Tag Archives: library

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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Where Everybody Knows Your Name… (sing with me)

Those of you who remember the 80s will know about the TV sitcom, Cheers. The theme song says, “Sometimes you want to go/ where everybody knows your name/ and they’re always glad you came./ You wanna be where you can see/ our troubles are all the same./ You wanna go where everybody knows your name.” The show took place in a bar where the bartenders took care of newcomers and regular customers alike. It was a place where people could share joys with the bartenders or shed a tear in their beer. (Wait a minute…that’s another song.)

Anyway, I view my library as a type of “Cheers” bar…no alcohol, of course. Duh…we’re a public school. But I liken it to Cheers when students and staff alike “belly up” to the bar (my circulation desk), and tell me (bartender/librarian) their troubles and joys. I smile and nod, try to ask the right questions, and I give helpful advice when needed.

Lately, however, I’ve had a different dilemma. Most likely because I have a son who is a senior, many of the students feel more free to share things with me. A big item to share is their dislike for certain teachers and/or assignments. I refuse to take sides, and mostly will back up the teachers. After all, we adults need to stick together (wink wink nod nod).

I have noticed an increase in the number of students who feel as if they should get shortened assignments and extensions on the due date. Seriously?! One student was bemoaning the fact that he had to turn in an assignment a few hours early because he was going on a field trip that day. He thought he should get a one day extension on the project. I asked him when the paper was assigned. Lo and behold it was assigned almost 3 months ago, and he still wanted a one-day extension. Oh.my.word. Needless to say, I pointed it out to the student and did not take his side. I could tell he wasn’t impressed with me at 8:00 in the morning.

My next customer walked by 5 minutes later spewing random hurtful comments about another teacher who assigned a rather large assignment. This poor child thought is was simply “too much”. I gently/firmly reminded this student that, this assignment will seem like a piece of cake when he starts getting his assignments in college next year. He just rolled his eyes and walked away. I fear I may start losing “customers” if this trend continues.

It’s time for a reality check, kiddos. We’re glad we know your names, and your troubles seem all the same. But there ends my sympathy. And thus ends another episode from the place where Shirley Temple and Arnold Palmer  are found in the biography section (92), a Long Island is in the geography section (974.7), and a grasshopper is in the insect section (595.72).


Currently reading: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

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March Madness

Basketball lovers…please don’t hate me for what I am about to confess. I am sick of basketball. As we are in the midst of March Madness, I will come forward to say that I have grown weary of that orange spherical bouncy toy of which young and old alike are so enamored.

As a way to get through the long month of March, I have done the following in my library …just for fun:

1. I have 2 showcases in the hallway outside of the Media Center. I have asked staff members to bring in any basketball memorabilia that may have. We have completely filled both showcases.

Basketball Memorabilia

Basketball Memorabilia


Basketball Memorabilia


2. I am running a NCAA bracket contest (free) for both Men’s and Women’s brackets. Prizes come from money earned during fundraisers. This year I am giving away basketballs signed by our Varsity boys and girls basketball teams and, of course, books about basketball. At last count I’ve had over 150 Men’s brackets and almost 100 Women’s brackets turned in. Yes, I’m scoring them all by hand. No, I can’t do this online. We are not a one-to-one school, and as you may be able to tell by the picture at the bottom, we have a large Amish population.

The Great Wall of Brackets

The Great Wall of Brackets

3. I have old footage from basketball games in the 80s and 90s. The students are hovering in front of my TV when they can. I have apologized to teachers ahead of time if students are late to class. I’ve also put the yearbooks from the years on the counter so they can put names with faces.

Watching a game before school

Watching a game before school

Tomorrow our varsity team plays in the Class 2A State Championship. Win or lose, it is a special time for the students and staff. It’s quite an achievement. However, the game will not be a tearful end for me. I’ll have a quiet smile on my face knowing that we will be one day and one game closer to April. March Madness can be put to rest until next year.

