive 7,883 Tweets and 739 followers.  Looking on their library website, they state why they use social media and the multiple platforms they use:

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Massey Primary School Library Facebook is good example of using social media on a smaller scale.  However, by quickly looking at their posts you can see they are regular with their posts, using different types of posts and every time I visit the page the page ‘likes’ have gone up… slow and steady wins the race!

If you are struggling to get going, reach out to these libraries and ask them questions about their use of social media.  You will find that the majority of libraries using social media a sociable bunch (hee hee pun intended!) and more than happy to share their secrets of their success.

Why do you need a social media policy?

document-428331_640As part of your social media strategy, a social media policy is invaluable. This makes sure you have guidelines to work within for your posts – rules about what you can and what you can’t write about in your posts, how to deal with comments on your posts etc.

Here are some great ideas and help for you to get you on your way…

Some examples to be inspired by…

*remember you can have go online and find other library’s social media policy to be inspired by!

Should school libraries be using social media?

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Absolutely!

Social media can be used in many, many, many different ways in your school library….

  • You could use social media to collaborate with other staff. Tools like Google Docs enable you to share and edit documents with other staff. This can be very useful when working on an ongoing project-in fact Julia and I used Google Docs to write our presentation for SLANZA and LIANZA conference.
  • SurveyMonkey is another awesome tool for gathering data. It’s free and very simple to use. The Digital Resources Librarian at Julia’s library used SurveyMonkey to create an assessment of staff’s technical abilities which she then analysed. Julia then used the results to target areas where staff need upskilling.  
  • Can build connections with parents and caregivers especially with the use of Facebook
  • You could use Snapchat for a book treasure hunt around the library!
  • Use Pinterest to create boards around topics that are being taught in class.
  • Twitter is great for making quick, short, snappy announcement such as when the Internet is down, the library is closed, events coming up etc.
  • Create “How do I…” guides for the students to learn how to use the library’s resources using video and publish them on YouTube.

This list is never-ending… use your imagination, push the boundaries and make social media work for you.

Here are some more ideas and inspiration for using social media in schools…

Share with us the different ways you use social media in your school library.  What platform are you using and how?

The Power of the Hashtag

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Hashtags have become an essential part of social media. They were originally used as a way to tag or mark topics in a post on social media. For example I could tweet about a library event without a hashtag which would be perfectly acceptable. But if I added the hashtags #Oamaru #Library and #NZ it could increase the amount of people who would see the tweet, because anyone who searches for those hashtags will see the post. They can also be used as a professional development tool, for example, following the hashtag from a conference to see all the tweets.

Below are some resources that go into more detail about how to use the hashtag like a pro:

The do’s and don’t of how to use hashtags via Hootsuite 

How to use hashtags on Facebook

How to use hashtags on Twitter

How to use hashtags on Instagram

How to craft posts for maximum impact

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It’s hard to stand out among the crowd when your Twitter or Facebook feed is full of amazing people all trying to make their voice heard. Crafting enticing updates, especially when using Twitter, is vital for social media success.

I remember reading a great piece of advice in the book The Librarian’s Nitty- Gritty Guide to Social media by Laura Solomon. She said:

“Always remember that posts have to be written as to be relevant to the reader immediately. If readers can’t quickly figure out what’s in it for them, the post will be judged irrelevant and will be ignored”.

Following this advice will ensure your updates always keep the audience first. It’s also a good idea to get a colleague to have a look at your social media accounts every so often to make sure there is no bias towards any area of the school and that you are providing content for everyone.

Another way to make sure your posts do well is to take a look at your demographics/statistics. Figure out what gender, age range most of your followers belong to. You should be creating posts that target this group interests and what may appeal to them. This doesn’t mean however, that you can focus solely on this group-you need to make sure you also have relevant posts for other audiences.

I hope these tips were helpful!