Reasons Why Libraries Should be on Social Media (or at least Social Networking online)

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In the search for K-6 libraries that are harnessing Web 2.0 technologies and or at the very least online was an interesting exercise.  It has been a struggle to find information and research about social networking in K-6 school libraries.  It brought to mind a few questions from the outset of this task – Why are K-6 school libraries not embracing social networking via digital devices?  Most that I discovered had an online presence via a website but no way to interact or begin conversations between the library and its users and definitely not much scope for the users to interact with each other. This then would be the first reason I would use to persuade school libraries to be on social media or at least starting to expose students to social networking.  Connecting the library with its users and making connections between the users themselves.

This then leads to another reason why school libraries should use social media to build community by encouraging connection.  A big part of learning in primary school is how to get along with a diverse number of people.  It is where students start to realise that they have opinions and they don’t always agree with others.  Through using social networking then school libraries would allow students to read and to write in response to differing comments.

Another question I had was if K-6 school libraries are trying to set foundations for (digital) citizenship and information seeking, then why aren’t K-6 schools able to provide a space for ‘hands-on’ learning?  Social networking does not have to use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram, as most people like myself equated social networking to be.  The addition of a blog or wiki in a primary school can allow students safe spaces to contribute and participate in the online space and to utilise the affordances of Web 2.0.  If we are using the apps and the tools such as GAFE to create, then shouldn’t we be providing a space to share with an audience, otherwise, how is it different to making a poster and pinning it to the classroom wall. Preparing students for their future is what education is about and their future is being able to interact, use and share what they can do using digital tools and technologies with a more global audience.  Primary schools need to be aware of keeping students safe but how can we develop global tolerance, knowledge and skills if we don’t allow them to participate.

Another reason, I would suggest that school libraries need to use some form of social networking is that it showcases the value of the library and promotes the school community.  The teacher librarian aligns themselves and what they do with the mission and learning vision of the school.  School libraries are central to the school environment and for some students can be the first contact they have with a library.  It is interesting to note that when our Principal has interviews with prospective Kinder parents one of the comments that is made is about the library and how their child loves books.

Advocacy then is another big reason for school libraries to have an online presence.  Libraries are so much more than books on shelves and what the user sees when they walk into the space.  Primary school libraries have digital collections, makerspaces and quite often are safe havens for students who feel lost in the playground.  Primary school libraries are spaces where students can not only experience the formalised learning of information literacy, reading, digital literacy and whatever other ‘new literacy’ term one can think of but spaces where they can create their own informal learning as well.

Competencies of Teacher Librarian 2.0

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One of the main roles of a teacher librarian is to connect the learners in their community to the information in a variety of formats from a variety of devices that their learners seek (Partridge, Lee & Munro, 2010).  As such they have needed to adopt a leadership from the middle mentality so that they can keep their library as relevant as possible in a climate where some may feel that libraries are a luxury rather than a necessity in schools.  Teacher librarians need to be advocates of not only the space but their role as information specialists so that the attitude of ‘why do we need libraries when we have the technology?’ does not become the norm.  In this age of Web 2.0 technologies, teacher librarians need to not only evolve and redesign library spaces, they need to evolve and redesign their own competencies and attitudes to advocate for their profession as information specialists.

The first way that teacher librarian needs to transform to possessing 2.0 capabilities is through the use of Web 2.0 technologies in the way they deliver curriculum and learning.  Pedagogy needs to be not only in the delivery of lessons in the ‘new literacies’ as do this and do that but rather a modelled and seamless integration into an authentic learning experience.  The context of the learning needs to be relevant as well as authentic to the learners’ lives in and beyond the walls of the library, classroom and school gates.  It is imperative then that teacher librarians are aware and informed of the needs of the learners in their learning communities so that what they present as their library space is based on their user needs making the space user friendly (Huvila, Holmberg, Kronqvist-Berg, Nivakoski & Widen, 2013).   Teacher Librarian 2.0 views learning as a lifelong process that is available anywhere, anytime from any device.  Teacher Librarian 2.0 needs to collaborate with colleagues (Bishop, 2011) about their learners’ needs and this may include those of their colleagues who are on their own lifelong learning journey.

Teacher Librarian 2.0 needs to be aware that Digital Citizenship is so much more than cyberbullying and be working to blur the lines between online and offline participation in society.  Teacher Librarian 2.0 models and promotes not just the tool or device that is used for connecting but how the interaction with these devices can affect individuals and the society at large.  The 9 elements of digital citizenship need to be addressed and as Web 2.0 is about participation through connection, creation, collaboration and communication then the expectation needs to be taught as young as possible – What would you do if you were face to face with your mum/dad/trusted adult? What would you do if you were face to face with your friends? What would you do if you wanted to buy something at the supermarket?

An important element of citizenship is the idea of fair use and copyright. Again, just because the information is able to be accessed so readily and available for download, does not make it able to be used as your own.  I like to use the analogy, if I walk into a supermarket and they have a display of chocolates can I just take one? It’s the same with information on the worldwide web, individuals have created works such as written texts, images, videos and to have their efforts taken without acknowledgement is not fair. Students, even in primary school, are very verbal when discussing the fairness of copying from each other and there aren’t many students who like their work being copied without being asked.  Teacher Librarian 2.0 strives to provide students with the knowledge and skills to work with Creative Commons so that they can use the affordances of Web 2.0 technologies as effectively as they can.

