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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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3 Promoting libraries, literacy and reading on social media

Whether marketing your library or promoting reading for pleasure, social media has the potential to widen your library’s reach and help you engage with those who may not be traditional library users. Having a presence on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok can be beneficial as the different platforms tend to attract a different demographic and means you can engage with all of your stakeholders including colleagues, students, parents and school governors. For example, Facebook and Twitter tend to be used more by parents, whilst Instagram has a younger audience and may typically be used more by your students. That being said, there are no set rules. Providing it is used constructively, and in accordance with your school’s policies, social media can be used to your advantage. For example, you can promote new books and library campaigns, take advantage of the visual nature of the medium to share photos and videos, and encourage engagement with your library whenever possible.

Cubes with social media services icons, including Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter on a desk.

It’s useful when implementing your approach to social media to consider what you want to achieve with your posts. Twitter and Facebook, for example, may be useful for brief announcements and updates. Instagram, on the other hand, is better suited to eye-catching posts where images are the main attraction. Similarly, if you wish to share lengthier and more reflective posts, you might favour a blog. Blogs can give you the space to explore your ideas, free from the constraints of other social media which place such emphasis on immediacy. Sites like Kahoot can also be used to conduct competitions and quizzes, which can help you if you want to encourage engagement and interaction amongst students. Equally, you could use platforms like Zoom to host virtual author visits. Whether you originally post an image on Instagram or an article on your blog, you should also share links to them on your other social media to increase their reach and encourage greater engagement.

No matter which platform you use, you should always strive to make your posts creative, using bold colours and concise language to ensure they stand out from the crowd. After your post has been uploaded, you can then use social media analytics to judge how it is doing. This can help you identify what works when planning future posts or campaigns to promote the library.

Of course, there will always be challenges when using social media and blogs. Policies on the use of phones during school hours may mean that students cannot access their social media accounts and even if they can, access to social media is likely to be blocked or restricted. On top of this, younger students may be unable to access your content due to age limitations, thereby excluding a vital demographic from viewing your posts. On a related note, managing a social media page or blog comes with associated safeguarding responsibilities and you will need to be aware of the relevant school policies surrounding their usage. However, provided you are willing to navigate these barriers, social media can be a powerful tool in the librarian’s arsenal.

For more tips and advice on how to use social media and blogs to your advantage, watch the video below. You’ll then reflect on your current approach and consider how it can be improved in Activity 4.

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Video 3
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Activity 4

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

In the table below, state your position regarding your library’s use of social media. Briefly explain why this is so and whether you have any plans to make any changes.

Table 3 Social media use
My library’s position regarding the use of social media Why this is so Any plans I may have
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Now, find two examples of innovative ways other school libraries are using social media. You will be able to do this by searching online.

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Discussion

Looking at other school libraries’ social media pages is a brilliant way to improve your own. The ability to view likes, retweets, shares and comments provides you with an excellent way to assess engagement and identify successful strategies that you can implement when creating your own posts. There is always something you can learn from others and staying up-to-date with what your peers are doing is an excellent way to improve your own approach.