Due to the prevalence of social networking in both personal and professional communication there are a number of possible issues which may arise in its use within a school library context. These issues can be addressed by a school wide social media policy that incorporates guidelines for the use of social networking tools by staff and students.
This type of policy will clearly state what staff and students can and cannot do in relation to social networking culminating in what constitutes acceptable use. It is important to include clearly defined guidelines on what is deemed confidential and proprietary information so that library staff are clear as to what can and cannot be discussed, commented on, or published within an online environment.
With the wide application of social networking and its adoption by staff from all areas and levels across the school there must also be an emphasis on the role of every individual in representing themselves authentically in any online context and taking responsibility for what is written within a professional context.
To gain an idea of what is required within a school social networking policy your library team can refer to examples from other schools and organisations. Elyssa Kroski sites several examples in her article Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy? There will be common elements and formats which can be useful in developing a policy which is representative of current best practice but customisable to suit the specific requirements of your school library. Steven Taffee includes nine guidelines in Social networking guidelines for school employees which centre around social networking sites that may be used by students and staff.
By creating this policy school library communications via social networking tools come from carefully considered guidelines that will contribute to the quality and professionalism of your school library online presence.
In the next article we will look more closely at library activities which social networking can support.
Fleet, D. (2009). Social Media Policies: An introduction
Lauby, S. (2009). Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy?
Lauby, S. (2009). 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy