Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Linda F
This infographic from Common Sense Media, published on 26 June 2012, summarises the perspectives of 1,000+ American teenagers on their use of digital communications and social media.
Entitled Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives the study focused on the social and emotional aspects of teenagers’ use of digital devices and social media, and sought to investigate questions such as:
The survey reflects common knowledge that social media is an integral part of teenagers’ lives and an important part of feeling connected. Insights into the negative impacts of being ‘always connected’ are also raised with some survey respondents expressing frustration with parents and friends who appeared to be “addicted to their devices.”
The survey’s focus on a qualitative response provides some interesting and mostly positive insights into teenagers’ use of social media. For example, more than half the respondents think social media has helped their relationships with friends. Twenty nine percent report they feel ‘less shy’ compared to 3 percent who feel ‘more shy’ as a result of using social media. Social media has also helped many teenagers stay in touch with friends they can’t see often, and connect with new people who share common interests.
Ond of the key findings is that teenagers, like most of us, are happiest when interacting face to face.
Texting is the next most preferred form of communication and only 4 percent of those surveyed preferred to communicate by talking on the telephone.
How can libraries tap into these findings?
As a social networker you are involved in conversations expressing your ideas, thoughts and opinions through a variety of channels such as Twitter, blogs and wikis. Social listening centres on the premise that a conversation is very much a two way process involving talking and, just as importantly, listening!
The important practice of social listening allows you to gather both feedback and input from the social media environment. There are a number of reasons for tuning in to ‘what’s going on out there’ including:
As part of your social networking toolkit there are a number of tools you can use to establish and sustain your social listening.
How do you integrate listening into your social networking routines and which tools are you using?
In order to operate effectively within the world of social networking there are certain competencies that will support your work and further develop your expertise.
Joe Murphy and Heather Moulaison identified a set of competencies that contribute to librarians “…efficiently and effectively navigating online social networking sites …”
The competencies listed below encompass the librarian’s ability to understand the context within which social networking sites exist, the range of content they can promote, their role as a communication and teaching tool, and their importance in extending library services to a wider audience.
Perhaps most important of all is the identification of flexibility as a key competency required to work creatively and dynamically within the social networking environment.
Murphy and Moulaison emphasise the importance of active learning “because proficiency with social networking sites is most easily gained through active and personal engagement”. Bearing this in mind it is worth considering how you are currently engaging with social networking in your school library.
Those of you wanting to dip your toe into the water can take a look at the group post Where do I start? from our Social Networking for School Libraries group. (You are welcome to join our group if you’re not already a member).
For the more experienced social networkers among you, would you add any other competencies to this list?
Murphy, J. and Moulaison, H. (2009). Social networking literacy competencies for librarians: Exploring considerations and engaging participation.
image by luc legay
Goodreads is a social networking site where people can keep track of what they’re reading, share recommendations, post reviews and make friends with similar taste in books.
You can form groups, join book clubs and discover which titles your friends love (or loathe!). With over four and a half million users, goodreads is the largest social network for booklovers in the world, and if you aren’t already using it then you probably know somebody who is.
If you have a facebook account you can use the goodreads app to share what you’re reading with all your facebook friends. Each time you write a book review, comment on a book or update your user status it goes straight into your facebook news feed. Friends and family can comment on your books within facebook or click through to goodreads for reviews and other information about your latest title. Just open your facebook page and search for ‘goodreads’ to find the app and get started.
You can also embed a goodreads widget on your library blog or website. It shows the cover image of each book you read, along with your rating. Creating a virtual bookshelf in this way is an easy way to show your students what you are reading and encourage them to discuss books with you (and each other). Being a reading role model in this way is an important and effective step in creating a reading culture in your school.
If you would like to read more about social networking in school libraries, check out this Libraries and Learning post on social media and school libraries. You could also join the Social Networking for School Libraries group if you would like to discuss how you can use social networking in your school.
Do you use goodreads?
Is your digital life a mess? Do you open your bookmarks at work only to realise that the sites you need are saved on your home computer? Do you have lists, notes and images spread across your phone, your emails and your desktop?
Evernote can help.
Evernote is a free tool for taking notes and saving web pages, images, Tweets and voice memos. It is cloud-based, which means your information is not just saved on one machine; it is stored on the Evernote server and you can access your account from any device that connects to the web. You can see all of your information (or “notes”) on your work computer, your phone, your i-pad or at an Internet café in Shanghai.
For example, if you were researching e-readers you could create a folder (or “notebook”) in Evernote and save websites, images of your handwritten notes, Tweets from experts and video demonstrations from YouTube in the same place. If you put the Evernote mobile app on your Smartphone you could photograph different types of e-readers at the bookstore and save those images to the same notebook, along with comments about which model you liked best.
