Instagram of the Week: May 18

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

“What do librarians do all day?”

How many times have we heard that question? Am I right? Sometimes it is asked with a hint of curious wonder, or a dash of lovable innocence. Other times, it is sharply spoken as a challenge – a supposed trap. And to be fair, not all librarians know what all other librarians get up to on a daily basis. Law librarians? Digital management? Corporate?  I’m stumped and should definitely be enlightened. The truth is our job as teen or school librarians is a vague mystery to many, even those who reap the reward of our hard efforts.

So, what do we do all day? We plan, promote, teach, buy, weed, counsel, read, support, troubleshoot, make, break, connect and change. We change, our teens change, and our work changes almost daily. This week’s Instagram post features teen librarians doing what we do everyday. Yes, librarians read. We have to! How else will we honestly and informatively sell reluctant readers on great books? We plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. We execute programs. Sometimes we celebrate and sometimes we recuperate, re-evaluating the research, promotion and execution of a failed program. We agonize over lessons as equally as we devote ourselves to 1-on-1 assistance. We work, A LOT. Please take a peak at what some librarians are getting up to, and share what you do in the comments. What’s the best part of your daily work? What’s an interesting project you are working on? Give us a snapshot of the behind-the-scenes from a day in your life as a teen librarian.

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Instagram of the Week: April 20th

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

What have you made with your library?

This year’s National Library Week campaign focuses on the library as a place of creativity, creation and community engagement. All week, librarians and library users are posting what is #librarymade on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, many libraries are using this year’s theme as an opportunity to encourage the creation, not just reading, of poetry during National Poetry Month. Teen services are a natural treasure trove of unlimited #librarymade action. Whether you have a 3D printer and circuits projects, book clubs, button-making workshops…anything!, your teen services are absolutely #librarymade.

How have you taken advantage of National Library Week? Are you incorporating the #librarymade theme into your National Poetry Month activities? In what ways could the vision of #librarymade change, improve or revitalize long-running teen services programs? Please share in the comments below!

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Instagram of the Week: March 16th

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Maybe it is the promise of spring, or perhaps it’s the the recent book award announcements, but reading is definitely in the air in teen services. This week’s teen-focused Instagram accounts featured a deluge of teen book club posts. Whether simple photos of all the books prior to pick-up by book club members, images of teen involvement, or (of course) photos of the food being offered at meetings, it is clear that teen book clubs did not get buried under a snowy winter.

The school library I work for offers a book club to 7th grade students, which is run by one of my co-workers The kids vote on three books from a pre-prepared list (but can make a case for a personal favorite) and read the books over the course of a few months. Then, the group swaps out for a new round of 7th graders. There are no assignments, and the kids make book trailers with Animoto at the end of their session. Fortunately, the session that ran through the winter saw no decrease in enthusiasm.

What format does your teen book club take? Are there assigned books, or are teens and middle grade kids asked to simply come prepared to talk about ANY book? Do the school vacations influence book club participation at your library (if you are public)? If there are specific books, how are they decided upon? How do you promote and draw kids into your book club? Do you have themed reads? Offer food? Please share in the comments below!

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Instagram of the Week: February 16

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

February is Library Lovers’ Month, a close but sometimes ignored cousin of National Library Week in April. There is no elaborate, ALA-driven campaign for Library Lovers’ Month, just an older website with resources and links that are still active (and helpful!). However, it should come as no surprise that many public and school libraries have initiated innovative programming, displays, and outreach that often combine the concepts behind Library Lovers’ Month and February’s more popular celebration, Valentine’s Day.

The initial campaign identified #libraryloversmonth as, “… a time for everyone, especially library support groups, to recognize the value of libraries and to work to assure that the Nation’s libraries will continue to serve” (librarysupport.net). As other national campaigns evolved, #libraryloversmonth was given the chance to morph into an informally awesome celebration. Individual libraries define #libraryloversmonth as they see fit; some libraries heavily incorporate Valentine’s Day (romance-themed book displays, card-making workshops), while others focus on the love between patrons and their libraries. Interestingly enough, a quick survey of Instagram’s content “proves” the biggest participants in #libraryloversmonth are teens and middle grade children. Keep working the YA love, librarians!

Is your library participating in Library Lovers Month? What programs did your library develop? Do you have a favorite Library Lovers Month campaign? Share in the comments below!

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Instagram of the Week – January 19

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and many libraries that serve teens are closed. Whether public, school or other, it is often not possible for librarians to connect with teens on MLK day. Libraries in communities directly impacted by Dr. King, such as Birmingham, not only provide great resources ALL teens can access, they also model good programming ideas. Instagram photo hunts, round table readings of landmark primary sources, or simply sharing relevant artifacts and other materials housed in their libraries can inspire our own outreach to teens. Although Black History month quickly follows, how can libraries find an opportunity to have conversations with teens about Dr. King, his legacy, and how it is relevant to their own lives? Diplays? Movie nights? Round table discussions? Could the #weneeddiversebooks campaign be used in your library to connect wider issues of diversity to MLK day? How does your library use MLK day to kick-start ongoing interactions about race, civil rights, and diversity? Continue reading