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Marketing 101

I have never taken a marketing class. I don’t know much about branding, marketing plans, product positioning, etc. Those things weren’t covered in my library classes. However, I do know that I need to have great products (books) in order to create interest in a target audience (staff and students). I need good signage to make my library user-friendly. And I need to communicate to my larger audience. Here’s where it gets tricky. What is my most effective way to communicate?

I am currently trying the following things:

1. Staff newsletter: Each month I create a newsletter through Smore. It’s free! (Free is always good.) I can list upcoming events, new DVDs just purchased, new books, fun dates to remember, etc. I usually include a YouTube book trailer as well. I make my own book trailers on Animoto through my FREE educator’s account. I’ve made a lot of trailers and am working on getting them onto my YouTube Channel. Check out my February newsletter.

2. My Big Campus: The big push for student communication in our school is to fully implement My Big Campus by August 2014. It has its ups and downs, but is supposed to be user friendly. My problem? How do I let the kids know to join my site? This is why I need to take a marketing class. Will simple signs work? Should I send out an announcement for a daily p.a. system? Should I recruit kids to “pass the word”. Will a big display in the library catch their eye? Oh, what a dilemma…(insert heavy sigh with back of hand raised to forehead).

My oldest son is majoring in Entrepreneurship in college. I think it’s time to have a little chat. Maybe I can bribe him with homemade cookies and a 3-month supply of coffee.

Onward and upward!

Currently reading: Proxy by Alex London

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The “FWS”

Have I ever told you how much I LOVE the First Week of School?

Some people in the educational system enter the FWS with a healthy (0r non-healthy…depends on your perspective) dose of fear and trepidation. Others have a sense of melancholy because, with the beginning of school, it means the end of summer (Duh!). I know of a few others that look forward to the FWS so that they can return to some semblance of a routine.

So…why do I like the FWS? Since moving into the library seven years ago, I have tried my best to foster a sense of need/desire/craving in the students to get to the library as soon as school starts. Why is that, you ask? Well…I want the kids to need/desire/crave the library. They know that I will order new books in March/April but not put them out until August/September. Mwa ha ha ha ha… It feels so evil to keep them waiting and wanting, but it gives me such rush during the FWS. A rush, you ask? Yes.

Here’s the scenario: Day 1 – Several students came in asking for our new book cart and the new Eliot Rosewater books. Unfortunately, they weren’t ready yet, but don’t lose heart. I directed them to some other great books to help them bide their time. By Day 2, we had circulated over 300 books. Not a bad start. By the end of the FWS, we had circulated over 1,000 books. With a student population of around 800, my bibliophilic heart swells at the thought of all those books in the kids’ hands.

Move over new squeaky shoes and freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils. The library is open for business!

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Summertime…Is the livin’ easy?

It’s summer, and my library is shut down so the janitorial staff can work their magic in the school. I, personally, think I’ve got the best janitors in the world. They take such good care of me and my space. That reminds me, I need to buy them donuts.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. My library is not open to check out any materials over the summer. I only have 10 days on my contract that allows me to work during the summer. Usually I have a big project going on such as last summer when I “genre-fied” my fiction section. This year is no exception. My wonderful junior high adminstrator (who is now enjoying retirement), approved the building of shelves in two different spots in the library. The shelves will hopefully be finished by the 4th of July by our wonderful IT teacher. I’m saving up my 10 extra days for July so I can go in and start moving books. While I don’t enjoy moving books and working up a sweat (they turn off the AC for the summer), it’s for a good cause. I really need the extra space.

I also have all those new books that were delivered at the end of May. They are patiently awaiting processing on four lovely carts. And it’s pretty important to have those done by the first day of school. We’ve got our frequent fliers chomping at the bit on the first day of school. They get to the library as soon as they can to check out books from my “New Books” carts. FYI – A “frequent flier” is a student or staff member that is a regular patron and loves to read for pleasure. And, as indicated by research studies, these are some of our top students and best teachers. We all know (at least in the library world) that studies show a direct link between reading for pleasure and academic success.

Summertime. The livin’ is a bit easier. But my library is still always in the back of my mind, even if I’m not physically there. I’ve been told that’s the mark of a good librarian. I hope so….

Currently reading: Pull by B.A. Binns

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