Tag Archives: high school

Social Media in the Library

Okay…time for a hot topic. This has been on my mind for quite some time, and I think it’s necessary to dive right in.

Where does social media fit into my library? Well, I honestly don’t know because my school district blocks almost all forms of social media. As part of my evaluation this year, I am supposed to effectively communicate with the students in my building. I have started doing a staff newsletter and a student newsletter through Smore. The staff edition is emailed to the staff and is well-received. The only way to communicate my student edition to the students is through My Big Campus, which is our learning management system. I have advertised for kids to join the Media Center’s My Big Campus Page and approximately 20 students have done so. However, they get tired of all of the email notifications, so they turn the notifications off. This means that they have no idea when I post a newsletter. In December only 5 students viewed my newsletter. The amount of time it took to make the newsletter was inversely proportional to the number of students who actually read it.

So, I decide to do some research.

1. I found this article by Andrew Watts and shared it with a few students. They said, for the most part, it nailed their views on social media.

2. The Pew Research Center recently released their Social Media Update for 2012-2014. While Facebook seems to be leveling off, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are still increasing in usage.

3. In many Media Center Newsletters posted online, you will find links to the Media Center Twitter and Facebook accounts.

4. Naomi Bates has a great blog that explores this topic.

5. I watched a webinar through Follett Learning titled “RU Ready 2 Trust ’em? Why Access is Essential to Developing Citizenship Among Millennials”. Great information!

Now that I’ve done a bit of research, I am sad. Of all the things I found, it seems that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are my best options in reaching the teen masses. Alas, my district blocks them all.

The filter, my friends, is not the issue. The issue is with the person/people that choose the filter settings. Some of the reasoning falls back on eRate. So…time to research federal eRate funding.

Aha! It’s not eRate’s fault, either!! According to E-Rate Central, the FCC wants schools to be Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant by providing Digital Citizenship training for our students. In order to effectively teach Digital Citizenship, social networking sites should remain unblocked. That makes sense. How can you teach students about these sites if the sites are blocked?!

So, what are my options? I really don’t know yet. It remains to be seen. I’ve gone to our technology committee, but their hands are tied. I’ve gone to my principals and their hands are tied. I have talked a bit with our Head of Technology, but there was no response. I will probably get a negative mark on my evaluation this year for not continuing to market the library through student newsletters, but I need to use my time wisely. I can spend hours creating a beautiful newsletter and only have 5 students read it (one of which is my son who is forced to read it to make sure all of the links work), or I can use my time to help individual students as they come into the library.

I work for a great school district, but we are not infallible. In our effort to protect students and staff, are we also limiting them? Are our preconceived notions regarding the negative impacts of social media overriding the positive impact social media could have in our schools? Are we scared to interact with students based on the few crazies that take the interaction too far? What are we missing here?




Currently reading: The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

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Another school year is at a close. The seniors have just practiced their graduation walk-through and have done their traditional “running through the halls”. The graduation ceremony will take place tonight with Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background. There will be your run-of-the-mill flowery speeches along with songs sung by the choir. Parents will have tears in their eyes while staff members will be silently cheering in their seats.

I have compiled a list of “What I Will Not Miss” and “What I Will Miss” from this year’s graduating seniors.

What I Will Not Miss

  •  The many ways in which they manage to get out of class in order to meet up with their friends or boyfriend/girlfriend in the back of the library.
  • Knowing that, while it is important to carry a driver’s license, it is seemingly not important to carry their school ID cards . This forces us to type in their 9-digit student ID whenever they want to check out something.
  • Finding new and ingenious ways to get past the school’s Internet filter. They like to do this while in the library.
  • That one student who, since 7th grade, has yet to hand in a book on time. You know who I’m talking about. I’m sure there’s at least one in every school. The goal was to make it to graduation with all of her books turned in before the ceremony. She made me proud. In spite of her books being 23 days overdue, they were handed in 2 days before graduation. (insert sigh of relief here)

What I Will Miss

  • The random senior who pops their head in just to say hi. Some of them are strong readers, and some of them are not. But at some point in time, the library became a safe and welcoming place for them.
  • The senior who says, “You know what? I’m going to miss you. I bet the librarian at college isn’t going to catch me before class with a book and say, ‘You’ve just got to read this. I’ve checked it out to you already. Tell me what you think when you’re done with it.'”
  • The mother of a senior who lets me know that she had to get her son’s public library card renewed because of me. He got hooked on a 4-book series and didn’t want to wait for the last book to come in. He was working after school and couldn’t make it to the public library in time, so he begged his mom to get it for him. She said it was the first time he had read books for fun since he was in 6th grade.
  • The seniors who decided to get together on the weekend to see a movie that was based on a favorite book. However, they made sure that everyone in the group had read the book before going to see the movie. On Monday morning they came into the library to tell me that “the movie was okay, but the book was better”.

Looking back on these lists, I’m leaning heavily toward the things I will miss. It was great to see these kids as they were growing up. A few of them will come to visit next fall. Some will stay in the community while others move as far away as possible. Whatever the case may be for them, it was a great ride while it lasted. Hopefully they will learn to stay at their jobs without feeling the need to sneak out every other hour. Hopefully they will have their ID on them at all times. Hopefully the computer hackers will find better ways to channel their technological prowess. And hopefully they will get all of their things handed in on time, library books included.


Currently reading: Nothing to Hide by J. Mark Bertrand

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Filed under Librarianship, Rural Library, School Library