Teacher Librarian 2.0 also needs to possess a growth mindset whereby if something does not work the first time when engaging and utilising Web 2.0 technologies, they reflect, evaluate and try another way. They need to be flexible and adaptive to the state of constant change that information can take and will continue to take.  The following YouTube clip created by Laura Cohen provides some great insights into the personal attitudes and capabilities needed by Librarian 2.0.

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It is only through engaging in and with Web 2.0 technologies that teacher librarians can promote the information services that are now on offer. It is a privileged age we work in with access to print and digital information but the latter does not make school libraries or those that work in school libraries redundant or unnecessary.   There is always going to be a need to connect learners with information and if anything information specialists will be required more than ever.  Teacher Librarian 2.0 can be an invaluable asset to any school when there is a collaboration between leadership, other colleagues and the wider community (O’Connell, 2012).  The position of teacher librarian is one of relationships and technologies and being able to connect the two in both an offline and online environment.



Bishop,Kay (2011). Connecting Libraries with Classrooms: The Curricular Roles of theMedia Specialist. Retrieved from

Cohen, L. (2006) A librarian’s 2.0 manifesto. Retrieved from:

Huvila, I., Homberg, K., Kronqvist-Berg, M., Nivakoski, O., & Widén, G. (2013). What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? a library professional viewpoint. Journal of Librariansip and Information Science, 45(3), 198-205. doi: 10.1177/0961000613477122

O’Connell,J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4-7.

Partridge, H., Lee, J., & Munro, C. (2010). Becoming “Librarian 2.0”: The skills, knowledge, and attributes required by library and information ccience professionals in a Web 2.0 world (and beyond). Library Trends,59(1-2), 315-335.

Social Networking and the Primary School Library

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Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 3.44.24 pmIt is a privilege and a joy working as a teacher librarian in a primary school library.  Even the challenging days are worth it because you hope that  you are planting the seeds for a lifetime of learning, so now more than ever we need to be proactive in connecting with students not only while they are within the school grounds but also when they go home.  If a major part of our role is connecting students to learning then we need to be accessible and social networking through social media platforms seems more important than ever.  Social media however, can be challenging to incorporate into a primary school library and that is why I have decided to embark on the addition of a blog to our already existent website.

The blog was launched on the 21st March and I found it more challenging than simple.  The first hurdle, I needed to jump was clarifying in my mind the purpose of the blog.  Would it be for parents, teachers, students?  It is developing into a space shared by the learning community to showcase what is happening in the library and to promote it as a space that connects our learners to learning but also to each other.  It is hoped that eventually we may be able to connect with other K-6 libraries around the world building an understanding that participation with a digital device opens up our network of learning to a diverse range of opinions, understandings and learning.

As I spend more time immersing myself in social networking I can see that this is an opportunity to drive the learning and provide a space to learn about and practice citizenship skills required by the students for their future.  Comments are moderated so that students learn to comment in an effective and dialogic way that is appropriate in tone and content.  One of the assumptions that I had made was that students would know how to comment and interact on the blog.  This has proven to be a teachable moment as my assumptions were incorrect.  Emoji and one word reactions were the initial comments that were being posted and this meant that I needed to explicitly teach what makes a comment that can be responded to.  It was necessary for some Blog Commenting Guidelines to be formulated.  First, we harnessed the skills and talents from Mrs Yollis’ Class blog and investigated the learning that classroom of students were doing and how they commented on their blog.  Then we brainstormed and I was able to create a poster of Blog Commenting Guidelines that suited our community of learners based on their ideas.

The other issue that I am trying to overcome is being able to keep the blog sustainable.  If the blog is to be representative of our students then my aim is to try and become more of a facilitator and have students contribute posts about what they are reading, viewing, playing, learning.  This can be challenging in that some teachers and students see this as an extra, so one issue to overcome is how to embed such an activity as part of learning.

I believe this blogging idea is going to require commitment so that it really takes off and the other issue is can I maintain my own blog for my own learning needs?




ASU’s Library Minute and Use of Social Media

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Whether every individual believes it or not it cannot be denied that the responsibility of the flow of information and connecting individuals to information has been a responsibility and chief purpose of libraries long before Web 2.0 technologies.  These technologies provide a way to continue the relevance of libraries as places and spaces for connecting users with the information and resources they require.

One way that Arizona State University Library has chosen to advocate their relevance is through the use of one minute video clips using the You Tube channel to create their own channel.  The benefits of these clips is that they are a terrific way to market their library as an information provider that is interested in their users and as such are keeping up-to-date with the current digital trends.  They promote their location, the services they offer and useful tips in mobile device use and security.  They are short enough to keep the user interested and have just information to pique a user’s curiosity.  It is interesting that the clips with the highest number of views are those where the user may need some information on how to use the library catalogue and how to contact a librarian which could infer that users still want to connect with information via library spaces.

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Other forms of social networking that the library uses is that of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  These social media platforms assist the library in getting library news out quickly to their patrons and allows for regular updates about short term news and use of the library.  While the You Tube channel needs preparation, organisation and staff who are skilled in collaboration and creation of videos, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow for quick posting of news and events.  The user then has the choice as to which platform they feel the most at ease in using in order to connect with the library.

The other social networking technology that ASU Library uses is the use of a blog.  The advantage of the blog is that it is attached to the website and provides more detail than Facebook or Twitter whilst still providing regular updates of events and collection management details that may affect the users.  It is interesting to note that there is no comment feature on this blog to allow the user to share their voice.  Is the feedback only provided via Facebook and Twitter?

This library is definitely making connections with their learning community and recognises that the learning community extends beyond the locale of the physical campus and that some students or interested members may only have access online.  It addresses the need to be accessible at the convenience of the user.