You can also use Evernote in the classroom and the library. Students doing research projects can easily save information and take notes as they examine sources online. They can collaborate on group projects and share class notes and links as well. Go here to see how one school is using Evernote and check out the other videos of students discussing how Evernote helps them with their studies.
You might also want to see how Buffy Hamilton at The Unquiet Librarian and her students are embracing all that Evernote has to offer.
Do you use Evernote? How do you keep your digital life organised?
flickr image by Shirley Williams
As a gateway to your collection the library catalogue provides information on what is available and where to find it. Now with the advent of LibraryThing for Libraries your catalogue can take on a whole new dimension with the inclusion of social media content including reader recommendations, tags, virtual shelf browsing, and series / award information. For a yearly subscription fee you can access these features plus more. To see an example within a school library context take a look at St Patrick’s College Tasmania . Try a search for Scorpia Rising – Anthony Horowitz to see an example of reviews and the virtual shelf browser.
A novel way to highlight titles and authors is through Kidderlit, a service that Tweets the first line of a random children’s book every morning. You can embed a widget (a graphical interface that displays information) into your school library blog or wiki allowing your students to access Kidderlit directly. By clicking on the line quoted by Kidderlit you can go to Amazon to see which book the line comes from. Springston School Library has incorporated Kidderlit into their library blog – take a look to see how it works.
If you want to create your own virtual bookshelf try Shelfari. This site allows you to add your favourite reads, with comments, to your own bookshelf. You can then link your virtual bookshelf to your school library blog or wiki by embedding a widget into your site. This could be a great way to promote new books which you are adding to your collection. Springston School Library also includes Shelfari as part of their library blog.
Twitter can be used to promote titles through short postings that highlight different parts of your collection. A really innovative example of this is the John F Kennedy library and museum used Twitter to disseminate updates on President Kennedy's day-to-day activities from 1961 in the White House — 50 years later — by following the JFK Library's historical Twitter feed @Kennedy1961 In the same way, you could tweet short phrases or character profiles from your new titles and link back to your school library blog or wiki from Twitter to encourage staff and students to come in and borrow the items. This is also a great way to create interest from the wider school community including parents who use Twitter by encouraging them to follow your school library.
There are lots of ways to use these tools; it would be great to hear how your school library is using social media to promote your collection.
Now you have that option with YouTube video clips. There are many aspects of library use that can be described and demonstrated via video format. From what type of material the library holds to how to search on a specific database – all can be turned into a YouTube video that can be viewed at any time by teaching staff and students.
A great example of this are the Library Minute videos which take Arizona State University students through a range of tasks including:
These short informative videos are all about one minute long and available 24/7 for students to refer to. The common format used across the series makes these a very accessible resource for all library users.
This idea could easily be adapted to a school library situation to cover a range of tasks that will help your students navigate and use the library. Another example you might like to check out is Michelle Luhtala from New Canaan High School Library demonstrating the ProQuest database.
YouTube is, of course, one of many social media tools available to support school library activities and programmes. Laura Summers discusses others in her article "The value of social software in school library instruction, communication & collaboration."
flickr image by redsoul300
Joyce Valenza makes the point that “Students who collaborate and participate in building spaces, both physical and virtual, are likely to be more comfortable living in them”. This emphasizes an activity which is at the heart of the school library: Engaging students in the continuing development of their library.
In addition let’s consider a number of other key activities that are central to the school library:
Social networking tools allow you to create an online presence that is an extension of the library’s physical space and can support these activities. The available tools include:
Next week we will begin to look in more detail at some of the ways in which you can use these tools to extend your school library reach.
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
flickr image by laihiu
The terms social networking and social media are often used interchangeably and can be viewed as part of the wider Library 2.0 environment. Stephen Abram describes Library 2.0 as allowing libraries to “…create a conversation that creates the next generation of library websites, databases, OPACs, intranets and portals in a way that is allows the end user to thrive and survive (and libraries along with them).” From this it is clear that social media encompasses three important aspects:
Social media can provide libraries with opportunities to extend their presence to a wider audience, interact with their community of users in new and innovative ways, and develop new ways of meeting user needs. In particular social media facilitates:
This is the first of a series of articles examining the place and value of social media in school libraries from the broad concepts through to the use of specific tools to meet specific needs. In the next posting we shall look more closely at planning and implementing social networking within a school library context.
Abram, S. (2007). Online information proceedings 2007. Web 2.0, library 2.0 and librarian 2.0: preparing for the 2.0 world
Farkas, M. (2007). Building academic library 2.0.
Grabowska, K. (2010). Social media best practices for libraries.
0800 LIB LINE
0800 542 5463
Get help from our advisers using this free phone line